Tichaona Zindoga Political Editor
The history of tango music or tango dance, a South American (specifically Argentine) routine, dates back to the late 19th century and has seen its popularity rise and fall over the years.
Tango is described as a partner dance, which originated in the 1880s along the River Plate (Río de Plata), the natural border between Argentina and Uruguay.
It owes its origins to a range of cultural influences as it was born in the impoverished port areas of these countries, where natives mixed with slave and European immigrant populations.
According to one online source, tango is the result of a combination of the German Waltz, Czech Polka, Polish Mazurka and Bohemian Schottische, with the Spanish-Cuban Habanera, African Candome and Argentinian Milonga.
“The tango was frequently practised in the brothels and bars of ports, where business owners employed bands to entertain their patrons with music,” says the source.
It is said that the tango subsequently spread to the rest of the world, with many variations of this dance currently found around the world.
(In Zimbabwe, at the turn of the century, one Professor Jonathan Moyo penned a song called “Tango Pal”, an Afro-pop number, when he was Information Minister as he experimented with some idea about a cultural revolution which he sought to drive through urban music, itself a mixture of local and Western styles.)
There is a common saying that goes, “It takes two to tango”, referring, literally, to the dynamism of its movements and rhythm expressed in dancing couples.
More figuratively, it means that it takes two people to solve a problem or that both sides bear responsibility for a particular situation.
Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has just used that term – and he picked the wrong tango pal: both literally and figuratively.
Chamisa leads an outfit called MDC-Alliance, largely seen to be coming second best in the forthcoming elections.
As the day of the elections – July 30 – draws near, MDC-Alliance has chosen to pick on Justice Chigumba and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) as scapegoats.
On Tuesday, Chamisa held a Press conference in Harare where he put this matter into context (well in his sort of way). He picked the personality of Justice Chigumba.
He said she was arrogant.
“She seems to think that she is the author of law and the alpha and omega of wisdom and knowledge of what must be done.
“She is not. She must listen. She must know that she is being paid by the taxpayers’ money,” Chamisa said.
“She must do things that satisfy the minimum demands of all parties concerned and not to come and be arrogant.
“Arrogance usually walks hand in hand with ignorance.
“We do not want her to be one of those unfortunate circumstances in the history of our country.”
He was upset about Justice Chigumba’s forthrightness and insistence on due process.
“Whatever she says, the bottom line is that it takes two to tango,” he said.
“Unfortunately, she wants to tango alone, and we will not allow her to do so.”
Let’s take this literally.
Chamisa, MDC-Alliance and their sympathisers want Justice Chigumba to sink to their levels – the sort of immoral and cheap levels – and dance with them.
They have been seeking to drag her name into the mud and to question her understanding of the law.
They want her to lose herself and lead her into saying things like a streetwoman.
She has stuck to the law.
Her cool head makes Chamisa mad.
On a personal level, Chamisa appears to resent the fact that Justice Chigumba appears to know the law better than him, a mere junior lawyer, and also the whole contingent of senior lawyers that surround him.
Justice Chigumba even hinted at the grief she could bring to the MDC-Alliance after the rally it sanctioned ended in a barrage of abuse, mentioning her name in less than complimentary ways for a person of her position.
That grief could still be meted out on the conveners of the meeting who never regretted or distanced themselves from the same.
Justice Chigumba, though, has just snubbed such dirty, street tango.
On the other hand, in choosing to tango with Justice Chigumba and ZEC, both representing the institution of administration of elections, Chamisa has picked a wrong pal.
He should have concentrated on fighting other 22 Presidential candidates and better them.
They are on an equal footing and are governed by the same rules.
In fact, Justice Chigumba and ZEC are the instrumentalists that should not get dragged onto the hot and steamy dance floor.
Chamisa and MDC-Alliance must also focus on tangoing with the other 55 parties.
That is only fair.
In fact, these other parties both collectively and individually know the rules and who to tango with.
If there is a problem, it should be a problem with all of these parties, not Chamisa’s only and his dream of a solitary tango with Justice Chigumba.
It is only Chamisa and the MDC-Alliance that think otherwise.
Sadly, Chamisa does so with self-righteousness, without realising the amount of damage he is doing to the youth brand.
The more noise he makes targeting the wrong person, the more scorn and contempt he invites to his cause.
And he completely misses the wisdom in his observation about arrogance and ignorance.
We know who is actually ignorant between him and Justice Chigumba.
Why does he think he merits special treatment by ZEC besides arrogance and hubris?