BY Robert Sigauke
AS the last stretch towards the election season gathers momentum, the usual mudslinging and jostling by aspiring candidates to position themselves is evident. This is a moment of madness, disinformation, a season of cheap politicking and fake news.
This is a season of big and small scandals, true and untrue, elevated in tempo, sensationalised and dished to the public that is ever-thirsty for the fall of the next bigwig. Some of us with almost-grey hair have seen it all and seen this before, it will surely not die with us. The script is the same from time immemorial.
Except that wisdom must prevail, foresight must rule the day and level-headedness among our people must reign. Winds are seasonal and no matter how strong they may be, they eventually die down and subside.
Far high in the sky a bird may go, but it comes down to the ground to nourish. Movements come and movements die. These are great lessons even for the aspiring youths in our country.
Nobody joins or votes for any political party sheepishly, unless they have been sold a dummy. Yet it remains that they did not join or vote sheepishly, they simply believed in a dummy.
The only accuser of such people is nothing but history itself, because history is cast in stone such that it does not lie. Some of our youths have been used for a long time, over and over again. It becomes a sad story, especially because this has happened for the most part of the best years of their youth.
The forefathers look from beyond, except without pride, for them where there is no prayer, only regrets or festivity. Some of our youths have learnt nothing, even from what history has presented to them in so many ways. This is a discussion of concern, indeed, an uncomfortable one, for the forebearers cannot rest peacefully in retirement with such a reckless generation of youths.
Our youths must know that matters of politics and public governance are not for jest, like the ones we see daily being fought on Twitter streets.
These are matters of people’s livelihoods for generations to come. They are matters of nation building and the grand story of a people. Our youths must know that among the flocks of sheep are marauding wolves, all out and angling for donor funds from Western capitals.
Our youths must know that a “political party” that operates in secrecy lacks accountability and transparency, and our people must shun such “secret societies”. Anyone without a mandate from those he/she supposedly presides over has no legitimacy, and anyone in their right mind ought to be afraid to be associated with such a “party”. The resistance to legitimise one’s superintendence over a group of people is indicative of a behaviour that becomes problematic when one gets the taste of power.
The mystery around which the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) is adamant to do away with the traditional systems of selecting candidates might be a veiled way around which mukomana (party leader Nelson Chamisa) intends to get rid of some top lieutenants, thought to be posing a threat to chinhu chake (his pet project).
The strategy smacks of a plan meant to offload the old guard thought to be unpopular, and yet an opportunity for “community” celebrities (mafikizolos) to climb onto the gravy train. This should be a worry for the old guard in the CCC; this plan does not reward them, it only worsens the qualms in the cockpit.
Zanu PF emphasises the people, CCC emphasises the so-called “citizens”. There is a huge difference, I will explain. The Congolese in Zimbabwe are people, Zambians in Zimbabwe are people, South Africans in Zimbabwe are people, Malawians in Zimbabwe are people and Europeans in Zimbabwe are people, but not all of these people are citizens, despite the fact that they may well be in the country for noble causes.
This is the message that Zanu-PF has been preaching all along, that Zimbabwe is open for business and all people with good intentions are welcome.
The fact that CCC centres its focus and message only on citizens is anti-African at best and xenophobic at worst, Sadc and the African Union must take note of this. Yes, CCC’s message is xenophobic, the irony of it all being the fact that it is a movement that survives on donor funds from foreign capitals.
Our youths must know that the problem in our politics today is that anyone can manufacture credentials of their own.
A well-known big-bellied Member of Parliament is busy making his own credentials, he even recorded videos eating sadza in the bush a few years ago, presumably hiding from “State agents”.
We all took note recently, when a preacher accused a certain opposition leader of playing the politics of grandstanding because he is not being arrested like other opposition leaders. While the truth of this statement is not much of a concern, it is more about how it represents the thinking in our people today, that one has to earn “arrest credentials” first before one is eligible for public office.
In that line of thought, it means we are a nation that yearns to be governed by jailbirds because it is them who stand a better chance on the ballot.
But Zanu PF will win the moral high ground on this, their stalwarts were jailed because of waging the liberation struggle and fighting a colonialism for all the people of our country.
We cannot say the same for the jailbirds of the opposition however, they are incarcerated because of sheer lawbreaking and uncivil behaviour.
History does not forget, and yet with the opposition, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Is it a case of ineptitude, forgetfulness, bankruptcy in strategy or all of the aforementioned?
Politics is a duel of pound for pound and a strategy of silence is no strategy at all, unless nobody cares to care. But with people’s votes, one cannot remain unbothered, 2023 is less than a year away and some of our youths must refuse to be carried by a train that is fast and yet going nowhere!
There is nothing democratic about the main opposition, no wonder why it dropped the “democratic” moniker from its name. No elected official, no structures, no legitimacy, no mandate from those they claim to superintend over, and yet they are eager to proceed in this fashion for as long as it takes right into and during the elections.
All parties operate under a temporary structure upon formation, until an inaugural elective congress, but going into elections without the mandate or legitimacy from supporters is utter disrespect for members and undemocratic.
What moral, legal and/or legitimate basis does a small group of individuals have to impose themselves on other people without an internal or external election process? This is unheard of, this is taboo even to Adolf Hitler who in all his despicable behaviour was elected by those he superintended over.
Lessons from our past are plenty, and some of our youths must be guided by wisdom. Lest they forget, the economic doldrums we are facing are partly because of the sanctions which the Western capitals would not have bothered to impose if they did not bite into our economy.
Yet the narrative that some of our people are made to believe is that Zanu PF has mismanaged the economy. How does one break the leg of his compatriot then turn around to laugh at the compatriot’s disability? The ones who called for the sanctions to be imposed on this country are the very same ones alleging that the crippled “compatriot” has failed to manage the economy.
But the glaring reality of 2023 remains undeniable as in all other years before, the people who vote for Zanu PF do so for a cause, a cause they carry in their hearts because it is inscribed on the scars of their toils.
Zanu PF has remained unwavering in seeing through tangible programmes for the people of real development despite the challenges.
As a sheep maintains silence heading for slaughter, maybe this is the proverbial moment for the CCC and its strategy of silence and secrecy. The 2023 elections will come, election results will be announced, everyone will go back to their normal businesses and wait for 2028.
As for Zanu PF, it will continue delivering sustainable projects that anchor people’s lives for generations to come, from the seat of government at Munhumutapa Building.
- Robert Sigauke is a legal consultant, political and social commentator based in Johannesburg. He writes here in his personal capacity. He can be contacted on WhatsApp +2779 465 6360.