Monday, 27 June 2016

A Revolutionary Introspection

By Nick Mangwana

No organisation, State or institution is beyond critique. No leadership is beyond reproach. In fact, part of the problem that bedevilled Africa is the tendency for beatification of leadership. If that leadership is holding itself accountable to its people, then there is no problem. As the situation in Zimbabwe, every five years the people asked again to make a decision on whether they want the to change course or not. Seven out of seven times they have chosen the tried and tested Revolutionary party.  But for the revolutionary party to remain relevant and make its claim in the legend, it should be able to fix today’s challenges. People do not want excuses. They want real solutions. Leadership is chosen in the belief that they have solutions around problems. This is the very reason why it is not everyone who can be a leader. So those who have been deemed special enough to lead should real lead in an inspiring way.  

No more excuses. Yes, sanctions are there. It is true that they are real. It is also true that they cause untold suffering but a revolutionary party should find a revolutionary way around such. If not, then what’s revolutionary about it? Corruption is a big problem; this is an area that needs some ruthless revolutionary solutions. China is showing its revolutionary spirit but a proper Zero tolerance to corruption that those that want to be greed have to wait until they come to Africa where they will face nothing but “bad press”

This week this column will just run an introspective critique of the revolutionary party.  This might be an uncomfortable reading for a lot but this column is not there for its entertainment value. It is there to add value to the discourse including jolting the powerful into keeping an eye on the ball. Somebody said that writers should not play to the passions and prejudices of their leaders, for they have enough cheerleaders to do that. When leaders are looking for ululations for the10 houses they have built, writers and columnists should be able to ask why 10 when there was a potential to build 60?  Many leaders do not like it. They want praise based on the nostalgia of their achievements. But the mindsets of the people do not work like that.

The way they work is, if you give them a road then fine, but we have no electricity, when electricity supply improves (as is the current situation in Zimbabwe) they will point to erratic water supply. When this is improved they will remind you that there are no jobs. This will continue until the socio-economic situation of the people is optimised. Sometimes the leadership choose not to pursue this incessantly. They conclude that people are hard to please. But development is progressive. It is an elusive destination which all well meaning politicians should pursue all the same.  There are no fixed goalposts. You score on one then another pops up and you have to score on that one too and then the next and next. This is the reason why people dismissively say, “we don’t eat history”. This is because those achievements of yesteryear are deemed pointless if they cannot solve today’s problems.

Our revolutions should be about positively transforming the nation. Is Zanu PF a revolutionary party or it is a former revolutionary party.  It revolutionised education. It revolutionised the land reform with all its mistakes but it was a revolution all the same. If the indigenisation effort had been done with a genuine and well-thought through non-self-serving way, it would have been a revolution. The thinking is still revolutionary.  These revolutions were meant to bring about social justice. But the tolerance of corruption has turned them into what many see as a means of self-enrichment by a few. For where is the social justice in diamonds being discovered in under one’s home and instead of celebrating one shudders at the prospect of displacement and nothing more.  Those villagers that celebrated an anticipated windfall they bear the bitterness of betrayal. For theirs  Kwaiva kupemberera mombe dzasabhuku padhibha iwe usina kana pekuvakira danga (It was synonymous to a villager celebrating the headman’s fat herd  of cows when he himself does not have even a small piece of land for a cattle kraal).  No social justice either mean a betrayed revolution, a hijacked revolution or a failed revolution. The nation hopes one day to know.

Make no mistake, there are people that benefitted from each and every one of the revolutions and swear by it. But equally there many who scoff at the revolution because all they see and experience is poverty which they attribute to that revolution. Last week this column was about the Agrarian Revolution taking place in Zambia where peasants are producing maize in excess. It is such revolutions with socio-economic benefits which make people proud and of a revolution and find it easy to defend.

Our revolution is not a system that enriches a few and leaves the rest in abject poverty needing hand outs from the powerful thus making them have more power over them. That is not what the revolution is about.  That is a description of a self-serving revolution.  Our revolution is not influence peddling. That again makes the powerful more powerful and the poor weaker. A poor and disempowered populace celebrate mediocrity. Anyone that that challenges insipid leadership is considered a counter-revolutionary. No comrades counter-revolutionaries are those that turn against a revolution by personalising it and its benefits.

In the past this column has said  the rich and powerful elite are treating workers worse than the former colonisers. This is the lot that cannot make a distinction between their family estate and the company in which they are directors. They can’t distinguish what’s national and what’s personal. This columnist refuses to be part of any class that want to describe anyone scrounging to eke a living as “informally employed”. To call someone weaving between cars on Samora Machel Avenue selling trinkets that netting them $1.37 profit plus a bottle of water from a motorist employed is an insult.  People cannot change the unemployment definition just to fit a political rhetoric. The revolution needs to be reconstructed if it is to move from political declamatory into real socio-economic transformation for our people.

The revolution is not about educated people with poor sanitation, unclean water, no jobs, impoverished urban folks exercising peasantry in urban areas and equally impoverished rural folks relying on food for work for survival. This is a sign of a revolution that has lost its way. A revolution is about personal pride and feel good factor because of the dignity which is brought about by an enabling and facilitative environment. When that personal feel good factor translates into a national feel good factor, that is patriotism.

It is good hundreds of thousands were given land. That was empowering. It was equally good that mines should exercise enforced Corporate Social Responsibility in hosting and adjacent communities. That is a revolutionary way of thinking. But there is nothing revolutionary about calling camera, lights, and action when these companies will never convert a symbolical dummy cheque into real cash in the bank. That is a sign of a cheated revolution.

This is because revolutions change people’s lives positively and in a sustained way. Restorative justice is revolutionary. But reverse racism is bigotry. If children are taught hate all they will know is bitterness all their lives.  That is not revolutionary. Revolutions frown on all kinds of injustice. They are or at least they should be blind to who the perpetrator is. This is why those that fought Colonialism and Imperialism are are called revolutionaries because they brought a new social order.

The new social order should not be full of its own injustices. Independence that came through conscious revolutions should reflect a glaring contrasting social behaviour.  Not the aloofness that has been known to be a common post-revolution trait. Not the imperviousness to grievances accusations that are beginning to ring true. Let the aftermath of a revolution deal with the people transparently.
Transparency is not a weakness. In fact it is a show of strength. If our nation continues to waste opportunities, it will end up with a lost generation of Zimbabweans.  Those that have not known a day in a formal job and yet are actively seeking same.  Those whose degree certificates are gathering dust whilst the lessons taken are going obsolete. Sometimes all it takes is showing sincerity in fighting corruption. For there is a direct link between corruption and poverty, between corruption and unemployment for there is direct link between transparency and economic performance.  Amilcar Cabral said that we should not claim easy victories and we should mask no obstacles. Should we own to our mistakes, will that not be the beginning of national catharsis and economic progress?
People will never stop from demanding more from the revolution. And the revolution should never stop delivering better than than the demands. That is why one novelist wrote that, “Children of revolutions are always ungrateful, and the revolution must be grateful that it is so”

First published in Zanu PF's Official Mouthpiece The People's Voice (24-30 June 2016)

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Deliver or Good Bye

By Cde Che Chiremba

Members of Parliament are elected to serve the people in their constituencies. Everyone knows that, especially the MPs themselves. As ZANU PF UK we keep stressing that our elected officials should be above reproach and as such very high standards are expected of them. The public are quite willing to forgive certain indiscretions. But in this age of social media, when it comes to financial impropriety, completely different dynamics kick in. As the anti corruption drive and declaration of assets becomes mandatory, we expect to see some deciding to leave public service. Voluntarily or otherwise. Having said that the let us deal with the composition of the August House itself first.

After the MDC split up for the second time or third time (or was it fourth), the Morgan Tsvangirai led outfit sought to recall the almost two dozen MPs that had gone with Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma. Despite Advocate Biti's objections, Section 129 (1) (k) of the Constitution had to be followed.
The MDC Renewal aka MDC B had accused the MDC-T of being in "bed with ZANU PF by effectively donating seats as Tsvangirai had vowed not to contest any more elections".
Having "failed" to interpret the law properly, formerly Hon Biti was quite right in saying this was effectively a donation to ZANU PF! Those who understand parliamentary democracies will know that when political parties have certain strongholds where they would have large majorities require mini miracles to overturn. Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru had been such strongholds for the MDC since their formation. In the same way, Chipinge was ZANU Ndonga territory once. Then you have areas such as Zvimba, Chinhoyi, Bindura, Hurungwe, etc. that only a fool would think of going against ZANU PF. It's a bit like some newbie Tory candidate trying to get elected in Tony Blair's former constituency. Akwenziwa lokhu! There are some things best avoided in politics.
When by-elections eventually happened on the 10th of June 2015, Tsvangirai’s MDC refused to participate. There were no surprises on who the new MPs were. It's never wise to look a gift horse in the mouth so ZANU PF candidates had a clean sweep. There is no known record of a Thank You card being sent to Harvest House from ZANU PF HQ. Human courtesy says there should have been.
After over a decade of the MDC controlling one of the cradles of Zimbabwe's nationalism, Highfields came back home. Highfields is a tricky constituency as even the highly controversial and popular Munyaradzi Gwisai failed to win back his seat after running against the official MDC candidate. But this used to be President Mugabe’s constituency and remains where he is registered to vote.
Out of the blue ZANU PF had fresh faces who had worked hard during their campaigns but clearly had odds in their favour.
As much as ZANU PF's popularity has been on the up as the MDCs are claiming more letters of the alphabet, it's vital to note that seats gained in one horse races are not automatically ours to keep. Some MPs in those constituencies are basically representing on borrowed time. The by- elections were a perfect opportunity to show the people of Luveve, Kambuzuma, Dzivarasekwa and other areas that ZANU PF means business and is there for the people. Such MPs should be working harder than those that faced stronger candidates to maintain those seats. The party in general needs to give greater support to the likes of Hon Psychology Maziwisa, Hon Terence Mukupe , Tshinga Dube, Ephraim Mupfumi and others. Without concerted efforts, the MDC-T will make a clean sweep of these areas the same way they did with Ncube’s seats in Bulawayo as ZANU PF watched.
A lot of work is being done by the majority if these new MPs, however more needs to be done. Our chapter being uniquely placed in the diaspora has a varied membership spanning people hailing from Beitbridge to Kariba. These people often give feedback on which MPs haven't been seen after being elected or which ones have been coordinating efforts to support their constituents. Publicly available parliamentary records also tell us who has been attending debates and who has been contributing. More telling those records tell us which MPs are happier just adding Hon before their name and MP after on their Facebook profiles. There was even one who have himself the title of Shadow MP. Apparently he is still a shadow of some kind or a Shallow MP now.
There is a lot of work to be done around the country, especially in Metropolitan areas. There has been good feedback on Retired Col Tshinga Dube the new MP for Makokoba, Bulawayo's oldest township. There has also been visible progress from the by Hon Terence Mukupe who has been visible in his constituency and quite vocal on matters relating to solving the shortage of US dollar notes.
In the past there have been one term MPs, if hard work is not put in and credible difference is seen at constituency level, there will be half term MPs come 2018.
We have been given a shot at claiming back Harare. The more progress is initiated by ZANU PF MPs in Harare and Bulawayo, the higher the chance of claiming a greater option of votes.

Iwe neni tinebasa. Wena lami silomsebenzi. Let's get on with it!

Sunday, 12 June 2016

From The Chairman’s Desk

Good evening Comrades

I hope you are all well. We are very happy the party is growing in numbers through both recruitment and reproduction. We want to assume that children will follow the ways of the fathers.

We express our congratulations to our Finance Secretary Cde Eddie Mukutirwa whose wife delivered a baby girl this morning.

Comrades 5 years ago I lost 2 people who were very close to me. It was my first cousin and his wife who both died in a case of homicide/suicide.

Over the years my cousin who lived in Huddersfield always complained about his wife. There was nothing positive he would ever say about her. We had a custom of visiting them once a year. He would always come to our hotel and she would not. He would then run her down all the way to the way she breathed, walked and smiled.  Our question would always be, “If she is this bad and you can’t find something positive about her, why are you staying with her?”

It was not about the kids because their kids were already independent and living their lives in South Africa. On our visits we would go their house and do all sorts during the day. They would undermine each other in front of us. Deplorably whoever phoned the children would do the same to the children. Father would undermine mother and vice versa. Even the children had the same question, “why are you guys staying together?” Anyway as things go, tragedy struck and I had to take two bodies to Zimbabwe to bury side by side.

Now, that’s life. So in every association and relationship we have, we always tend to ask ourselves the same question in an action called introspection, “why am in in this?”.  When we find that the positives far outweigh the negatives and the advantages outstrip the disadvantages, we let that relationship run (maybe with adjustments). The other option that always available to us is to leave the association if it does not fulfil your aspirations and its ethos are contrary to your value system.

I think we all agree that my deceased cousin had a problem. The primary problem was he found completely nothing positive in his wife to build on. Why then did he stay? In our party we have the same challenge. We have those who profess to be members of our party who don’t find anything positive about the party to even tweak our narrative around. Is it rude to ask them the same question cdes, “If Zanu PF is so bad to the core as you always purport, why do are you staying?”.

Now comrades, our party has a lot to adjust, but a lot to reform but it has a lot of positives. Some of us want to use those positives to build a 21st Century party upon. But those who can’t find anything positive at all in our party, why are you staying? You don’t agree with the ideology, you besmirch its history, you ridicule its policies, you undermine its leaders! Why are you a member? When you portray our party as a syndicate of criminal gangs, a gang that makes people disappear (amongst other things), is it not a bad reflection on you to remain a member of such an organisation?

On this warm Sunday afternoon, I urge us to ponder in introspection whether a Zanu PF grouping is the right forum for you. And if so why? Should you find that the answer is in the negative, we won’t won’t begrudge you if you would press the “exit” button. If you decide to stay, please help us to rebuild our party without undermining its core. Please feel free to criticise as we all do, but its not fair on others to issue seditious statements every day.

I thank you for fostering a spirit of mutual respect and camaraderie as well as fair criticism of our party and government without dispiriting our comrades.

Nick Mangwana

Zanu PF UK & Europe