What the people of Dotito actually think of Mujuru

What the people of Dotito actually think of Mujuru Joice Mujuru

my turnPeople here often remark how she failed to marshal resources to benefit her backyard and thus nothing remarkable in her name. But they are not willing to be taken for a ride by her again, especially when she has rebelled against their ruling party.

It must have been Tendai Biti, that opposition politician, who popularised the place Dotito as a metaphor, for a typical, remote rural setting.

He always seasons his speeches with the image of the man and woman in Dotito or some other rural or geographical extremity meant to project the idea of reach or ordinariness.

Many speechmakers have since copied this streak.

A classic example of this powerful imagery was when Biti told us one evening at Sapes Trust in Harare how the MDC-T had lost the 2013 elections to Zanu-PF.

He said: “Zanu in the last election had a very simple message, ‘Bhora Mugedhi’. Even a little woman in Chiendambuya or Dotito just knew one thing, ‘Bhora Mugedhi’. Perhaps we were too sophisticated, but what was our message because the message of change of 2000 is not the message for now.

“We were selling hopes and dreams when Zanu-PF was selling practical realities . . . We had JUICE, yes, it was good but try to explain it to Mai Ezra in Chiendambuya, you understand what I am saying? So the issue of articulating an alternative discourse which is walked and lived is very important.”

A simple analysis of this is that the residents of Dotito are a simple, unsophisticated rural folk.

We are not sure if this is not condescending, or at worst, contemptuous.

But we are sure Biti meant well.

At any rate, Dotito itself is not a far off place – at some 183km from Harare – or necessarily an overly backward place.

It is a typical rural service centre in Mt Darwin where you can enjoy the basic amenities of a rural growth point, including a cold beer.

From the looks of it, there is pretty little to distinguish the people of Dotito from other rural folk, and indeed from the majority of Zimbabweans.

This writer was there at the weekend – has been there a couple of times before – and can claim to know a bit of Dotito and Mt Darwin area.

Perhaps more than Biti himself.

Dotito is in the electoral constituency called Mt Darwin West and it is where former Vice President Joice Mujuru hails from, specifically a hamlet called Mugari village.

The people in this area may be called unsophisticated or simple, which they are not, but they know the politics of the country and moreover, they are familiar with Joice Mujuru who was their representative in national politics for many years before her ejection from the ruling party last year.

The people had known to respect her for being senior in the party and occupying a lofty position in Government.

They had toed the party line.

It is typical of Zanu-PF followership – a kind of discipleship that is so notoriously loyal to the party to the extent that, as is sometimes joked about, voting for a donkey if it stands on the party ticket.

But the people always know better in their politeness.

The people of Mt Darwin know better about Joice Mujuru more than she assumes.

And now because she has been shorn of the halo of the ruling party, many people in this area are willing to talk about her warts and unkempt armpits.

She championed no development in the area and had the temerity of changing constituencies from Bindura, to Centenary/Muzarabani to Mt Darwin.

People say she was too embarrassed to stay in one constituency because she would be exposed for her incompetence.

It did not help that she was treated like a spoilt child by her principal, the people note.

But it is alleged that she also had sticky fingers.

According to plain Dotito folk, when she started a project and handed over donor equipment, she would whisk half of that equipment off to her home.

She stands accused of having diverted road equipment that was meant for the stretch leading to the border with Mozambique, for her own use.

That road is incomplete now, and as rugged as ever.

But even the road leading to her grand homestead, which sits majestically among a sea of poverty in an area formerly called Tabex Estates, is rough and without tar.

The only use that this majestic building has served, apart from feeding the envy of villagers, is a borehole from which nearby villagers draw water.

The place also used to house a police post.

It is gone now.

There is no legacy to talk about – and the people of Dotito know it.

But that is not the most interesting past.

The people of Mt Darwin have a way of recalling how Joice Mujuru would address the people and shirk the responsibility of being asked questions or being taken to task by her interlocutor constituents.

“Nhasi harisi zuva remubvunzo (Today is not a day for questions),” goes a common parody of her speeches.

“Tichadzoka tonyatsowaridza mazambia togara pasi tichinzwa zvichemo zvenyu (We will come back some other day and sit down listening to your problems).”

The people of this area laugh as they make laconic parody of their former leader.

They spit with contempt and disgust.

So the days would pass without her coming back until she mustered another idea, usually more promises, and she would refrain her addresses with the same excuse of not taking questions.

People look back and laugh – that proverbial laugh at suffering as it were contentment.

The state of affairs in the home of the former Vice President is such that there are only five secondary schools and three clinics, two of which belong to Government and one belongs to council, in the whole constituency and these clinics have only three nurses each.

There are no doctors and the people depend on doctors based at district hospitals, namely Karanda and Mt Darwin.

That is according to information from Parliament.

People here often remark how she failed to marshal resources to benefit her backyard and thus nothing remarkable in her name.

But they are not willing to be taken for a ride by her again, especially when she has rebelled against their ruling party.

The youths have declared that she is a persona non grata in the province and will go to the extent of doing something rather nasty that we choose not to repeat here.

These are not the feelings of the top politicians – just rural folk from Tendai Biti’s Dotito.

Not to say she does not have her sympathisers – it is neither possible nor desirable in a democratic society for her not to.

But the simple people of Dotito, the majority of them, know better.

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