Nobleman Runyanga Correspondent
Anyone following events in Zimbabwe from both inside and outside the country last week would have believed that, going by #Tajamuka anti-Government activist Promise Mkwananzi’s threats to unleash mayhem through protests, the country would be plunged into rolling mass action.
The South African-based activist promised a five-day long stayaway to protest against the ongoing economic challenges.
As anyone, who is familiar with Zimbabwe’s socio-political landscape will attest, any protest action by the opposition or its running dogs in the civil service sector is synonymous with mindless violence and wanton destruction.
In fact, phrases such as “stayway” and “peaceful protest” have become a euphemism for opposition-orchestrated mayhem meant to punish the people of Zimbabwe for denying the MDC leader, Nelson Chamisa, an electoral victory on 30 July last year.
Out of touch
Contrary to the storm which Mkwananzi threatened, a walk on the streets of Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare among other urban areas indicated that it was business as usual.
The same scenario prevailed in the rest of the country. It was clear that Mkwananzi was out of touch with the situation on the ground.
A bit of background will be in order here. For the uninitiated, Mkwananzi, who fronted #Tajamuka despite being a mere spokesman at the height of the opposition-backed protests in Harare in 2016 and 2017, pilfered some funds, which had been donated by some gullible Western handler.
This did not go down very well with other money-driven anti-Government activists.
Left with no choice, Mkwananzi laid low for sometime, only to emerge out of the woodwork last month to revive his “career”, but he discovered in a very hard way that the socio-political ground has shifted. The dynamics have changed and the situation has assumed a new level.
The people no longer readily offer themselves to be used by selfish people such as Mkwananzi and then face the long arm of the law alone.
The people of Zimbabwe under the able leadership of President Mnangagwa and his Government in the New Dispensation have since realised that for years they were being used to further the nests of the Mkwananzis of this world at the expense of their own welfare and progress.
Yes, Zimbabweans are grappling with economic challenges, but they would not sell their dignity and souls for a dirty dollar. They refused to be used by career-cash activists like Mkwananzi and his over 80 activists, who are staying in hotels such as the Palmer Hotel in Kempton Park, South Africa, which was paid for in full by their handlers in Australia and the Netherlands.
Even those in the opposition camp, who have readily embraced and participated in any anti-Government initiative in the past, this time around flatly refused to have anything to do with Mkwananzi. As things stand, Mkwananzi is racking his brains as he has no cogent explanation to give his handlers why the nefarious project monumentally flopped.
When the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube, announced Government’s decision to scrap the use of the multi-currency regime, the increasingly political Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) leader Peter Mutasa gave Government an ultimatum to reverse the decision or face a protest on July 2. Zimbabwe and the world watched to see how the spent and increasingly irrelevant labour body would fare. This is because they know that ZCTU no longer has any meaningful membership strength to mount even a 200-man protest. Over the years, its member unions have been failing to pay their membership subscriptions, a situation which has seen the ZCTU losing members considerably by natural attrition.
Part of this scenario is attributable to the MDC leader, Nelson Chamisa, who was the defendant’s lawyer in the case pitting Zuva Petroleum and its two workers, who had been fired on a three-month notice.
Former Chief Justice, the late Godfrey Chidyausiku, ruled in favour of the company on July 31 2015, creating a precedent for massive discharge of over 20 000 employees whose effects the ZCTU is now grappling with.
Given this background and the fact that most people are employed in the informal sector, one wonders on what basis Mutasa was threatening Government with a protest. Mutasa is finding it difficult to come to terms with the reality of the fact that his organisation is increasingly becoming irrelevant. He and his executive are clinging onto a shell of a labour organisation which is now largely bereft of any meaningful membership.
This is the reason why his call for a protest against Government’s decision to scrap the multi-currency regime, like Mkwananzi’s, fell flat on its face.
In a bid to save face, the ZCTU changed demands from the retention of the United States dollar to asking that Government ensures that the least paid worker be paid a minimum of ZWL$4 000.
The two tales of Mkwananzi and Mutasa indicate a positive development in Zimbabwe’s socio-political fabric. Protests are fast losing steam and currency. Even in the opposition circles where they have been the default strategy for years, protests are losing takers.
Upon election as the MDC-Alliance National Youth Assembly chairperson, Obey Sithole attempted to thank Chamisa by calling for a protest against Government since the latter enjoys threatening President Mnangagwa with the same. He, however, discovered to his disappointment that masamba achinja (things have changed), to borrow one of President Mnangagwa’s favourite phrases.
Even the restive and excitable MDC-Alliance youths have also come to the realisation that years upon years of violent and destructive demonstrations have not brought anything positive to their own lives. Not even a new and overzealous leader could persuade them to participate in the worthless political undertaking. For this reason Sithole, whose “vision” for the party’s youth, like Chamisa’s for the party which was also predicated on mindless militancy and unnecessary protests, is already losing zeal.
MDC-Alliance’s Zengeza West legislator Job Sikhala also recently joined Sithole’s chorus of senselessness activism by telling a Bikita rally over the weekend that his party would overthrow President Mnangagwa before 2023.
One can only describe Sikhala’s foolish utterance as the effect of crowd excitement, which sees even Chamisa speaking crude, but dry jokes and making childish promises the moment he stands before a crowd.
In the absence of this, one cannot explain how a lawyer can put his lips together to utter plans for such high treason.
Given the people’s response to the calls for stayaways, the President could not help, but appreciate and thank the people for choosing to work for their country, instead of participating in its destruction as was the case in January.
“Hard and honest work will give you respect today and tomorrow and after your death you will be remembered for being a hardworking Zimbabwean who was honest,” he told attendees at a rally, which he addressed at Kondo Primary School after officially opening the Ngundu-Tanganda Highway last week.
One hopes that this message reaches all Zimbabweans, including the Mkwananzis and the Mutasas of this world.