Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Zanu PF and Residual Faeces

By Nick Mangwana

Continuing this week's theme of Perpetual Cleansing I honestly felt like writing this instalment in Shona my mother tongue. For when one gets emotional, they resort to their vernacular.  

I have a cousin who married a beautiful Ndebele lass. After a few years in that dry Masvingo District where I hail from she became very fluent in Shona. But whenever she was upset the beautiful clicks that make Ndebele so musical would start rolling out.  That's what happens when someone stops using their head but start using their heart.

So I am thinking this in Shona, because it comes from the heart.  I will start by at least asking my first question to the reader in Shona and revert back to English with some translations for those who speak our many other official languages.  Pane akambosvina matumbu kana guru (does everyone know how to clean tripe or cow chitlins?). For the sake of those who have never had the experience or witnessed it I will explain.

Whenever the insides of an animal are turned and cleaned, no matter how hungry it had been before its slaughter there will always be faeces in its gut. If those that are very healthy and shiny with a lustrous sheen, when they die and you turn their insides, you will find faeces.  I want the good reader to catch this point. Even those animals that actually starve to death, they will always have faeces inside them. Hell, even if you slaughter a cow that has just finished relieving itself or defecating, it will always have faeces inside of it. Now, we all know that defecating is a way of self-cleansing. So in short, no matter how much an organism cleans itself it will always what they call in biology residual faeces.  If you insist on draining all the faeces from the system of the animal, the animal may dies. For there is something called "residual faeces" in every living organism.

One may wonder why we have just gone to biology class again. Those with insight have already picked that Zanu PF is a living organism. It will always have residual faeces in its system as in undesirable people no matter how much we purge.  It is not only impossible to get rid of all the residual faeces, but is also quite healthy to have them.

Thus Zanu PF as an organisation is always going to have this residual faeces or stool. These are people that represent undesirable part of its being. We all would like it to be out, to expel and remove it but it is virtually impossible. There are of course people that have pursued these new fads. There is one called colonic irrigation. This is a new fad by many celebrities who feel that they are too posh to have faeces in their system. So, special equipment is used to pump water through the backside into the large intestine or colon.  The other name for this procedure is colonic hydrotherapy. Those people that practise these processes will be trying to remove what they believe to be putrefied faecal matter in their large intestines. Is the good reader surprised? Done be, there are people that obsessed with getting rid of faeces. They try to cleanse themselves of all faecal matter. But here is the thing, after a few meals there will be residual faeces again in their systems.  No matter how much you put this equipment through the back passage and irrigate, there will be faeces in your system.

So what’s the solution? How does one make sure they don’t have residual faeces in their gut? Well, you know what? You can’t.  Some things are just meant to be.

Zanu PF is a party of millions of people. It should try to get rid of unwanted excess baggage in its system. But it should not obsess about it.  Once the annoying ones are gone, that’s it. There is no point in going for purity because that state will never be attained. Some things we have to live with. There will always be those are among us who are not fully with us. If churches can have those, how do we expect a political party to have everyone who is who unwavering? I would like to say that they can but the reader and the writer here know that it’s a utopian notion.

The party should continue to be vigilant against bad elements but vigilance does not meaning burning down your house because it has bed bugs. Hatipise imba nekuti yaita tsikidzi.


Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Stop it! Just Respect the Party and the Country!

By Bernard Bwoni

Whilst it is true that social media can be a great asset if managed appropriately and effectively, it is also true that it has the potential to turn into a political disaster if not managed. The ruling party has recently been afflicted by the absence of restraint and control on the conduct and behaviour of some of its members and this has seen indiscipline rooting itself. 

The violation of deep-rooted core values, ideals, directives and regulations governing the behaviour of all party members is the indiscipline that comes with it. The ruling party has a constitution and it is this constitution that guides the behavior and conduct of any of its members. Any departure from these core values, beliefs, principles, rules and regulations must be dealt with decisively and this must be across the board. 

The rules and regulations must be followed accordingly and in line with the ZANU-PF constitution and members who overstep the line as set by the constitution must be directed and redirected so as to bring them under the authority and premises of the constitution of the party. This will enable all party members to work within their individual and collective remits as set out within the party constitution. Any party constitution has a very specific purpose, to regulate, to keep all party members in check and under control so that party objectives, goals and ideology are fulfilled. There must be no exceptions; each and every member of ZANU-PF must stick to rules and regulations as set out by the Constitution. No sacred cows.

President Mugabe is a man of principle and he has stuck to his principles from a very young age since the inception of the ruling party, so what is wrong with some of the party youth who brazenly present an image of disrespect and indiscipline in public forums? President Mugabe recently made it very clear for them when he had this to say, “Let us also respect decisions and procedures of the party. We have witnessed lower organs of the party or cadres heading them challenging superior organs appointed to lead them. Such actions amount to insubordination and indeed a challenge to authority. That is indiscipline at its worst. That has to stop.” The message must have been very loud and clear for those who have been devising their own party constitutions and running wild in media sources and social media.

There is everything wrong with deviating from the core values, rules and regulations as set out by the constitution that directs the ruling party. There is everything wrong with party officials and members posting videos and interviews saying demeaning things about other party officials. The private media in Zimbabwe is indeed having a field day from such indiscipline. This just reflects very badly on the party rather than that individual. As President Mugabe stated,  “…But we were not born yesterday and so we know how to take these jibes, allegations and lies that are manufactured every night and published every morning. We take them for what they are- rubbish for the dustbin”. 

If the party directive is that legislators, party leadership and party members must not publicly engage is media spats, then any departure from such is nothing short of indiscipline and amounts to fermenting instability within the party.  The cases of senior officials running amok on social media and news sources and some youth leadership cadres running their mouth with no restraint has brought a lot of negativity to the party.

These errant individuals must be reined in and refocused on the party direction and agenda. The Party Constitution is not just a display document, it is there to guide and those who ignore constitutional and party direction must face the same fate as those who did not heed the same call in the past. The ruling party is not a celebrity entourage where people throw tantrums and post them as video ‘selfies’ on Facebook. The integrity of the ruling party must never be sacrificed for the egocentric wants of some unstable and reckless individuals at the expense of the majority.  All party members and party officials must be made to account for their own respective responsibilities or recklessness. Each individual is responsible for his or her own doings and must never be allowed to drag the name of the revolutionary party into the mud. Cool heads are often an embodiment of real power focusing on action instead of words, and having the ability to present maturity and develop loyalty in unique ways. These childish social media pranks and associated tantrums are just unacceptable in an ideologically rich and composite structure like the revolutionary ZANU-PF party.

It is that fundamental belief in a cause that separates the real bona-fide heroes in the Robert Mugabe mold from the chaff and debris of the mudslinging youth on social media. Zimbabwe is a country that was founded on the backdrop of the sacrifices of the heroes and heroines who gallantly fought on the side of justice and triumphed. These are the men and women who have shaped Zimbabwe and will forever have the country at heart. They derive satisfaction of their sacrifice not from the achieved victory and glory, but from their totally selfless commitment to the people for the greater good of the country. They only serve to remind us of the higher purpose of self and society. President Mugabe reminded party members this when he told them “We all know from the days of the struggle that when challenges mount, when people face hurdles, this is the time to be with them. That is the ZANU-PF way and the party must go to the village to be at one with the hungry, to be at one with the farmers. We are here to serve our people and we are doing our best despite our limited capacity”. These are such profound and meaningful words from the man of principle who should be emulated.

President Mugabe is the glue that binds the nation and the history that will inspire future generations. All youth and all party members must take cue from this great son of Africa. It is unfortunate that there has been this self-seeking shift towards jostling for positions and power at the expense of real purpose of policy. Zimbabwe is currently facing economic challenges of a magnitude that requires those entrusted into positions of influence to have sleepless nights yet for some the main preoccupation seems to be on personalities rather than real policy. As President Mugabe has articulately put it, this is the time for all party leadership to be ‘at one with the hungry’!

It is a telling sign of misplaced priorities that under the current disabling economic conditions in Zimbabwe that one’s preoccupation is about posting video ‘selfie’ online rather than addressing the immediate challenges facing the ordinary man and woman. When you have youth leadership aspirants mocking each other on public forums about who is gay and who is not, then you know the party is facing genuine challenges of indiscipline. There is an urgent requirement to reorient the youth of the party to rules and guidelines that govern the party. The indiscipline that party youth presents on public forums and social media directly and negatively reflects on the party name. 

There is an urgent need to redefine the construct of politics in Zimbabwe from being a trade (where young people feel overly important and indispensable) to that tireless readiness to serve the people as President Mugabe has done throughout. This cannot be emphasized enough that public office positions are a public duty and with this duty comes responsibilities, accountability and caretaker opportunity to serve those who voted the politicians into power. Your importance is measured on the outcomes the electorate derive from your service as a public official.

Politics is not just a gateway to celebrity status on Facebook or other social media sites, but requires those who enter into this service for the people to have that simple respectful and genuine acknowledgement for the electorate. Public spats between officials and the recent demeaning statements from some youth cadres are not only disrespectful to the party but also the electorate. 

As President Mugabe said, we have a duty and responsibility to the citizens of this country and must address those pressing issues that affect the ordinary person on the street daily. It is that simple and that is why people vote. 

President Mugabe has led by example, our heroes led by example and all these new youth aspirants must learn from them. Now is not the time to seek more followers on Facebook, but the time to hit the ground running and tackle the basics that drive up the nation. Just stop it and respect the party! That simple.


Monday, 19 October 2015

Self-Cleansing or Self-Destruction?

By Nick Mangwana

This October month Zim Asset has reached a two year milestone. Last year at this time, this column covered the hits and misses of this great five year programme of government. So another year on, it would have been the natural thing to review and reflect on the progress made in two years. Remember reader that the quick-wins of Zim Asset were supposed to be gained in 15-18 months. So two years straddles this period and writing about it would have been a no brainer. But this column is not going to do that. Because after a few false starts there seemed not much to write about which would fill the space allocated to the column by the good editor. What would be the point of making the people despondent and dispirited by beaming the light on so many misses. There is enough negative energy in the nation without friendly columnists compounding the people's misery and feelings of despair. It's better the column makes the ruling authorities uncomfortable that torment the masses.

There was a great temptation for this column for a second week in a row to circumvent politics. This was because cadres, activists and functionaries of the party of government are tired of fielding accusations that the major major achievement during the last 2 years were political purges within the ruling party in what has been dubbed "self-cleansing". But this cleansing ritual is knowing no end. 

Now the party is walking the very fine line between self-cleansing and self-destruction maybe somebody has to say the unsaid. For there are cleansing rituals which have been known to be fatal in the Zimbabwean folklore. People have been known to have been covered with a blanket to absorb what is deemed to be cleansing fumes from a red hot stone that is placed in hot water with mysterious herbs and concoctions in the vessel to turn the whole mix into a potent cauldron. The individual being cleansed is then made to kneel with a thick blanket or such material covering their upper body to ensure none of the fumes escape but they are fully taken inhale. 

The problem is when this cleansing ritual is being performed, no fresh air also comes in and the only thing that the "unlucky" individual will be taking in is this concoction and other unclean gases including carbon monoxide. To aggravate a clearly grievous situation, there is a merciless team of the healer's acolytes who act as enforcers to make sure that the individual takes it all in and does not escape. After all they say no pain, no gain. They would normally release when they see no more resistance from the chap who is being cleansed of whatever bad omen. In most cases it's bad luck or munyama. When they remove the blanket they discover that the person's bad luck was so resistant that it ended up killing them. This is what is called fatal cleansing. The whole idea is to cast out bad spells from the midst of the family. In most cases this just ends up reducing the family size, unity and strength. Those families that embark on these exercises unremittedly have experienced what they call in military terms "Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD)". This seems to be an aptly coined acronym. For sometimes there is a lot of madness that comes with all this.

This is because in MAD both the attacker and the attacked end up completely annihilated. This was the concept on which the United Nations Security Council permanent five or the P5 were instituted. At its inception these were the 5 members of the United Nations that had nuclear weapons that gave them the power to obliterate each other and others from the face of the earth. So the P5 were those countries who had capacity for MAD(ness) and the pun here in intended. For how can it not be madness when people become so absorbed by spite and vindictiveness that they would rather lose everything to make sure the person they dislike does not get what they like. I hope this doesn't really get muddled up. An example would possibly help to illustrate the point better than this mumbo jumpo being articulated here.

The nation remembers the country's main opposition party recalling some of its members of parliament because they had said a few unflattering things and written a few poisonous letters to their former leader. Some of those members who were in parliament continued to oppose the ruling party whilst still throwing brickbats at their former comrades and colleagues. In spite of their differences at least there was a bigger voice to stop the ruling party from being complacent and also bring it to account. This is what an opposition is there in parliament for,right? But the hatred within the opposition ranks was more than their combined dislike for ZANU PF. They pursued each other relentlessly. Despite the fact that they were not going to contest elections they still proceeded to recall each other from parliament. ZANU PF said thank you very much. It had struggled to have a foothold in urban areas but the gods of mutual destruction had just smiled upon the Revolutionary Party and on a clean silver platter a dozens of MPs were added to its lot. This was MAD in operation. And normally it always benefits the enemy. The Shonas call it Shaisano.

But that was the opposition. The party to which the writer belongs seem bent to follow the same pathway but of course with a different narrative. At the centre of these shenanigans is the notion that when the moment comes to rally and deliver a victory, the party would always, always never come short. History stands on the side of those that make that argument. But that should never be taken for granted. For taking the people and their vote for granted whilst infighting is embarking on a mutually assured destruction pathway. The infighting seems to have been now franchised to the social media where the body of opinion leaders and analysts is a bottomless pity. Some have outsourced this fighting to the observers as well.

Now self-cleansing is normally a good thing. For one has to cull themselves of excess baggage. Individuals do so after a period of indulging. They call it detoxing. This is just done for a short time and in very sparsely interspaced periods. You see comrades, detoxing is meant to be a period of purification leaving one feeling pure and re-energised. But if overdone it has been shown to leave one feeling very weakened with no energy. A normal healthy body should have a natural self-cleansing system that gets rid of undesired toxins. It is these crash programmes that end up removing needed essentials from the body.

An example of natural purification is that time one spends in the bathroom removing excess or unwanted bowel contents. That is natural self-cleansing and it is very good for the body. It is healthy and people should eat fibre to enable it to happen. But if one starts taking laxatives to increase the frequency they will then spend too much time in the bathroom much to the detriment of all other daily activities that enable a productive and progressive life. This is not only the consequence but with that comes frequent and overdone bowel motion, it doesn't only get messy, It will upset the balance of ions and minerals in the body causing lethargy, in extreme cases death. If this does not happen then the moment one stops this crash cleansing all the rubbish or weight will come back with extra excess. This is the fatality of these crash cleansing programmes. More so if done ad infinitum it's sure case of causing erosion of the stomach lining and other gastric damages. Matumbu anosvuuka.

That's the same with the current cleansing within the ruling party. Zanu PF should not spend too much time in the bathroom cleansing itself when there is Zim Asset to implement. It shouldn't spend too much time absorbed in its own purity that it ends up losing essential people and that essential mojo or feel good factor, energy and vigour needed to make the country which gave it a mandate to superintendent its affairs to to develop.

This column has said this before, if you take all the credit, then prepared to take all the blame too. If the party to which this columnist belongs wants to claim all the good things that happened to Zimbabwe since independence, then it should be prepared to absorb all the blame for the bad things that happened when they are thrown at it by its detractors.

This leads to a suggestion that the type of cleansing the party needs is not so much based on purging itself of members that hold a different view. Of course the party needs its members to be disciplined. And that has to start from the top to the bottom. Those who break disciplinary codes should go through disciplinary processes. However the efficacy of mass culling of members is questionable. The self cleansing which the party needs should be based upon introspection and reflection. There is a need for the party to recalibrate its ideological underpinnings. The party has always been a leftist socialist mass organisation. But there are too many accusations of oligarchy levelled against the party which in the grand scheme of things do not appear to be way off the mark. It is the cleansing that comes with reflection and intellectual catharsis that seem to be so much needed. Not that of removing dissenting voices. Those voices add value because of the plurality of thought they bring. Even Roman Catholic cardinals have someone representing the devil when they condemn him, hence the term "devil's advocate". Plurality of thought and views is always enriching.

Where were we? Oh yes, intellectual catharsis. That one is definitely needed. What with some members of the Central Committee bragging that they want certain leadership to just make money! Who forgets the Central Committee of the '80s whose sole goal and focus was to liberate and empower the masses. How can the nobility of the ideas in the "Leadership Code" be so lost on today's Members of that Organ that they are now made to appear utopian? What the party pronounce in terms of ideology seem to be at tangency with what most of the leadership pursue in real life.There is nothing wrong with pursuing prosperity as a leader. But it is incongruous when one leads is a member of the central committee of an organisation like the one this columnist belong to, and that pursuit is to the detriment of mass empowerment which is actually the raison deter of such an organisation. There is something to be said about the disempowering that comes with dolling out consumable perishables to a hungry people year after year. It's the proverbial provision of fish to the needy instead of showing them the  pond and giving them the fishing line.

A party founded and built on grassroots commissariat work as well as mass mobilisation and social movement should never allow itself to be a tool for the elite. A tool for oligarchy to the neglect of those very masses. A revolutionary movement should continue to be based in the civilian population. Not with the civilians as a means to a self-fulfilment agenda of a few. But to the attainment of the total freedom and empowerment of the common person. That is a clean organisation that has cleansed itself without the fatality of self-cleansing. Because empowerment means self-actualisation of the individual person at a mass scale. It is the provision of opportunities to the grassroots, the removal of impediments that detract the individual from attaining that self-actualisation. 


People Can Differ but Should not Have Factions

By Nick Mangwana

The drama in our party continues unabated and it’s catching the imagination of the international media. Only last week I had 1 radio interview and 2 radio discussions. At the centre of all this was the notion that Zanu PF was imploding. As the party representative on this continent,  I kept the party narrative given to outsiders;  there are no factions in Zanu PF. But dear Cde Reader, you and I know better.  However we will continue to completely deny the existence of factions even if it makes us look silly and sound ridiculous.

 The defence is always to say that Zanu PF like every organisation has no homogeneity of ideas.  You cannot have an organisation which is over 50 years old, and has a membership of millions of people and you have all these people thinking the same, holding the same value system and having the same vision. That would be clearly a lie. Now those keen to tell or hear lies can go to another column to look for such. Here we are frank. We tell it as it is.

If twins who have pretty much the same genetic structure, are raised eating the same food and even wearing the same type of clothes can fight, how about millions of people with different genetical compositions and raised under different domestic value system who went to different schools and have different life experiences, how much more should there be a plurality of thought and diversity of ideas? I think if people tell you that they agree with everything a leader does they are a bunch of either liars or numpties.  Damn, I never agreed with everything my father did and yet he taught me most of the things I know today. I view the world through the prism of his value system yet there are things we could never see eye to eye on.  So if I cannot agree 100% with my father how much more should be expected that people in the same party would view things differently?

What keeps families and organisations together regardless of this plurality of visions or ideas is respect and discipline. That’s what brings order.  I am no hired gun for any of the so-called factions. The leader is President Mugabe. After him is a brilliant team that has contesting views and my take on those views is eclectic. This means there are things from either side which find resonance with my own views.  I am also on good terms with my leaders and those around them regardless of their own differences.  I am proud of some of the things a lot of them do and so if it was my choice I would keep them that way.

For starters I identify with the current commissariat. Some of my reasons are quite selfish. For example, the reason that for the first time in the history of the party bar 1980, this commissariat has put two Diasporans in parliament.  It is selfish view because I consider the Diaspora my constituency. This is a progressive approach and one I will ever be so grateful.  And I think this would have probably struggled to find traction with the old team. It is dynamism of this nature that can only take the country forward. So am I a member of an imaginary faction? No way.

The President in the abundance of his wisdom chose people whom he knew would be safe to assist him run the country. He felt comfortable with those he chose himself this time round after he had been subjected to treachery. These are people he saw fit to act in his position when he is not around.  If the President can trust his deputies that much and I trust my President,  then because I trust his judgement, I give my full backing to my vice presidents. But do I then belong to a faction now? Hell, no. I belong to Zanu PF. Like the President said, even he also simply belongs to Zanu PF.

What our party needs is to be able to pull together despite these varying views. Just like a country. In regular democracy, if one is voted in by 51% of those that vote he becomes a leader including of those 49% who voted against him and those that did not bother to go vote.  The leader represents them all. They are obliged to pull together with that leader despite their  divergent views. Now a party cannot pull together if it is divided into contesting factions.  Warring factions cannot walk in unison. There should be a difference between having different sides to a debate in a political party to having factions.  Factions create contra powers. People spend too  much time trying to counteract and create a Zero sum situation on each other’s moves instead of supporting the President to fulfil his mandate.  When this happens, the people suffer and the party suffers.

Zanu PF is a vibrant party, but factionalism is a sign of ill-health. Zanu PF is a party built on the ideology of empowering the masses. Factionalism disempowers the masses and empowers faction leaders.  Empowerment emboldens the youth to chase their dreams whilst never sacking the ethos of the Liberation Struggle which is the founding pillar of our nation. This also cannot happen without acknowledging and giving deference to those that made it happen. Now for me there is no contradiction between these views. They are in tandem and therefore any counter-force gravitation around those ideas should build the party and not cause fissures.

The Power Truth

By Nick Mangwana

Mr Dangote the richest man in Africa came and went back. He did all the right things and now he will hopefully start operationalising  his projects and bring the much needed investment and employment to our beloved Zimbabwe.  Every patriot is celebrating the good prospect.  But remember we have said "every patriot".

Because there are others who are groaning with despair at this good news for Zimbabwe. Strangely these are Zimbabweans too. One such a person is Obert Gutu. He has taken it upon himself to take to the social media with all his mighty to pour cold water on the feel good factor the country has at the moment. He has gone in a panic frenzy to demonise the country and in his wishful thinking discourage other Dangotes out there.  The opposition is panicking, but why? Their struggling law firms would pick up when the economy picks up. For right now legal representation is luxury. Can't they see that those trucking companies they have would have a lot of inputs and products to ferry when the economy is on a boom? So where is this foolishness coming from?

All is secondary to power. They want power. Even if their mother would suffer for them to gain it. Even if their brothers would go to hospital and find no medication and eventually die in pain and abject misery. To them that is a small price to pay for power. No, comrades this is opposing Zanu PF for its own sake. It is never for the greater good.

Zimbabwe is saddled with an opposition party that is bankrupt of ideas whose mode of opposing is just heckling of the Head of State.  They have one ideology and on that they want to hoodwink Zimbabwe. It is a mantra of extinction called "Mugabe must go". Since when did " Mugabe must go" become a fresh set of ideas? Zimbabwe's economy would not turn around because varidza ngoma (they beat drums) asking for the President to go. Zimbabwe will only turn around because of ideas.
When will they put whatever brains they have into gear. So trying to humiliate the President is the only reason for being in parliament? This is an insult to Zimbabwe's educational system. For if in all that literacy we produced such mediocrity then we  should be panicking.

There is a lesson there for Zanu PF and a clarion call to man-up and turn the economy. If out of protest the people give us a government of these losers then our dear country is doomed.  The only way to avoid the protest vote is to take away the reason for that protest itself.  Let every man and woman in Zanu PF be honesty and focus on turning the economy.  We cannot afford to be complacent. For it is that complacence that turn us into mediocrity too.  Sometimes the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment is simply enthusiasm.

If as a party we lose our enthusiasm for bringing a difference to the lives of our people then we have become irrelevant.  For what reason are we there for if like the opposition we want power for the sake of power?  We say we are "pro-people", we need to prove it. The "people" does not mean our families and ourselves. One does not need to be a member of political party to be the that way. One just needs to have been raised right. But when a group of people come together and be part of a political party they should have an agenda. And that agenda should surely not simply attain and retain power for its own sake. There was a definition I learnt in Form One Science decades ago. It said , "Power is the ability to do something".  I have never forgotten that definition as I have always found it poignant. What do you want power for? What are you in a powerful position for? To enrich yourself? To access opportunities for yourself to the detriment and negation of all others?

Power that is used correctly if given by the people is power that is used to further the agenda of those that gave it to you; the people. If used for anything other than that purpose the people have a right to withdraw that power from you and give it to someone else.

Now we know that the opposition should not be given power for they would not further anyone else's agenda but that of those who fund them.  But there are some in Zanu PF would should never be near power because they abuse it.  When the people take back their power we will support them, because that power is not enabling the advancement  of the Zimbabwean people. 

Those who got embroiled in the "land barons" scandals and such abuses should not be near power.  For so many have suffered when these people were given the ability to do something, they did something bad.

We have power to uplift the lives of our people. We have power to make them hold their heads high and chin up. We do have this power to make Zimbabweans proud of who they are. If that power is not translated to the achievement of this dignity, that power has become a vanity train. Zanu PF should not only have power. It should have moral authority and it should use it for the people.


BUILD- Blue Print About Ego

By Nick Mangwana

When someone who brands themselves come out and issues a personal manifesto, not of an organisation, not of a team, just about themselves as if it's a pitch for a job then one should know that they have entered the zone of personality cults.  This is when polity becomes about an idealised image of a leader  and not about the people or even colleagues for that matter.  It is about a messianic packaging of someone.

As was the case in the Bible, It was Jesus first, then the 12 would be chosen or unveiled later.  It turns all the rest into exiguous minions who are just an appendage to the individual that personifies the project.  The media has also been roped in to help in generating a kind of aura of the "anointed one". This has largely failed.

When Zanu PF was formed on the 8th of August 1963 it was about the Organisation and not about a single individual. It was about the ideals of that Organisation and the value system. It was these that made it to have a life of its own even at the time when the bulk of its leadership was either in prison, detention or exile.  There was no deification of the individual over the organisation and its ideals. And more importantly, it was about the people. So when one comes out to criticise a system they have helped build, a system and ethos that has made them who they are and a system in which they and their family enjoyed excesses in, they should surely make sure they come up with something beyond reproach.  Sadly the blue print of the new system does not inspire confidence for it is a system about an individual.  Nothing could happen while she was dithering. Everyone and everything had to wait for her. For without her the new system could not happen. Then after long periods of prevarication, she came out. And it is about her.

Opaque plans, opaque decision making structure opaque ideals only issued through a press release that look like an advertisement reminding one of those good old Roger Boka adverts (apologies to his family for the association).  No authentification of the blueprint itself.  Would we not wake up one and she says it had nothing to do with her? Zimbabwe can do very well without this idea of personality cults.

This has been seen before. Simba Makoni came out and went to the nation and said vote for me because I am a brand. I am Simba. I will tell you of the name of the organisation later. But for now this is about me the icon. It did not work. A lot of other names can be added to the mix. Now already people are talking of coalitions between tired organisations and those that do not exist. Gore rino tichaonerera.

We have had it before again when after a split, one part of the "amoeba party"  (a party that reproduces by splitting itself in a process called binary fission) appended the surname of the owner as a surname of the party.  That generated another personality cult which has caused mayhem  in the organisation because in those situations there is no collectiveness.  The individual is the embodiment the whole being.

Whilst naturally, parties have to be led by very visible leaders, this one that issued  the personal manifesto is a cacophony of contradictions.  There is a hint of a reluctant leader. Many have spoken for her. She has hardly spoken except when she said she will never leave Zanu PF.  Is it the reason why she did not issue her 2 page colourful press release which was both a manifesto and policy in the name of any organisation?  Then the contradiction is that of a reluctant leader who overstate their personal value to the lives of Zimbabweans.  The party itself (if/when formed) is automatically downgraded to just an instrument of power acquisition endeavour and not a vehicle for mass organisation and fulfilment of national aspirations.  Should a party eventually emerge here, it will struggle to shade off the shadow of its reluctant leader. It will be the same situation as Simba is Mavambo. Mavambo is Simba.  No perpetuity of life beyond the "owner".  

The idolisation of any leader should emerge from their source of authority. In fact in these days of modernity there should be less idolisation of the person but more idolisation of the office which a person seats in. Because it is the office which is a constitutional construct and not the individual who seats in them.  When adoration and devotion start with the individual and ends with the individual the people should realise they are being walked into a trap. Normally these reluctant leaders do not make themselves. They are made by the individuals that describe them with cringe-worthy superlatives and sycophantic adulations calculated  to convince them that they were the best thing since sliced bread so they should lead this or that organisation. The folly of it all is seen when they start  believing that hype. And leaders do always fall for it.  Soon they issue personal manifestos and to sound macho even sign in their nom-de guerre 35 years after independence. For god sake whose blood do you want to spill?

So a potential individual leader issues a manifesto and a so-called blue print, what is the Congress going to do? May be there would not be a congress. After all there is not even a draft constitution. There is just a blue print cum manifesto which is also not a draft, it is projected as a final document.  If a different leader is elected do they issue a different one? Or if the people choose a different pathway at that congress what happens? Suppose they do not want everyone " who calls Zimbabwe their home" to have access to  land in Zimbabwe what do you do?  On the 5th of September the American Ambassador Bruce Wharton issued a Facebook posting on his wall saying, "Heading home to Zimbabwe after 3 weeks in the U.S.....". Well, he just called Zimbabwe "home" and in accordance with BUILD is entitled to land in Zimbabwe! If or when the congress happens and the people disagree with that notion what do you do? You become a dictator? This most likely the situation as from the get go you have made yourself the fountain head of a yet to exist organisation.  There is an implied declaration through the Manifesto/Blueprint that your leadership of the party is a fait accompli.  Organisations that have good governance structures . Was that the case that would go a long way to make sense.  So the supporters and prospective members are already deemed irrelevant. The leader knows what is good for everyone? 

Well,  The direction of parties like Zanu PF is determined at Congress. This is because the people are the party.  Authority should come from an institutionally defined position. One's power should derive from somewhere. Where does this one derive from? Is it from the former office? Because the glaring contradiction of Saying People First and the first thing you project is a personality cult is already smirking of disingenuous inconsistency.  Max Weber  gave three types of legitimate authority.  These are the Traditional Authority which rests on “an established belief in the sanctity of immemorial traditions and the legitimacy of those exercising authority under them”. He gave the second as Legal Authority and says this is “a rule by virtue of ‘legality’, by virtue of belief in the validity of legal statute and the appropriate juridical ‘competence’ founded on rationally devised rules”. Finally he gives the third as Charismatic Authority and defines it as, “the entirely personal devotion to, and personal trust in, revelations, heroism, or other qualities of leadership in an individual”. Should one agree with this theory, then one is led to ask where this lady derived her authority to issue that two page document on behalf of the "People of Zimbabwe"?

A Party shouldn't be about the leader. It should be about the people and their aspirations as expressed by them. Everyone out there can be a rebel leader. Not every rebel is a statesman. And everyone with an unbridled ambition can lead a rebellion.  It is carrying the people with you that is a different proposition. Ask Mr Biti who seems to be having a hard lesson on this. Zanu PF has had its share of rebels without cause but acquisition of power. Their  endeavours came to nought.  Nobody should be bigger than their organisation. Unless that organisation is the personification of their ego.  The people of Zimbabwe have no role in massaging arrogantly inflated egos. And the people of Zimbabwe are not looking for a messiah too so those with highly chequered history of corrupt activities should remove their fake cherub wings and  their made up halos. History has already shown us what they can and cannot do.


Mujuru and the Benefits of Historical Amnesia

By Nick Mangwana

The self-contradiction of some of my compatriots is just astounding. Do my fellow countrymen and the noble ladies have principles? I am beginning to doubt. For how can people say that they hate corruption and attack Zanu PF and then try to embrace Mrs Joyce Mujuru as a redeemer? Isn't she the mother of everything that is corrupt? Isn't her quest for power one of the reasons people were suffering from power cuts?

Those with good memories can recall that not so long ago the Gamatox crew were siphoning money from Zesa to fund their  efforts to seize power. Those who see the economic redemption coming from discredited people are forgetting that Munacho Mutezo was accused of siphoning $100k to fund Mrs Mujuru! If she as a leader of this outfit was in complicit with the haemorrhaging of our State Enterprises by personalising them, are people really thinking that this leopard will change its spots?
The call which goes to those that remain in the party that are mulling the temptation of joining the Gamatox outfit is that if your reasons and motives are not the advancement of Zimbabwe and the improvement of our economy, then don’t.  People should not surrender the long term for the here and now.

Somebody who practised widely known and recorded political excesses cannot turn around today and say that they have had their Damascene moment because they have expelled from the party. Why did they not have that moment at the height of their power? As you are aware cdes, the “Damascene moment” is a biblical moment when Saul of Tarsus who was persecuting Christians was converted on the road to Damascus. Yes the same Damascus where all those Syrian refuges are running from.  This was at the height of Saul’s power.  Saul did not wait until the Pharisees had excommunicated him then start preaching a different gospel! No. If he had done that then it would have been a case of sower grapes. That one is another allegory that may need explanation again. Sorry cdes this week we are going to be all over the place. You see, the legend of the sower grapes was stems from a fox that is said to have gone and tried to reach to a bunch of grapes that were up a lofty branch of tall tree. It kept on jumping try to reach them but failed. In frustration it walked away declaring that, “It doesn’t matter, after  all they were sour grapes”. 

The moral of this is that we have a woman that plundered our parastatal trying to be the leader to our party. When she failed to she now turns prancing around like a naked idiot at a market lampooning everything that made her. She who is one of the major beneficiaries of the land reform is going around uttering implied invectives against the Land Reform.

And who joins the band wagon and start masquerading as a paragon of virtue!? It's none other than the Wizard of Chingwizi, Kudakwashe Basikiti. Is it not just a few months ago when the press were having a field day with his caricature and accusing him of nicking the goodies that had been collected for onward donation to the vulnerable people that had been displaced by the Tokwe-Mukosi overflow? They took him as a joke. They called him "Basket Mouth" among other satirical names. Now they see him as a hero.  If the media that's hostile to Zanu PF is this fickle then why should one buy this repacking of Mrs Mujuru that we are seeing today?

Was it not a just over a year ago that we all went out to defend her audio in which she appeared to lament the heat generated by the exposure of corruption? The whole Zimbabwe media was on her case. Now all that is buried and she is portrayed as a champion against all that is wrong with Zanu PF. The tragedy of it is that there are some takers who are sitting quietly in Zanu PF today waiting for a moment to jump ship. I think it's high time these lot are told not to waste time. After all Temba chose Tsvangirayi and Jabu chose Biti. How sickening.


We Want Community Friendly Police

By Nick Mangwana

My column in the Herald has limited space. I am contracted to write between 1400-1600 words. This limits the space on what I can say. However it's long enough to keep the reader interested. In some respects it is considered way too long. I always share a joke where I accuse those readers of the column that interact with me of laziness.  So my last week's instalment was limited by the space again. Add the fact that I actually feel more unstrained talking to my fellow party comrades in through this paper. You see the Herald speaks for the government but here I speak to those people with whom I share the same Zanu PF Totem. So the language used in the same family is more audacious than in a market full of aliens.  Here my fellow comrades demand candour. They demand that we pull no punches. Remember the People's Voice is "Fearless and Bold". So in the same context we will continue the theme of the shortcomings of our police.

When I came to Zimbabwe 2 weeks ago, I was coming for the funeral of my nephew, my sister's last born who tragically took his own  life by hanging.  My elder brother was told that  our nephew had committed suicide when he was in Harare, and immediately travelled to Chivi where the incident happened a distance of 388 km if one uses the shortest route possible. When he got there my nephew had been cut down by the police but the noose was still in situ! His mother and siblings could not remove the noose in order not to interfere with the scene lest police rule there was foul play suspected. Now my comrades imagine the distress the family felt being subjected to this scene. They couldn't cover him (Talent was his name) again in order to preserve the scene. They could not remove the offending noose for the same reason so they just waited for the police to return and guide. And you know something else? The police did not return. The noose was only removed at the mortuary during the preparation of the body! Look, I am not taking my grief on the police. I know how to deal with that without blaming others for my family tragedy. I just don't want other families out there to experience this type of insensitively and lack of human touch from our police force.

If this was a one-off incident then one would just assume it was the ineptitude of a particular police team in Chivi. No it is not. How many times have seen bodies of deceased loved ones sprawled on the ground after an accident with the police "chilling" around? This is before any next of keen has been informed. A clearly identifiable body is exposed to the public. And the public which now seem to have a fetish for dead body pictures would be snapping away with camera-phones . There would be a rush to publish these photos on social media platforms first before anyone else.  These are some of the downsides of having citizen journalists. They are not bound by any code of ethics. It's simply anything goes. However it is the duty of the police to preserve the dignity of the deceased by cordoning off the site and ban anyone from taking pictures because until ruled otherwise that site is a potential crime scene.

I have no axe to grind with the police but having been born and grew up during the Liberation Struggle I have an understanding why we had a lot of respect for vanaMukoma and hated Mapuruvheya and Madzakutsaku. We always considered vanaMukoma as allies. They were friendly, they were warm and helpful. Our parents were always saluted as ' vabereki'. Compare that to Mapuruvheya! They were so cruel ,hard hearted and rude. There was even a song that went along these lines, " Mupuruvheya moyo wako idombo. Baba namai vakapiswa nemoto...." I find it difficult to translate that because I don't know how to explain what a Mupuruvheya was. But suffice to say they  were some sort of police attached to the District Administrators hence they were known as DAs.  I am sure they were some sort  of Rural District Council Police. I will put my email address for those who know better to correct me should I be wrong or to agree with me should I be right.

But I digress. These people were so cruel that they were hated by the population. They were a scourge. So were Muzorewa's  Pfumo reVanhu whom we all knew as Madzakutsaku or Auxillaries. They had no regard for the population. They were another menace. They were insensitive. You couldn't begin to compare them with those friendly and charming Zanla Commissars who boosted the morale (Morare) of the population. They had support of the population because of their attitudes and demeanour. But the Puruvheyas and Dzakutsakus were different.

Now the reader is beginning to wonder where this is going? Is it not clear enough nhai? The Zimbabwean police does not expect the ZRP to behave like Mapuruvheya or Madzakutsaku! They expect the Republic Police to be courteous, helpful and sensitive.  They expect the attitude which the Zanla Commissars had, to be brought into today's policing. If that is done the police would never lack information. They would never find a need to torture anyone for information for every member of the community would act as their Mujibha or Chimbwido, always ready to help, always ready to inform. We want our police to be fit for purpose. At the moment this is questionable.

Pamberi neZanu PF

Pamberi naanaMukoma


Zimbabwe Needs a Debt Paying Culture

By Nick Mangwana

Zimbabwe has reached a national debt crisis tipping point. People are owing money for everything from electricity that hardly "comes" to local authority taxes as well as water and other council utilities.  Debt collection is now one of the most lucrative industries in the country. But then the crisis does not end there.  It's now pervading every part of the nation.

There are people that can afford to  pay their debts but simply choose not to because it is simply not wired into them that when one borrows they have to pay back. The writer recalls an incident that happened many years ago in one mining township. There was a woman that had a poultry project on their yard. She would sell chickens on credit to the mine workers and at the end of the month she would go to the work place on the payday to collect her dues. These were the days when people were paid their wages in labelled envelops.  One day  this woman went to collect her dues one of her customers who actually lived in the same neighbourhood gave a chain of social challenges as a reason why he could not afford to pay her  this time around. She was a reasonable woman and deferred to the next month. That same evening she saw the same person she had excused coming from one her business competitors holding another live chicken for that evening's meal. She immediately intercepted him and the wrestled for the control of that chicken and she took it and put it in with the rest in her  fowl run.  What irked her was the philosophy of someone incurring debt with one person but fails to pay that debt. Instead of prioritising the repayment of that debt they choose to go and borrow from someone else because they had defaulted on their current obligation. Unfortunately this the same mentality in the Zimbabwean people many years later. This type of mindset cannot be blamed on harsh economic times. It can only be explained by a culture of debt defaulting.  This has nothing with someone not having capacity to pay. It has more to do  with someone lacking commitment to pay.

 Unfortunately in this group  there is the  political elite that has a spirit of entitlement. They borrow from the financial institutions but when it comes to paying their dues, they play politics. They have a culture of impunity and even the banks themselves cannot dare to issue recovery writs against them. Their lifestyles do not suggest that they are indigent.  They have a spirit of entitlement and impunity. You can imagine them saying to the banker in their heads, "What are you gonna do about it?". This type of behaviour is not good for the country and it affects the ability of financial institutions to loan to the next person.

The tragedy of this mindset is that is also taken from people's personal lives and is carried into their State functions.  This same  political elite takes their penchant for not paying personal debts to work  where they don't  prioritise the payment of national debts by commissioning  more spending sprees not occasioned by affordability.  The devil of spending what one does not have as well as having skewed priorities has to be confronted. Like most truths, it does not make comfortable reading.
For how can a country that is struggling with a debt overhang  of nearly $10 billion never run fails to avail top of the range vehicles to its top officials and other highly publicised questionable use of public funds? Isn't really down to prioritise again.  

It is iniquitous to be in debt and continue to pile debt upon debt which is only used to finance recurring expenditure especially a voracious appetite for consumer goods and luxuries.  It is equally iniquitous to saddle one's grandchildren with this burden for generations to come. The country should bequeath a legacy of prosperity  and not a legacy of debt which is a posterity of liability.  The nation cannot continue to duck responsibility.  Sanctions have been very deleterious to our economy. They continue to cause havoc but we are also responsible for the situation the nation finds itself in. We have to ask ourselves who we can borrow from now when we have exhausted any credit limit and yet defaulting from our payments.  If most of the decisions made were about survival nobody blame a nation for choosing survival over debt repayment. But any claim that this is the dilemma facing the nation will sound hollow when the opposition tabloids are full   is clear that Zimbabweans do not prioritise debt repayment. Some have exhausted their credit worthy among friends.  There is a general feeling that Zimbabweans are bad debtors. It is now wired in the psyche of the nation to ignore one's obligations whilst going to accumulate more with very little prospect of paying. This has nothing to do with the difficult state of the Zimbabwean economy because even those who seem to be doing ok in the Diaspora seem to suffer from the same social malady. So the argument that people choose survival over their reputation does not wash.  The saying that , to get rid of someone, lend them money used  to ring so true among our lot.  Now, you lend them money which they don't repay and they still come back for more. They are perfecting the art of smooth talking. But that can only be a bane of the nation.  But what causes people not to prioritise paying their debts?

It is a social injustice for a nation to borrow, individuals fritters that money away and everyone's child and grand child is saddled with that debt.  The nation cannot be called to austere whilst a few are profligate. 

One of the problems in Zimbabwe or among Zimbabweans is measuring success by the amount of visible material possessions.  Even those who are known to be stealing do not want to steal and stash the money away for future generations. No. That does not bring emotional utility. It you got it, you got to flaunt it. Flawed as the idea might be, if one is flaunting their money then that is fine. But if one is flaunting money they cannot repay then the priorities are skewed here.

When a nation is called upon to austere it is not a call on the poor to forgo their sadza and veggie meals from two to one. It is a call on those that eat in Michelin Star restaurants on the back of a public purse (debt) to hold back. It is call to go back to those years soon after independence when minsters were running around in Datsun Bluebird. Yes, reader you got that one right. That used to be an official car. Not these days of top of the range this and top of the range that whilst the nation groans.

The nation is completely disfigured by greedy and unbridled materialism.  Everyone should face to their debts head on.  and the State should also face its debts head on.

Both for the State and individuals, there is also such a thing called living within one's means.  If it's not seen, it does  not mean you don't have it.  There is one prominent businessman who was asked what he needed an 18 bed roomed house for and he realised he just could not answer that question. He came up with something like he built that house knowing that one day he would think of converting it in a hotel. Today's young people would have added (LOL) at the end of that statement because it is laughable indeed. And of course a few months after shooting that video the nation learnt about his mounting  debt problems.