Mahiya: More than a leadership gone rogue
There are a couple of interesting things that are beginning to register within the construct and organisation of war veterans in Zimbabwe today. The last couple of months have been telling – almost like what one musician once promised us the realisation of who is the real revolutionary. In the contestation of space within zanu-pf, the ruling party, which contestation has shown some individuals going to desperate extremes and eventually showing their true colours, one could learn one and all things.Our war veterans are a perfect case study.
Once regarded as a critical, indivisible and inalienable pillar of zanu-pf, the recent actions of some cadres have shown us where they stand, and much of it is not what we expected.
We have come to learn that an association can have a leadership that is totally divorced from the people that it purports to lead.
Worse still, those claiming the same leadership are at best unsuited as they do not hold any wartime leadership legacy, and at worst are just pretenders.
You must read General Constantino Chiwenga’s interview with our sister paper, The Sunday Mail, to understand this.
He helpfully noted these two important things: that the people parading as war vets leaders today were nowhere near leadership during the struggle – the struggle’s echelons being measured by membership of, at least the General Staff; and that there is a disconnect between the same purported leadership and the generality of the body of war veterans.
A leadership gone rogue
It can be argued that the leadership of war veterans, or more specifically the leadership of an association purporting to represent war veterans, could be suffered as long as they showed that they could be a force for good and especially as an affiliate and friend of the ruling party.
Unfortunately, the leadership lost its head.
Lost completely and arrogated unto itself the position of kingmaker in the ruling party which not only overstepped the mandate as affiliates, even important ones.
What was worse, the matter became an ego problem and this is how we have come to have such characters as Chris Mutsvangwa, Victor Matemadanda and Douglas Mahiya, who have in the past couple of months acted as a terrible ego-driven triumvirate masquerading as war veterans leaders.
Grief has been fast to catch up with them, though.
But it will be useful to illustrate that this trio had represented an association leadership gone wrong especially declaring their preferred successor to President Mugabe in Vice President Mnangagwa, even when such declaration ill-served them and the intended beneficiary.
In fact, VP Mnangagwa has distanced himself from such a declaration.
But the leadership of the war vets association has not relented – it has even done worse.
We heard them the other time declaring that they had withdrawn support from President Mugabe and the ruling party, a statement so loaded with laughable folly.
Some even called it treasonous.
In more simpler terms, it is just foolish.
Mad dog Mahiya
Granted, the said triumvirate of Mutsvangwa, Matemadanda and Mahiya has been collectively and individually acting like mad dogs.
While the former two have over the past couple of weeks been pacified somewhat, it would seem Mahiya, who we hear received a bizarre “prophecy” of himself becoming a leader of this country, appears unrelenting.
This week he had two interesting interviews: one with the opposition mouthpiece Daily News and the other with the pirate radio station Studio 7.
In the Daily News he pushed his roguery and folly further, urging people to ditch zanu-pf and choose other parties (an unconscionable call from a real war veteran who should know better as to how that means bidding people to vote for neo-imperialist projects).
He was to tell VOA: “The people must be allowed to choose a leader of their own choice. A leader they think will deliver the political and economic benefits that they desire. People have to have the freedom that they require in order to produce a leadership in Government that they want. As long as that person is a Zimbabwean from wherever grouping/political party – we are not worried. What we want to see is to remain the (inaudible) of the people and assist them to achieve what they want to achieve politically.”
Then he, without a sense of irony and shame, tells the Daily News: “We are the people’s soldiers and we will continue to fight for the people of Zimbabwe. People should not be stopped from interacting or joining any political party of their choice from now onwards. We are going to be on the people’s side.
“We own this country and we will never form another political party because all the political parties are linked to us. We are referees and zanu-pf was formed after Zapu was banned. We are now allowing every Zimbabwean to support any political party of their choice, whether zanu-pf or any other party.”
Not only is Mahiya delusional; he has truly lost his marbles.
But in the interview with Studio 7 Mahiya disingenuously and inadvertently shows us that General Chiwenga was right regarding the disconnect between the leaders of an association and war vets, moreso real ones and their true leaders.
He confirmed that “not all war veterans are members of the War Veterans Association”.
He could also add that he is not qualified to speak even for the association, having gone rogue or being perpetually under the influence of something quite unhealthy, along with his pals.
But when Mahiya seems to enjoy the company of new friends, some of whom are giving him vacuous prophecies, he confirms that something is truly wrong with him and his conception of history and relationship in the continuum of nationalist politics in Zimbabwe.