Thursday, 29 May 2014

Alleged ‘Climb Down’ on Indigenisation: Putting Matters into Perspective

 By Kurayi Prosper Masenyama and Nick Mangwana


Following widespread queries, questions and concerns received by our respective Department and District from Party members, supporters, ordinary citizens, Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, prospective and current investors following the publication of an article titled ‘Government in Major Climbdown’ by The Sunday Mail newspaper of 25th-31st May 2014 we feel compelled to present this submission putting a number of matters into perspective.

Background to indigenisation and economic empowerment
The indigenisation and economic empowerment policy is firmly in line with the Zanu P.F ideology of people empowerment. The policy is following the sequence of political independence, mass education, land reform and resettlement. The policy is deeply entrenched in Zanu P.F thinking as evidenced by its adoption as theme for the following Annual National People’s Conferences:
  • Chinhoyi, 2013: ‘Zim Asset: Growing the Economy for Employment and Empowerment 
  • Gweru, 2012: ‘Indigenise, Empower, Develop and Create Employment 
  • Bulawayo, 2011: ‘Defend National Sovereignty, Consolidate Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment’ 
  • Mutare, 2010: ‘Taking Total Control of Our Resources Through Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment’
Thus, it is beyond doubt that the policy has been the Party’s foremost programme and main message going into the 2014, July 31 harmonised elections.


Implementation of the policy is directed by the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act (Chapter 14:33) passed in 2007. There are also supporting Statutory Instruments 21 of 2010, 34 of 2011 and 66 of 2013. The new constitution also guides the implementation of indigenisation through a number of sections directing the expansion of the programme and identifying groups to be prioritized in its beneficiation. Thus, the policy is firmly embedded in the country’s legal framework.

Sectoral Approach to Indigenisation

The indigenisation and economic empowerment programme has always been implemented differently across sectors quite contrary to the so-called one-size fits all approach as alleged by a number of individuals and media organizations. Statutory Instrument 21 of 2010 directed the set up of Sectoral Committees under the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB) to advise Government on the implementation of indigenisation in their respective sectors. The Committees were chaired by Board members and comprised experts in the respective. The recommendations from the various sector committees were adopted and are in the process of being implemented by the responsible Ministry. The only recommendations not adopted were by the Mining sector committee where a different framework was implemented in the sector.

Milestones Covered Thus Far

Despite the harsh economic environment and the inconsistencies surrounding the existence of the Government of National Unity a lot of positives have derived from the implementation of the indigenisation and economic empowerment policy. Thousands of companies have complied with the 51/49 principle, a number of Community Share Ownership and Employee Share Ownership Trusts have been established across the country. Various communities have received CSOT funds and implemented infrastructural projects that are already visible in various areas. We, however, note with concern that quite a number of companies have failed to comply with some of the requirements of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act (Chapter 14:33).

Impact on Foreign Direct Investment

The indigenisation and economic empowerment programme was never meant to dissuade foreign investment in Zimbabwe as widely alleged by a number of individuals. It is primarily meant and intended to enable Zimbabweans to participate meaningfully in the mainstream economy. It actually encourages foreign investors to consider partnering local Zimba abweans with the relevant expertise and capital in business ventures in a win-win situation.  It is our understanding that what investors require from the Party and Government is policy clarity and certainty. As a Party, and responsible Department we have done everything possible to provide this clarity and certainty. Thus, so far we are still to encounter a situation where a serious company disinvested from the country or a potential investor reconsidering decision citing indigenisation as the primary cause.

Policy Review and Suggestions Going Forward

We herein put it on record that the indigenisation and economic empowerment policy is not and was never cast in stone. As a Party and certainly the Government which governs on behalf is always ready to receive and consider suggestions that can enhance the realization of the broad aim of the policy i.e to economically benefit the majority of Zimbabwean citizens. In this light we have received and considered sector committees recommendations, the Supply and Distribute Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment (SADIE) model as articulated by the former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono. We are therefore excited by the suggestions of the Production Sharing Model and the Joint Empowerment Investment Model as articulated by The Sunday Mail attributed to Politburo member Professor Jonathan Moyo. The suggestions will certainly be considered by the Party and incorporated into the indigenisation policy framework with due regards to the original intention of the programme.
We, however, refute the unfortunate allegation that considering reviewing the policy to make it more amenable to both indigenous Zimbabweans and foreign investors represents a huge ‘climb down’ on the part of the Government and the Party. Policy making is never about climbing up or down, but about planning and implementing what is best in a given scenario be it a political, social or economic environment.

Furthermore, we also have to put it on record that Zanu P.F is a democratic force that allows robust debate in policy discussions in its various organs. However, once the policy is adopted as Party position every official, member, associate, affiliate or supporter has an obligation to articulate and support it through thick and thin. Thus, it is naïve to associate a broad Party policy with a single Department or individual, normally responsible for its implementation. It is even more absurd to view the adoption of changes or revisions suggested by Party members as a victory for the concern members and a defeat for those who had been articulating the agreed Party position. Thus, trying to divide Party functionaries into policy moderates and hardliners/radicals is a futile attempt to drive a wedge and kill the transparent and democratic ethos of the Party.


In the final analysis the grand stage for the revival of the Zimbabwean economy has been set. The adoption of the Zim Asset programme is a sure step of progress going forward and deepening of the economic empowerment programme. Consideration on improving the country’s programmes and policies is always on-going and appreciated. However, the current position of the Party on indigenisation and economic empowerment has been unwavering and consistent. If this consistency is replicated at Government level the investors will have a clear message on what needs to be done resulting in positive and secure decision making creating a win-win situation for the investor and Zimbabwe as the host nation.


Cde Kurai Prosper Masenyama (left)  is the Zanu P.F National Director for Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment and Cde Nick Mangwana (right) is the Chairperson of Zanu PF UK

Thursday, 22 May 2014

It's not deficient it's just different....

Having spent half my life in the motherland and migrated to Europe in search of greener pastures, it didn't take much time to learn how diametrically opposed both societies are, and yet one holds a narrative of superiority and the other of inferiority, the superior continent being Europe and the inferior being Africa. One does not need to climb Mount Everest to find the evidence of my assertion of the portrayal of Africa. One would simply needs to analyse the reportage of Africa within the Europe and America predominately to witness the ignoramus attitudes that almost resemble the pretext of imperialism. 

That notion led me to suggest that society has taught us to adopt a uniform societal paradigm of thought through politics, academic structures and culture that isn’t critical of itself but rather makes conclusions on no basis at all but perceiving itself to be fundamentally correct. I would argue that this collective attitude has contributed to us being fearful of finding our unique authentic selves out of fear of being labelled different or inadequate as if these elements of personality do not lead to the kind of innovation we’ve seen in contemporary pioneers such as Steve Jobs, Bills Gates or to bring it closer to home I would say Robert Gabriel Mugabe a worthy assertion I believe.

Zimbabwe's Land Reform was aimed at correcting historical
imbalances just as happened elsewhere in the world were
 imperialists had grabbed land - but is viewed adversely.
Furthermore I would assert that this notion of perceiving others as deficient has led to an uniformed pattern of thought in which we begin to not feel confident nor competent in our individuality but rather define ourselves through the definition of a superior class or race. Take for instance anything different is viewed as a diversion from the social norm and automatically viewed as deficient. 

To give a practical example one would look at how the Western world perceived Zimbabwe’s Land Reform. Although this act was aimed at correcting a historical wrong through applying the principals of de-colonisation as did the Americans after the war against the British by heightening import tariffs to further domesticate the American economy and other radical choices made at the time all in the name of redressing a historical imbalance. Why it’s then different for an African state to do the same within the context of their society is still unknown to my yet still growing mind.

Another example would be the current education system in the West which exhibits a one-hat-fits-all approach to a largely diverse pupil base whose learning styles are radically different; a view carried by many prominent players within the academic field. The most vocal academic concerning this subject is Dr. Janice Ellen Hale a professor of early childhood education at the Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She is also founder of Visions for Children, a research demonstrating early childhood education that is designed to facilitate the intellectual development of African American preschool children. In 1982 she wrote her first book titled 'Black Children: their roots, culture and learning styles'. In this book she illustrates the difference between African and European children in the field of education. Through her research, she points out how European Children have a left brain cognitive object oriented learning style, left brain meaning logic and analytical, object oriented meaning the student learns from an object while the African Child has a right brain cognitive subject oriented learning style, right brain meaning innovative and intuitive, subject oriented meaning, the student learns from a subject and not an object. A view American and European educators have failed to recognize.

The same research was conducted in the field of music by the late Dr Elkins Sithole an Ethnic Music Scholar. Through his research he demonstrated that African Music is different to European Music not deficient. He challenged the educators in the field who taught a European paradigm that suggested African genres were deficient. In his study he showed the world how European music has 7 tones making it diatonic while African Music has 5 tones which make it pentatonic. Dr Sithole contended that African music is not deficient simply because it does not share European musical patterns but rather it is just different.

The same concept of difference being viewed as deficient can be used to unveil one of the founding principles of Empire Building which germinated from theories of a number of European philosophers. The most prominent of them all being Charles Darwin. He (Charles Darwin) believed that the evolution of living things was a
process called Natural Selection in which the less fit species were eliminated in a struggle for survival. It is these kinds of theories that led to the occupation of Asia, Africa and the Pacific. It was argued, "nature it's self was based on the survival of the fittest, then it must be true that the stronger nations had a right to rule over weaker ones". The weaker nations were viewed as primitive and were occupied under the pretext of spreading civilization because their way of living was not considered different but rather deficient.

The Beautiful Continent is not Deficient - Just Different
To some extent, these elements
combined, present the back drop of our societies' thinking. However through encouraging in qualitative dialogue and critical thinking, we positively develop a framework that enables us to view each other’s differences is just that, different. We begin to change how we see others who are not like us, not as being deficient but rather just being different, embracing the diversity in all realms of life within this global village in which we are not sole inhabitants but co- inhabitants with a unique purpose created to serve all mankind. In this, we connect with the true essence of freedom which takes away all fear and enables me and you to celebrate our unique authentic self. Changing how we look at each other through changing the way we think of each other. 

As we celebrate Africa day let us recognise emphatically that our differences shape and mould this continent we all love. There is no power in non qualitative opposition,that seeks to oppose a sky that is evidently blue. It is only through Socratic thought that we can better ourselves. A paradigm shift birthed by understanding that it is we are not our outlook is different, it's just different. 

A happy Africa Day to all. Peace and Love 


By:  Benson Muvuti Jnr 

Gender Balance not a Favour

"Women Rights are Human Rights": ZANU PF UK Women's League
Committee Member: Mrs Priscilla Mangwana
When our male counterparts push for gender parity, they are not doing women a favour. They are only observing the right of fellow human beings to be given the treatment they deserve. There is a rhetoric that says, "Women rights are human rights". This means that whenever women are not given their equity, there is an abuse of human rights. The rest of the world should show as much outrage as they show when there is to torture, unlawful deprivation of liberty and all other common abuses.

When we talk of gender parity we are not saying that cultural and customary roles should not be observed where they bring order. Of course they should. All we are saying is that these should be applied to the particular social context. However when it comes to professional work, education and the right to be treated the same way, the girl child should be treated the same way as the boy child. If thereis only money to send one child to school where there are 2, it shouldn't be a default decision that the girl child that should give way to the boy.The parent should agonise and come to the same solution they would have come to if these were two male children. There should be equal opportunities accorded to the children regardless of their gender.

Women in Cabinet: The Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and
Community Development Cde Oppah Muchinguri 
We are pleased that women now comprise 30% of ambassadors for Zimbabwe and 56% of all civil
servants. This is a step in the right direction but more needs to be done. Such as correction of the fact that women comprise of 20% of cabinet ministers.

The failure to embrace gender parity is blamed for the collapse of many a diaspora marriage. The
Zimbabwean man who lacks self‐confidence is feels challenged by an economically empowered woman.

The man fails to come to terms with the independent thinking woman who is not doing anything bad except arsset her rights. This is then called all sorts of infantilising terms such as " disobedience".


Members of The ZANU PF UK Women's League 
Suddenly because you paid lobola you treat me as one of our children? Disobedience indicate that one is failing to comply. Comply with what? I thought this was a partnership? I can imagine the reader raising eyebrows. Yes, if you can't deal with that notion, then you haven't grasped gender parity.

When your daughters are treated with disdain by their colleagues and subordinates at work don't complain. After all it's just a woman being put in her place. Right? And talking of her place, where is that exactly? We will explore the answer in the next installment.

Cde Priscilla Mangwana is a Committee Member of The ZANU PF UK Women's League.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Fie for shame, Hifa, fie for shame! Freshly Who?

Unknown: Despite claims of popularity by HIFA, the majority
 of Zimbabweans had never heard of the deported group
If Tsvangirai, with a proven voting record of getting over a million votes each election, fails to unseat a popular government, why on earth would a foreign group of half-decent singers performing to 4 000 or so people somehow be a threat requiring political sanction? This is just foolish. The application failed, and HIFA should seek to find out why, instead of insinuating that there was something underhanded about that refusal.
LIKE most people, I am nauseated by the statement issued by HIFA 2014 on what they call “the Freshlyground Order of Events”.
For those that, like myself, have never bothered with HIFA or have not heard about this “Freshlyground” thing, a brief explanation. HIFA is, generally, a fairly successful international arts festival held annually in Harare and is the recipient of some tremendous goodwill, from people in Zimbabwe and those that visit our country.
It is generally quite well attended. People from all races and, usually, by percentage population, many non-black people attend this festival. Different artistes are invited to attend, and one of them is usually billed to headline the finale. This year, the group chosen to headline the event’s last day was something called “Fresh-lyground”; whose “artistic credentials and accomplishments have been recognised the world over”, according to HIFA.
Don’t know who Freshlyground is? No, there is nothing wrong with you, neither did I until they failed to get a visa. Apparently, when HIFA sampled the “world over” for evidence of who recognised Fresh-lyground, they did not ask you or I. Nor your friend, or your neighbour neither.
In fact, they did not ask anyone that you (or I) know, but that is besides the point, after all, where we really going to go to HIFA anyway? You see, the “world over” according to HIFA merely refers to the small minority of people that go to these events. I am sure these are good people, and there is nothing wrong with them attending, it is just that they are not “the world over”.
Freshlyground, according to their official Wikipedia entry, “is a South African Afro-fusion band that formed was in Cape Town in 2002. The band members variously hail from South Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe”. Nothing sinister about that, surely? Except, if you wanted to be nit-picky, for an “afro” group they seem to have an usually high number of people that would otherwise not tick the box marked “Black African” on any country’s entry visa application form.
But that is besides the point. There are bands in South Africa that attend events in Zimbabwe all the time. But, there is something else about Freshlyground, which gives you a clue about which “whole world” HIFA is on about. This group’s only claim to fame in Zimbabwe is that one of their “songs” appears to mock our politics.
As it turns out, they were denied a visa, a fact which, in their statement, they refer to as “deportment” – which if my English serves me well is a word that means “the way a person stands and walks, particularly as an element of etiquette”!
Maybe they are “afro” after all! Maybe therein is the clue as to why their visa was refused, straight from the horse’s mouth. Deportment! Someone give these people some grooming classes!
Anyhow, HIFA seems to be going on a tangent about a straightforward matter. Immigration control in Zimbabwe, like in any other country, exists for a reason: to control who comes into our country. HIFA makes a lot of hay about how they applied for the permit for Freshlyground on time, that the application “was valid” and how other people that they applied for at the same time in fact got their permits. In other words, according to HIFA, because an application was aued! How foolish is that?
The whole point of having an application process is that someone somewhere will make a decision on such an application. And giving someone a discretion to decide on an application means also giving them the power to either grant or to refuse that application. Otherwise, the whole application process would be otiose.
The idea that any application must be granted simply because it has been made is foolish to say the least. It is the same rubbish reasoning that has allowed a certain man to keep crying foul each time he loses elections because he goes into each round expecting, like HIFA apparently did, either a successful outcome or, in the alternative, a successful outcome. That is a classic case of impaling oneself with a Morton’s Fork.
Making a “valid application” simply means that you have made the application on the correct application form, that the relevant application fees have been paid, that the application has been made in terms of the procedure laid out in the immigration rules, for a visa of a type that is provided for in the said rules, that the application is being made on time, and that it has been sent to the correct government department.
Making a “valid application” is relevant to the procedure, not the outcome, though clearly an invalid application will be rejected for being invalid, and not on the merits. Where a valid application is made, as is claimed was done in this case, someone vested with the discretion to either grant or refuse the application will still need to make a decision on it. In this case, the decision of that person was No.
HIFA makes the patronising statement that they are “confident of Government departments’ capacity for common sense and professionalism which HIFA has always experienced from these departments and that HIFA is also confident such common sense and professionalism will set in” when they apply for another permit for this group!
What gall! Apparently, “HIFA trusts the capacity of these departments to exhibit the same common sense and professionalism they have exhibited in the past”. Really? What a bunch of patronising, sanctimonious piffle!
We are further told by HIFA that “other Government ministries and departments are also surprised at the denial of entry”. Curiously, we are not told which these other departments are, most probably because they do not exist. Yes, other Government departments (ZIMRA, the Board of Censors, the National Arts Council, etc) are involved with HIFA, but they are not immigration.
If HIFA is suggesting that all Government departments should not engage with them until immigration permits are issued, then that is what they should say. But who would be the victim of such a prolonged process, if not HIFA? Sometimes, it pays to think before issuing statements against Government departments that have done nothing but assist in good faith in a process that you have initiated.
There are many possible reasons why Freshlyground were denied a visa. They are not a big group, and somehow trying to intimate that there was a political reason for not allowing them into the country is just foolish.
The Government of Zimbabwe will not fall because some misguided idiots got together and formed a group where one of their songs mocks our politicians. Morgan Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti, Nelson Chamisa, Obert Gutu, and their friends at the various MDCs routinely mock our Government day in day out, and they remain free and unmolested, being more at risk from their own hired mobs at Harvest House than they are from the state.
If Tsvangirai, with a proven voting record of getting over a million votes each election, fails to unseat a popular government, why on earth would a foreign group of half-decent singers performing to 4000 or so people somehow be a threat requiring political sanction? This is just foolish. The application failed, and HIFA should seek to find out why, instead of insinuating that there was something underhanded about that refusal.
Just because someone is unsuccessful in an application for entry to a country does not mean that there is politics at play. Immigration officers have a discretion to allow or refuse entry to non-Zimbabweans. Just like in other countries. And this drivel about freedom of expression appears to only apply when used against our government.
Sizzler and Elephant Man have been refused entry into the UK
When the British government refused Elephant Man a visa to visit the UK because of his “Step pon chi chi man’’ song, there were no cries about freedom of expression from the same people raising it now. HIFA conveniently seeks to suggest “those artistes from abroad being quoted in some sections of the media as having been banned from certain countries either have criminal records or are informed ahead of time why they are not being permitted into those particular countries”.
Lies lies lies! Such a blanket statement, completely unsourced and unsupported by any evidence. These artistes were informed either upon a decision being made by the immigration official on an application (as happened here), or when visas already issued were being revoked (as happened to Beenie Man in the USA); or were denied entry at the airport into countries where they did not need a visa to enter, as has happened to that vile Holocaust denier David Irving across many countries.
In other words, the timing of the denial of entry, the reasons for the denial of a visa application, are all matters within the discretion of the immigration officials. That discretion was exercised here, legally. If HIFA does not think so, why are they not going to the Administrative Court?
That is the forum to challenge administrative decisions, not issuing statements clothed in vile innuendo and laced with suggestions of dark forces at play.
In international jurisprudence, especially that of the European Convention on Human Rights, there is something called the doctrine of “margin of appreciation”. Simply put, for present purposes it means “in making administrative decisions about entry it not their country, our immigration officials know best”.
It is not for anyone to second guess those decisions simply because they do not like them, or because, as HIFA contends, a “valid application” had been made!
Immigration control is one of the basic functions of a government, and completely within the purview of its discretionary powers. An immigration application is made to the immigration officer and adjudicated upon on its merits. It is adjudicated upon using objective criteria, which recognises that the immigration authorities of each country, the institutions and departments that they run; by reason of their direct and continuous contact with the interests of public order, public security, public morality and national interests, are in a better position to decide who is and who is not allowed into our country.
That is based on objective criteria, not common sense. And while there is nothing wrong with the “common sense” and “professionalism” of the immigration department in denying entry to an undesirable foreigner, for whatever reason, HIFA’s statement is in fact a snide dig at the immigration authorities.
Because HIFA is in fact saying that by denying this visa this time, the immigration authorities acted contrary to common sense and in an unprofessional manner. That is false, misleading, nauseating and vile. As they are involved in the arts, I will quote Shakespeare and say: fie for shame, HIFA, fie for shame!


Tinomudaishe Chinyoka is former president: University of Zimbabwe Students Union; former president: Zimbabwe National Students Union; former secretary-general: University of Zimbabwe Students Union, and PhD student, History of Land Law and Political Science, UK. He wrtes in his own representative capacity.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The House that Morgan Built

WHEN I was growing up, I recall very distinctly the day I came across a very interesting piece of writing in one of the few English textbooks we had.

It was a story written like a poem, or a poem written like a story; my teacher was never sure, thus adding to the mystique. 

It started with a picture and one sentence, the sentence merely said, “this is the house that Jack built.”

The next line, under a picture of a sack of maize-meal, said something like, “this is the meal, that lay in the house that Jack built.”
The story builds up, one picture at a time, but with each picture the number of sentences increases; through packets of meal, rats that ate the meal, dogs that chase some cats, farmers that marry some women, until finally it is a long line of events, people and things, all stemming from the house that Jack built.
Oddly, lately I find myself thinking of this story quite a lot when each time there is something new about the MDC, with my thoughts saying, “this is the house that Morgan built”.
A house of suspensions to counter other suspensions, where the suspender gets suspended before he rounds up his fellow suspended comrades so that they might in turn suspend those that dared to suspend them.
Doing your head in?
Well, spare a thought for the judge that finally gets to resolve this mess.
The winner is MDC-T, the loser is, eeeh, MDC-T!
Whichever side wins will temporarily forget that the judge is a “Mugabe appointee” (their usual line), while the losing side will somehow find the ‘sinister hand’ of Zanu-PF and the CIO in this fiasco.
All stemming from the house that Morgan built.
A man who gets suspended from the party that he has led in 15 unsuccessful years, five years after the date when he should have left from when they launched the party in 1999 and claimed that theirs would be different because it would have term limits.
Ten years and you are out, because we do not want people clinging to power, they claimed.
In retaliation, he suspends the lawyer that helped him kick out the first lawyer to suggest the sanctity of those term limits.
It used to be the case that the MDC had too many lawyers, but when one looks at the careers of Gwisai, Jongwe, Welshman and now Biti, one must say that the MDC is a curse for lawyers!
Realising from the start that they would never be able to win an election against a popular President, the MDC came up with this novel idea of term limits.
If we cannot vote Mugabe out, why not limit his ability to run so that an easier opponent might come along, they reasoned.
Of course, they quickly ran into their own trap and one split and creative legal dissembling later, Morgan remains, 15 years on the perch and still claiming to be a change agent. Just not change within the MDC, mind you.
So instead of leaving with whatever grace one can muster after losing all elections since 1999, Morgan faces another split in his movement, wide eyes already cast for a scapegoat.
The minions have already been deployed. Suddenly, Mangoma and Biti are Zanu-PF agents. Drama in Dreamland! Or should that be Drama in the House that Morgan built?
The only change that the MDC wants is the type that gets them into power. Not for the people, not for the country, their track record during the days of the inclusive Government put paid to those claims.
MDC has shown to all and sundry that they have no agenda, no plan beyond a naked desire for power for the 15 or so people around Morgan.
Yes, they are opposed to President Mugabe, they have made that clear.
But, sadly, being against President Mugabe is not an agenda.
It is not policy. It is not an alternative.
And therein lies the root for this mess.
From 1999, the MDC has managed to lull a good number of people into the false belief that they stand for something, that this something was a far much better form of democracy than what we have.
The claim was that they were more principled than the other lot that had tried to remove Zanu-PF, better even than the government of the day.
Theirs, we were told, was an agenda for change, and change for the better.
Now, we see that that was all just a facade. A party that claims to stand for human rights and equality of all deploys its most vocal cheerleaders to mock Elton Mangoma’s disability as if it were some self-inflicted decoration.
Thanks to decorum on the part of the ZBC, some of us never even knew that Mangoma was disabled, because they never showed his disability, choosing instead to engage with the content of his character and views.
But it took Chamisa saying Mangoma should worry about representing ‘other disabled people in Parliament instead of writing letters to Morgan’ for us to say: hold the phone, other disabled people? Only then did we know.
So, a fact that has absolutely zero relevance to the merit or otherwise of Mangoma’s criticism of the dear leader (their new term for Morgan Tsvangirai) is elevated to a position where it is more important than any small merit that the issues raised ever could possess.
Which is much the same way that we are now being told that Biti is HIV-positive, and that somehow this is somewhat relevant to whatever issues might be at hand. Interesting.
First, I do know that when I was at UZ, Gutu had already qualified as a lawyer, while Hwende and Chamisa had failed to get enough points to make it to that institution and were making noises at Harare Poly, and several now prominent MDC zealots were otherwise engaged in pursuits that did not include medical instruction or learning.
Not being elitist, but now one sees why it has always been a complaint of many that at the time that Gutu went to the UZ, the points total needed was unacceptably low!
Even Job Sikhala, that well known champion of bombast, recently brought into the fold by Morgan Tsvangirai, deploys his criticisms of the so-called “renewal” team (I say you cannot renew a dead donkey, but that is only me) in measured terms that do not degenerate into the inane: there is a reason for that I say of my brother then made it to UZ the same year that Chamisa and Hwende tried and failed. Quite how Gutu, Chamisa and Hwende as well as their hangers-on have suddenly become qualified doctors capable of diagnosing HIV or cancer by sight and sight alone beats me.
Praise singers during the day: But Gutu and Chamisa said Tsvangirai is weak and inept (Wikileaks)
Unless of course we are witnessing the reincarnation of a new religion, one with Nelson Chamisa as prophet, and Gutu and Hwende as his sons of a prophet: Chamisa is after all the man that revealed the divinely inspired fact that Morgan Tsvangirai was chosen by God himself!
Let us assume for argument’s sake that Biti is HIV positive (a fact that is questionable given Chamisa’s own calculations as will be shown below), but so what? The World Health Organisation estimates that about 13 percent of Zimbabwe’s adult population is HIV positive. That is close to 2 million adults, which is more than the number that Morgan ever got in any election. So, we have people that wish to gain political power, in order that they might run our country, but who think that 13 percent of the population deserves nothing but ridicule and insult. Do we, as a nation, want to be led by people that think that it is okay to laugh at those that are physically disabled and dismiss as outcasts those infected with a serious illness? To live in a country where only the physically pure are deserving of recognition? To be led by religious zealots who think that only they are worthy because they were anointed by God?
While they fight over the carcass of the MDC, all pretense at objectivity is thrown away. Ask any voter in any of the places where they won Parliamentary seats to tell you what this fight is about and see what you get. It is not about rebuilding the roads in Mkoba or stopping the decay of businesses in Gweru Urban thanks to the MDC inspired sanctions. It is not about installing public street lighting in Harare to combat crime. There is no policy in their shout for ‘renewal’ to rejuvenate manufacturing, merely the replacing of deadwood with differently aged deadwood. No one claiming to speak for Morgan Tsvangirai brings up any policy abilities that make his preservation in situ necessary. Instead, we are forever told that the man has grassroots support, a ‘fact’ whose lie is as palpable as it is stupid: only those drunk in self-delusion will allow themselves to say that a man who has consistently lost every election that he has taken part in over the last 15 years has ‘grassroots support’.
On the other hand, the so called ‘renewal’ team appears to suffer from the same malady. Having seen that ‘Mugabe must go at all costs’ is not an ideology, they have stumbled on a better alternative: ‘Morgan must go at all costs’. So, to sum up the situation, one can quite legitimately say that the two MDC-Ts are political parties in Zimbabwe whose agenda and ideology is the same: “So and So must go at all costs”, with Mugabe and Morgan being ‘so and so’ depending on which MDC-T you choose.
Gone too is the lie that the MDC project is anything but a vehicle for the promotion of personal interests. Ask a member of parliament elected on the MDC ticket who they stand with and you will hear either ‘Morgan’ or ‘Biti’. Not the people that elected them; no, the voters do not matter until late 2017, when their services will once again be required. Unless you are from a constituency that will soon become vacant depending on which faction loses this free entertainment that they have started, because by-elections will be coming to a town near you. Spare a thought for the poor people in those constituencies, the election will not be pretty, what with two candidates claiming to be the real MDC-T in each one. This, after all, is the house that Morgan built, a house of confusion and chaos.
What a sad legacy to built for oneself! Yet so very predictable.
So now we are left with one protagonist so hellbent on removing everyone and everything from the party that he might just suspend everyone except himself in order to clear his own pathway to power, and another publicly claiming that Morgan was anointed (by God, no less), while privately briefing all that care to listen that he wants ‘‘to make sure that the old man loses one more time so that I can take over because otherwise if I take over now the elections will be called before I turn 40!’’ Biti being next in line complicates that plan, so he must go. And you have to ask, what hubris is that? Except, the denizens shouting ‘‘renewal’’ at Mandel Training Centre or ‘‘Tsvangirai ndizvo’’ outside Harvest House do not see that they are being used by both Biti and Chamisa.
Chamisa needs a pathway to power, and that requires Morgan to do what he does best one more time: lose another election. And therein too is that ‘‘Biti has HIV’’ line shown to be a lie. If Chamisa truly believed that Biti had HIV, why is he telling people that he cannot wait for Tsvangirai to win in 2018 and stay till 2028, then for Biti to take over in 2028 and stay until 2038? Surely he cannot be suggesting that if Biti is terminally ill, he will be around in 2038? Or has God again told him something?
In any event, is it not a touch presumptuous to assume that the good people of Zimbabwe will be voting for an MDC president from 2023 until 2048?
It is a sign of Tsvangirai’s utter naiveté that he does not see that he is being used in the battle to control the MDC being fought by his most ambitious and power hungry lieutenant on the one side against his slightly more able but politically inept former Finance Minister on the other. This of course is the house that Morgan built. If I was to develop that poem/story, I would bet that my second picture would be that of Nelson Chamisa or Tendai Biti, playing a fiddle or pulling some puppeteer strings, with the line, ‘‘and this is the cancer, that lay in the house that Morgan built’’.
Like Nero, Tsvangirai goes around addressing rally after rally, telling his increasingly dwindling crowds that ‘we can’t wait for 2018’ and ‘we need another coalition’. Someone tell this man he lost, will you? Of course you can wait until 2018. To lose again. Of course we know what these rallies are about: nothing to do with the people being called and attending for the one purpose of getting a free T-shirt: they are meant to show Biti and Co that he has, you guessed it, ‘‘grassroots support’’. The people of Zimbabwe have nothing to thank Tsvangirai for apart from the sanctions that have done their best to cripple our economy. And the free red T-shirts that bring people to his rallies.
This circus will likely run a long time, and he that can predict the outcome will probably rival Makandiwa, Magaya or Angel in the prophecy stakes. But one thing is certain: the MDC will, true to form, lose the next election. Not because of all the new reasons that they will manufacture, but because while they tear each other apart, the people see their government trying to extricate the country from the yoke of MDC inspired sanctions. People have long memories, and they are not stupid. A fact that the MDC might do well to learn as the house that Morgan built crumbles.
And it is not hard to see why the MDC is imploding: ‘’Mugabe is 89’’ with a little red card was never going to be a long term ideology. Going around issuing red cards to the air like some mad football referee is funny to watch the first time, tiresome after a few days and downright stupid over the long term. Those gimmicks might make for a good afternoon of fun in the park, might even earn a few laughs in a World Cup year, but they do not translate well when purveyed as national policy. The MDC project crumbles because it was always built on a sandy foundation: the removal of a true patriot who fought for independence so that he be replaced by a coward that chose to serve the very same white masters we were fighting was never going to happen. So myopic was the whole thing that even the people involved soon tired of the charade and went back to what they really intended from the start: lining their own pockets and positioning themselves for the chance to lead the gravy train of opposition and milk its Western donor funds trough until even the donors tired of paying for a regime change agenda that never looked like it might happen.


Cde Tinomudaishe Chinyoka is a lawyer based in the United Kingdom and a former prominent student leader. He writes in his own representative capacity.