Daily News on Coltart
Thursday issue of The Daily News ran a story on Triple C’s plans to unveil formal structures before next year’s harmonised general elections. The story is attributed to one David Coltart, the ex-Rhodesian policeman who turned to studying law in apartheid South Africa, in the dying days of Rhodesia.
Apart from nursing Western sanctions in retribution to African nationalists who deposed the racist Rhodesian order he served and defended by his blood, I am not sure what else he does nowadays. His son, Doug, also a lawyer, maintains that family tradition, including using the law to protect white interests veiled as the defence of the African political “underdog”.
Only a Senior member
What I found particularly interesting in The Daily News article is that it does not identify David Coltart by any official party title, except to nebulously describe him as Triple C’s “senior member”. That, in my view, summarised Triple C’s deep-seated predicament on the eve of Zimbabwe’s harmonised general elections.
There is a beautiful quote which describes this predicament. It comes from a must-read book titled “The Intellectual Migration: Europe and America”, 1930-1960. Edited by Donald Fleming and Bernard Bailyn, the book was published in 1969 by the Harvard University Press.
I make it routine to impliedly recommend a book for reading each week; this is my own modest way of fighting this cybernetic age which eschews hard knowledge and book reading.
Cerebral exodus under the Weimar
The Intellectual Migration maps the contributions of predominantly German scientists and social science scholars who migrated from the Weimar Republic to the United States of America, a movement which peaked soon after the ascendancy of Hitler to chancellorship in 1933, but before the outbreak of the Second World War.
Those familiar with history know that the Weimar Republic was the feeble hyphen between Monarchical Germany under the Kaisers which went to war against and lost to the greater part of Europe and America between 1914-1918, and Nazi Germany led by the Austrian, Adolf Hitler, which provoked the second European Civil War.
High point of German creativity
What history has not always acknowledged is that while this interregnum was militarily weak, saddled by paralysing contrition , and economically hamstrung by unpayable war reparations, it marked the flowering age of Germany scientific and cultural advancement.
Yes, Germans may have been angry at being punished by the Allied Powers; that anger did not diminish the creative scientific and cultural impulse which actually flourished under those dire circumstances, and went unchallenged throughout Europe and America.
In fact reparations were a backhanded acknowledgment of this resurgent German glory which Europe and America mortally feared would translate into another violent search for wider space for Aryan race in mainland Europe, if not beyond. Their fears were not misplaced.
German brains changed America
Yet anger, uncertainty and a presentiment of another impending conflagration so soon after the 1918 one, led many of these fine scientists and scholars to desert and leave Germany in droves, often drawn by tempting enticements from America, which is where most headed to.
The book, The Intellectual Migration, honestly and candidly traces how this gargantuan German intellect, now circulating and domiciled abroad, changed Europe and America, tellingly assuming leadership in key initiatives such as the Manhattan Project by which America developed the first nuclear bomb which would be dropped on Hiroshima towards the end of the Second European War.
Key science emigre from Germany from this age was Albert Einstein who, alongside several other German scientists, introduced America to the science of nuclear fusion, now at the heart of atomic bombs we so dread today.
Exile and Civilisation
From this mass cerebral exodus, Fleming and Bailyn developed their founding thesis which the book validates, namely that “exile holds an honoured place in the history of Western Civilisation.” I wish our neighbours in SADC would be alive to this elementary yet abiding fact of human development, dating back to the ancient times of Dante and Grotius, right through to the times of Bayle, Rousseau, Heine and Marx. Zimbabwean intellect abroad is a boon, not a bane, when literately harnessed.
Born in defeat, lived in turmoil, died in disaster
The opening essay of The Intellectual Migration, which is titled The Trauma of Birth: From Weimar to Weimar, says the following about this stand-between Weimar Dispensation: “The Weimar Republic was born in defeat, lived in turmoil and died in disaster.”
The essay adds that those who witnessed its continuum of traumas of defeat, turmoil and disaster, reacted either with “superb indifference or open Schadenfreude”. Schadenfreude is a German big word for the cynical pleasure one gets from the misfortunes of another person.
A movement in transition
Coltart says Triple C will build structures ahead of its elective congress whose date he does not give. All he says is that both developments of will come before the 2023 harmonised elections. I am not too sure if he is privy to dates which the President of Zimbabwe has in mind for these elections, to make him so sure there will be enough time for the dilatory opposition.
Further, Coltart told The Daily News: “We are in the process of transition. As you know, within the CCC we have not finalised the constitution and are moving towards a convention. We do not have structures….”
Exposing Chamisa’s soft underbelly
Whatever the political consequences on Triple C, Coltart is to be admired for his impolitic sense of candour, including exposing and confirming Chamisa’s vulnerabilities or soft underbelly. All along, the CCC line of the day was that the thing would not have structures, would not have a constitution, would not hold congress and, above all, would have a “levelled” leadership in which Chamisa and his coterie of darlings tower above the rest, and combine all functions of running the outfit!
The reason given is that of fear of infiltration by Zanu-PF. Functionally, this levelled leadership has reduced to Chamisa himself at the zenith, with Fadzai Mahere and young Ostellos just below and in tow. You also have Advocate Fulcrum Mpofu and Hopewell Chin’ono who swear do not belong to the party, dutifully hovering, as if in search of carrion.
There was no talk of transition which Coltart now mentions; there was no talk of party structures or of a constitution, both straitjackets Chamisa is best without.
Not even a congress whose outcome would diminish Chamisa’s glory, both by being the body supremely above, and by being the author of structuring resolutions which would reduce scope for running Triple C by whim and caprice.
ED, don’t leave me behind!
It now makes sense for embittered Mhofu Hwende – who all along thought he was the secretary general — to plead with the President and First Secretary of ZANU-PF — a rival party — to live true to its mantra of “leaving no person and place behind”.
Of course when Hwende made this plea in Kadoma, he creatively gave Zanu-PF’s mantra a new twist: leaving no party-less person behind. It was a plaintive cry of the stressed, a plea for notice and rescue. I hope ED has the heart to come to Hwende’s rescue!
Structures for GoFundMe
Coltart’s bout of candour took us further. He added: “…let me just stress that we are working towards setting up those structures because they are critical towards raising the necessary funds in the run-up to the election. When we get closer to the election, there will be more formal structures set up which will enable people to donate.
In the run-up to the election, obviously the costs will dramatically escalate and we’re going to need our supporters within Zimbabwe and right across the world to donate generously hence there must be structures”, including a bank account which is “specifically designed for the elections-related expenditure.” This is decidedly loaded!
The sponsors have spoken
First, it neatly harkens to Stephen Chan, himself a human deep-stick by which the British Establishment gauges likely electoral outcomes here, Chan’s excoriation, call and exhortation to Chamisa to stop behaving like a schoolboy. Chan, and through him the British, want Chamisa to justify the stupendous investments on him; he has to exhibit serious behaviour of an opposition ready to govern; a serious opposition with solid structures, and instruments of proper constitution, indeed a serious opposition properly manned by shadow figures available for appraisal and endorsement by the sponsoring and handling West.
Now the same stark message has found stronger iteration through a Caucasian voice. This is an escalation and Chamisa has to sit and buckle up. Know all ye men and women that Triple C will have a Constitution, a Structure, a Congress and an elected leadership before the next harmonised elections!
Chamisa has blinked
Second, it is clear both the West and Triple C have blinked; they have shown they take Zanu-PF’s threat of passing a compliance law on party formations and management seriously. Recall that Zanu-PF intimated it was mulling a new law which require that all parties and persons aspiring to govern must deposit instruments showing proper constitution, and resolutions showing due internal democratic processes.
It did not make sense that a country aspiring to good governance condones waywardness on the part of those promising to deliver it.
On that score, Triple C has been wise; Zanu-PF has the numbers to make the weather; much worse, it can muster alliances to cause a storm. The participation of Douglas Mwonzora in the latest round of POLAD was sobering. Above all, Zanu-PF is on the right side of the democratic debate on the claims of which Triple C seeks to be elected.
However well-founded Triple C fears are on this one matter, the point is Chamisa has exposed his soft underbelly. He is susceptible, after all. One can also read this from the placatory messages and overtures he has been making to Zanu-PF lately.
Laundering unlawful funds
Third and most significantly, structures are being sought for purposes of fund-raising, and for showing or proving Triple C is fundable. Here Coltart’s ambiguity and evasiveness as a lawyer has been skilfully employed and deployed. Aware that foreign funding is frowned upon by our electoral laws, Coltart takes advantage of Zimbabwe’s worldwide diaspora to provide a solid parapet to unlawful foreign donors “across the world” who have been, and are set to finance Triple C in the forthcoming elections.
We all know Triple C is founded on unlawful electoral misconduct, and that it will exaggerate its sparse support among Zimbabweans abroad, to launder foreign finances disallowed by our electoral laws. This is especially so given that the PVO Act will be in place and full swing by the time we go for elections.
Going forward, we will see phoney GoFundMe activities which play laundromat to this dirty money unlawfully coming into the country for the opposition. Already, Mahere, Ostallos and Chibaya are on such foreign fundraising missions, especially in Europe and America. Several political NGOs have created sub-offices in our region for exactly the same purpose.
Reinventing laws of the market
Fourth and last, the West has decided it is 2023 or never. Several factors make 2023 the last dice. First, Zanu-PF has morphed from being a liberation movement steeped solely in bland politics, to being a sophisticated party and player governing from the economic market.
From its political and liberation traditions, it has borrowed the trait of taking bold risks without flinching or reversing. From its new, technocratic mien, it now plays the economic game skilfully, even unconventionally. Zanu-PF has shown it does not hesitate to write a new book in Economics, founded on novel economic principles.
Success child with no godfather
With that new cast, it is turning around an Economy long beset my illegal sanctions; and growing it in spite of those debilitating sanctions. Led by its subsoil endowments, Zimbabwe is on the cusp of a dramatic about-turn, without a farthing from the West, both by way of financial support, or by mere goodwill.
Zimbabwe is set to become success child without a godfather. It just needs a few more years, if not months, to write a novel page in autonomous economic revival in the context of harsh, western odds. Such a chapter is not just iconoclastic; it is subversive of the servile, client order which the post-colonial West has set for Zimbabwe, and for the continent.
Should this come to pass – as looks likely, in fact inevitable – Zanu-PF will have become more than a party of political liberation; it will have become a Party of defiant economic emancipation. Indeed a Party in whose agenda the political and the economic kingdoms abide in equal measure, everlastingly. This subverts the West’s will on the continent.
Weakening case for illegal sanctions
Second, the momentum and justification for the illegal western sanctions against Zimbabwe is now broken. The West’s case for punitive sanctions looks threadbare and mean. We saw this coming, starting with simmering disunity in the European Union, soon to be compounded by UK’s Brexit.
With UK out of the EU and having made the monumental misstep of domesticating the iniquitous sanctions law within its jurisdiction, the call for sanctions in the EU became both forlorn and faltering. Above all, the owner of the sanctions became clear, namely Britain, with the rest of EU reluctantly tagging along. Zimbabwe’s charge that EU sanctions had always been a British baggage, stood vindicated.
Add to that Zimbabwe’s charge that the illegal sanctions were, from launch, a transatlantic solidarity swap between Blair and Bush. Indeed, as we saw recently during the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, even the British felt imprisoned by this Blair-Bush legacy, which now limits their room for diplomatic manoeuvre.
Africa’s will and pressure grows
Against this sagging Western momentum on sanctions, and ever strengthening African solidarity against them, both Britain and America feel somewhat awkward. We saw this at the just-ended United Nations General Assembly; we are likely to see this on display on 25th October, the day Africa has set aside to express its disavowal of those odious, illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe.
Whilst both Britain and America are escalating acts of hostilities against Zimbabwe, both have admitted these cannot hold much longer, against this rising tide of African opposition and rejection. In fact, both Africa and the rest of the world continue to embrace Zimbabwe more and more, including into positions of international leadership, such as PAP, ITU and ICAO.
Mules do not multiply!
Third and last, Zimbabwe has shown there is a world elsewhere, beyond the hostile West; indeed a third way beyond western donor aid, western debt and credit lines from western-controlled IFIs. It has skilfully mobilised support from alternative global power points, principally those from China, Russia, India, the Arab World, Brazil and, lately Belarus.
This global strategy falls in neatly with current worldwide ambitions to challenge western hegemony, and to install a multipolar world order, away from the US-dominated unipolar world we have known until now. While newly emerging powers are anxious to demonstrate viable alternative global leadership, America and its declining West are just as anxious to re-appraise premises on which the old, challenged order rested.
Either way, Zimbabwe stands to gain, which is why 2023 becomes so crucial, as much for Zanu-PF, as it is for Britain, America and its political protégé, Triple C. As I write, UK’s Truss Government looks wobbly, in fact about to collapse. All its economic program has been rejected; chances are Zimbabwe goes to elections with its so-called “mother country” in tumult and bleeding.
America is in no better position either. Chances are, Triple C will be forlorn proposition, completely orphaned, whatever little lucre continues to flow its way. Born in controversy, surviving without structures, it is sure to die unregenerate. Mules, we must remind Coltart, do not multiply!