Tuesday, 9 September 2014

These Power Games are not Amusing to the People

By Nick Mangwana

Our constitution is very clear on one thing; bringing the Party into disrepute is a disciplinary offence. How many people including those in top leadership can look at themselves in the mirror without embarrassment at what they see? We have witnessed comrades calling Press Conferences with the sole purpose of denigrating each other and our stomachs have turned.  We keep calling each other “comrades”. Where is the camaraderie in all this? 

For we know the camaraderie is defined as, “a spirit of friendship and loyalty among members of a group.” For me the operative word is “loyalty”. We are bringing the Party into disrepute cdes. We cannot fill acres and acres of space in print and electronic media with attacks and counter attacks on each other. It is counter-revolutionary. We are a revolutionary party.

Is Zanu PF imploding? Hell, no! Water will always find its level no matter what the container. So things will level off in our Revolutionary Party at some point. We just don’t believe the people have the patience to tarry for that day while we feud and argue ad infinitum.  History is littered with revolutions that ate their children. We know ours will not be one of those. But it has to take us re-configuring our compasses and re-calibrating our priorities. 

ZANU PF is the People's Choice and will not implode. Water will
always find its level no matter what the container
There was an editorial in the Herald a few weeks ago. One of the key questions asked was whether people had forgotten what happened to UNIP and Malawi Congress Party. This was a key question and one really on point. We should never be complacent and forget that we can experience such a fate as a party if we take people for granted. 2008 was a wake- up call. And in 2013 we heeded the call but having suffered the humiliation of serving with the very limited and out of depth Tsvangirayi.  

In Zimbabwe there is a dead and token opposition- nothing to
scream home to mama about
A Party can lose power because it’s no longer fashionable. But more importantly a Party can lose power because it has become detached from the people. We hope we will never lose sight of that.  In Zimbabwe there is token opposition now. Nothing to scream home to mama about. Have we decided now to fill this void left by the opposition through finding our own opposition from within? Whilst that might help with a robust debate in the Party, is it not self-defeating? Zanu PF is a party that attained unparalleled success on the backs of ordinary people and the peasantry folks. If we have a totem pole then these are the very ones who have to be at the top of it. We need to prioritise the welfare of the common folks. 

Since Zim Asset was launched in October 2013 we have had 3 Conferences. The 14th People’s Conference in Chinhoyi themed “ZIM ASSET: Growing the Economy for Empowerment and Employment”.  The Youth Conference in August 2014 themed, “ZIM-ASSET: Growing the Economy for Youth Empowerment and Employment”, and the 6th Women’s Conference was also Zim Asset themed. But this seems to be the only time that we really talk about Zim Asset. Even during the conference itself the reportage is dominated by power games. Our resolutions are hardly Zim Asset themed. The intelligently crafted People’s blue print is under siege. We don’t seem concerned to defend it. Is it that we don’t believe it is worth defending or is it that we believe a good policy can defend itself. That would be wrong on both accounts. 

A day after we won the election there was a capital flight from the country. Before we even uttered a word in policy formulation the liquidity challenges had already started crunching. Economic sabotage? Of course! Smart Sanctions? Oh yeah. But at the heart of all this is the management of perception.  We are not na├»ve to believe that substance will ever prevail over perception! It doesn’t work like that. Perception will always prevail over substance but the combination of both is lethal for us.  Zim Asset is being maligned left, right and centre. What we presented as the hope of the people has been turned into a curse acronym. Jokes and gags have been composed on it. And all we can talk about is “faction this, faction that”.  Our people, do they eat factions? Do they even care about factions? 

Conferences come and go. From there what happens to the resolutions? We go back to our power games and forget about the people. Or maybe we don’t because we need the people to use as pawns in our power games! The President was asked on the eve of the election whether when elected he will serve a full term. His response was that he will not cheat the people. He said that if we elected him, he will fulfil our mandate. Well cdes, he was retained. The term has just completed its first year. We still have 4 years to go. Four years in which to deliver our promises.  One year is already gone and we have to stir the ship back on course. A bit of focus back on Zim Asset would help. 

To some these power games might be amusing. To the media they may be fascinating. But to the people, the real Zimbabwean women and children whose only hope is this Party; there is nothing amusing about these power games.  

For there is nothing amusing about being hungry, being penniless and have your children look at you with hollow but desperate eyes and yet you can’t deliver. You turn around and think. Who shall help me bring hope to my progeny? They look up to the Party.   No, they don’t find it amusing at all.


Nick Mangwana is the chairman of the ZANU PF UK Chapter

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