@Jamwanda2 on Saturday: The Gdansk Declaration and Zimbabwe Nelson Chamisa

@Jamwanda2 on Saturday

Zimbabwe’s emetic pill

However one sees our politics, and from whichever camp, the goings-on in Chamisa’s Triple C have been politically emetic.

Zimbabwe has experienced some therapeutic political vomit which leaves it much relieved, reinforced by a good bout of cathartic laughter.

Not everything going on in Triple C has invoked sadness to those betrothed to its politics; even its most steadfast acolytes have invented humour amidst the mayhem playing out in their party, if a party it is.

The Tshabangu recalling drama has been one giant comedy from start, and one clearly continuing to generate ever greater laughter.

Chibaya/Chinobva/Ngadziore sub-plot

No less humorous has been Chamisa’s chaotic response, whose acme was Chibaya-Chinobva-Ngadziore’s twice-failed attempt to execute some sub-plot to Tshabangu’s recall drama, only futilely targeting Zanu PF this time around.

In Drama, a sub-plot is a playwright’s ingenious was of parodying the main plot and main action, in the process ridiculing its pitfalls.

Quite often, it is filled by lowly, churlish or comic actors who mimick serious, highbrow roles and actions.

Ngadziore’s short, ponderous flight in a doctored video clip in which a man wielding an AK assault rifle is pursuing him, became the hilarious anti-climax to this sub-plot.

From the punting and puffing, and from the drastically abridged life-span of the video, it does not look like Ngadziore ran very far before those pursuing him caught up with him. It was some hilarious shot episode!

Takudzwa Ngadziore

Embassies without a keen sense of humour

Of course in the theatre room watching this short drama were eminences from the European Union and mighty America whose lack of a keen sense of humour and unsophisticated appreciation of Zimbabwe’s politics got them to confuse fiction for fact.

You can imagine how hilarious it is when two huge Embassies representing the zenith of human civilisations, refuse to suspend disbelief, to then lift never-never drama meant for small screens into hallways of serious interstate diplomacy!

Telling posterity

Emetic in two ways. First, never again will any Zimbabwean politician, goaded by whatever demon, indulge in politics of “constructive ambiguity”.

Such politics boomerang badly, leaving one with a swollen forehead and a keen headache.

A political party should have zvikwanisiro – all the requisites of a properly constituted organisation if grief is to be stayed off.

Chamisa, if he lives long enough, will tell political posterity. Anything short or less that properly constituted politics will likely breed a Tshabangu on the one hand, and a circumstantial comedian which Chamisa has now become, even in the eyes of his most tenacious and most bigoted supporters.

Giant’s robes on a dwarfish thief

I am reminded of Macbeth the Shakespearean main character whose fortunes soon ran out after killing Duncan, the lawful King of Scotland, to then usurp the slain king’s power.

He did not realise at the time he had upset the ordained Great Chain of Being by which the whole Elizabethan cosmos was kept in ordered balance.

Several moons into his illegitimate reign, everyone and everything not only began rebelling against him; everyone and everything also deserted him, an action graphically personified in the symbolic death of his co-conspirator and unrelenting instigator, Lady Macbeth, at the most crucial and therefore inauspicious hour of his ill-gotten reign.

Scotland hummed with rumours and whispers on the state of the lonely and hard-pressed usurper.

Among those speculating on the unlawful King’s predicament was some lowly character called Angus. Angus captured it all in powerful sartorial imagery which any student of Literature will repeat effortlessly, including posthumously.

Angus says of Macbeth: “Now does Authority hang loose upon him/Like a giant’s robes on a dwarfish thief.”

Latter-day Macbeth

Interestingly, both Macbeth and Chamisa share one thing in common: they both stole the crown!

In the case of Chamisa, it got worse: he doesn’t seem to know how to wear the crown, let alone defend it!

Around the stolen crown are ZINASU yuppies, each one of them collapsing from own street press-ups!

The final act in this ZINASU business was some baby-faced cub-lawyer-turned-advocate who appeared for Chamisa in some court hearings only a couple of days ago.

She did what all children do when sent by reckless elders to deliver “live” coal to the next village: she simply dropped the hot parcel barely a stride beyond the eaves of the heath that fired the coal!

Giant’s robes on a dwarfish thief!

The story of Gdańsk

Those with a strong sense of historical memory will remember some Polish dock-yard trade unionist called Lech Walesa.

He used the trade union muscle in 1990 to oust the Communist Government in Poland, thus adding Poland to the ever growing list of post-Soviet Union new neo-liberal states which grew appended to the West, eventually joining the EU and NATO in the nineties, soon after the 1989 demise of the Soviet Union.

But then I am being very hopeful.

Not many Zimbabweans know history or want to know it, including their own.

This is why we don’t need much persuasion to be sold or simply given some foreign gods for worshipping, our erstwhile oppressors included.

Meeting one a-historical Zimbabwean

The other I was shocked when one cocky Zimbabwean most probably ex-ZINASU solicitously and volubly tweeted, importuning Zimbabweans to join him in debating whether or not the Lippert Concession marked the beginning of unification of Zimbabwe under King Lobengula!

I found the postulate vertiginous to my little head.

Still I retained the balance to ask this poor soul when the Lippert Concession was signed and what its provisions were.

He shot back: it was signed in 1898; it sought to unify Matabeleland and Madhonaland under the Ndebele King!

I was shattered.

What have our loins wrought, I wondered?

Lippert and dismemberment of our Land

After recovering my composure, I told the youngster that the Lippert Concession was in 1889, barely a year after the Rudd Concession of 1888, and also barely a year before our colonisation by the British South Africa Company in 1890!

I added that it was the Lippert Concession which, once sold to Cecil John Rhodes, gave the BSAC legal claim to Zimbabwean land, thus heralding and enabling the granting of Royal Charter by Queen Victoria, and the subsequent 1930/31 Land Apportionment Act by which Zimbabwean Land was expropriated by the Rhodesians!

I hope he grasped this short remedial page on history!

Back to Lech Walesa and his Gdańsk politics.

The crucifix, the eagle and Brussels

So Walesa led a spectacular velvet revolution under a trade union movement called Solidarity which had been launched in 1980 at Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk, Poland’s ship-building town.

Through support of America’s CIA, the European Union and, above all Pope John Paul II’s Vatican, Solidarity grew in leaps and bounds till it controlled over 10 million workers, a third of Poland’s workforce.

The Pontiff was Polish, which is why he harnessed God’s Temple towards secular struggles.

By 1990, Lech Walesa had become the first President of post-Warsaw Poland, an ascendency preceded by his becoming a Nobel Laureate. Gdańsk thus symbolises the unholy convergence of the Crucifix, the Eagle, the overall and Brussels in ending the Berlin Wall.

It is potent symbol of anti-establishment politics in any epoch.

But what has all this to do with Zimbabwe, Manheru and you, my gentle reader?

Rolling back authoritarianism

On 21 to 23 June in 2023, exactly some two months before our General Elections, four men, Olusegun Obasanjo, Alfonso de Prat Gay, Juan Carlos Pinzon Bueno and Greg Mills, convened a Summit at Gdańsk dubbed Solidarity for Democracy whose theme was phrased as “Rolling Back Authoritarianism.”

The conference was attended by more than 50 leaders from Africa, Latin America, Poland and the Baltic States. 

This was barely a month after President ED Mnangagwa had proclaimed election dates for our Harmonised Elections. Also about the time the EU, the NDI, the IRI and the Carter Centre were agitating to be allowed to set up their long election observation missions in Zimbabwe.

Very few in Zimbabwe took notice of this landmark Summit so deceptively set so far away from Zimbabwe, Sadc and Africa, yet so near our politics!

Opposition Africa in Gdańsk

Apart from former Nigerian President Obasanjo, several activists from Zimbabwe, SADC and Africa attended.

Our own Tendai Biti attended, as did opposition activists from Tanzania, Angola, Malawi, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia and Lesotho. Botswana was represented by former President Ian Khama while a large contingent from South Africa included Democratic Alliance leader, John Steenhuisen, Branko Brkic, Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Maverick, and Roelf Meyer, a former Cabinet Minister under Apartheid and Boer negotiator in the 1994 Settlement Agreement in South Africa. 

Tendai Biti

Mozambique was represented by someone from RENAMO, while Angola had someone from UNITA. 

South Africa had more interesting names who included someone from Inkatha Freedom Party, and a whole bunch from the Brenthurst Foundation, led of course by Greg Mills, its Director. Other African countries represented included Kenya (Raila Odinga), Egypt, Uganda (Bobi Wine, Kizza Besigye), Liberia (Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Foundation), Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Sudan and Nigeria.

The new Pontiff against authoritarianism

The funding was by two organisations: the European Solidarity Centre and The Brenthurst Foundation whose face is the Oppenheimers and whose chairman is Olusegun Obasanjo. Of course the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung represented Germany, while Kate Almquist Knopf represented the United States of America.

You don’t need me for you to see the CIA shadow looming large in the whole arrangement. A notable bloc of countries represented were the Baltic States, Ukraine and Poland, with the latter represented by the symbol of the defeat of Communism, Lech Walesa himself, himself the new Pontiff against an authoritarian world.

A pile of ironies

The Summit opined the world-wide assault on democracy by authoritarianism, noting especially the contiguity of Poland to Ukraine, itself under assault from “authoritarian” Russia.

On Africa, the Declaration noted the growing threat to democracy adding, apparently without any sense of irony that, “The weakness of institutions makes African countries particularly vulnerable to external undermining of democracy and to the risks of State capture.”

You would think Gdańsk is somewhere on the African Continent! Almost repeating word for word the 1989 World Bank Report, the Conference declared, “The problem in Africa is not that we have too much democracy, as is sometimes claimed, but not enough.” 

By way of remedy, the Gdańsk Declaration categorically states that “the struggle for democracy must involve all those outside government, in civil society including the media (read Trevor Ncube’s AMH, Muleya’s OSISA-funded NewsHawksLive), academia (read Ibbotson Joseph, Arthur Mutambara and their dotard cabal), trade unions (read Mutasa), churches (read Mtata) and business (you know who to read!). It may also involve those in government, given differences between ‘enlightened’ and ‘repressive’ authoritarians”. 

To reinforce the ironic blind-spot, the Declaration goes on to say, “These struggles are not nationally determined and bound. Defending democracy requires common purpose – of solidarity – among democrats inside and outside all countries.

Just as authoritarians have created their own financial, military and media networks that support each other, democrats have to do the same.”

Coalitions for Democracy

The declaration calls for “coalitions for democracy” with the world-wide objective of promoting democratic “values at home and abroad”, while calling on opposition parties going for elections to “win the vote at home and to defend this victory”.

“A strong bloc of opposition groups – within countries and outside – is the best antidote…in building…own ecosystems for change and looking out for each other.”

Following on the spirit of Solidarity Movement, the Gdańsk Declaration drew up 21 points, the foremost of which is an exhortation to support “democratic struggles materially and morally”; fighting “for protection of private property”; creating “economies of scale through joint party procurements” and by developing “a common funding platform, internationally sourced and transparently managed….”

The last point notwithstanding, the Declaration exhorts all democrats to “expose foreign funding and malfeasance, including disinformation and vote manipulation.”

Particularly relevant to our politics is Point 18 which urge democrats to “appeal to regional and international leaders and institutions to respond and provide leadership and engage with opposition especially during times of crisis.”

The Declaration also urges democrats to “speak on each other’s party platforms, and attend each other’s congresses as special guests.”

Several points relate to controlling cyber-power and using it to further ideals of democracy!

Giving a dog a bad name

Gentle reader, I have merely summarised the Declaration which can be easily accessed on the internet.

Next week I promise to sink my teeth into it so, together, we can begin to know where the rains started beating us.

Gdańsk and Harare may be far apart spatially; there is a way in which time and space dies amidst this age of globalised politics and the general panic there is amongst the global powers-that-be to the threat of a new world order in which old power structures are de-centred for new ones. The start of this panicky push-back is naming the black dog so as to hang it!

“NGOs will complete liberation of Africa”

Let me bow out by recalling a piece in yesterday’s issue of NewsDay ebulliently written by one Dzikamai Bere. Titled “The unfinished African Liberation Business”, the article is inspired by last week’s meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, of “human rights defenders from across the continent at the NGO Forum meant as a precursor to the 77th Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR)”. ACHPR is an organ of the African Union which is largely funded from Western coffers. Bere thinks Africa’s “unfinished Liberation business” will be completed by Western-created and sponsored NGOs, subcontracted to be run by Africans like him! Cry the beloved Continent! I am only a donkey.

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