Monday, May 14, 2012
Friday, 11 May 2012 22:07
I thought they were thick-skinned. I thought they were courageous. Last week my instalment made a passing reference to the health status of those in the MDC-T aspiring for presidency. No name was mentioned, not a single one. Boy, what a panicky response!
I had touched a raw nerve, in the process exposing deep-seated health-anxieties within the MDC-T hierarchy. I liked a jibe from a contributor on one of the websites: atya chatikwatara ndeane chiturikwa. Translated it means he who fears a thud is one with a poorly hung secret!
Those that live in glass houses
Well, these guys have a lot to worry about, these guys who have strutted about flaunting God-like immortality simply through default, through our polite silence, our courteous silence. They got reckless with this benefit of default, and like the little bird nzo, have challenged their own chi, their own god, to mortal combat. Need they cry if their angry god grabs them by the neck and, in one throw break their delicate frame?
We did not put the issue of personal health of candidates on the national agenda.
They did, foolishly thinking only Robert Mugabe lives in a glassy house. Today, only with preliminary gentle pelting, they are having to walk nimbly on sharp glassy shards — so prickling, so hurtful — all amidst a crackle of breaking walls.
Even the Bible makes it clear: judge not and thou shall not be judged. Now that the issue of fitness is on the agenda, courtesy of the MDC-T, let us talk about it candidly, so we see whose cow gets gored. I am ready. The gloves are off. After all if health is sufficient basis for removing a sitting president, surely it’s sufficient grounds for (dis)qualifying anyone aspiring for the same top post. I promised bold days, and those who know me enough will tell you that is not a commodity ever in deficit here.
Luke Tamborinyoka can be a pathetic information officer. In a humorous way too! He vouches for the health of another man whose wassails are a matter of public record! He is bold, very bold. I hope he follows the ricochet. One rule in propaganda is that as you enter a room, quickly check where the exit door is. Silence of defeat is not quite a clever way of handling comebacks you trigger through your own, mindless, unmeasured responses.
Kurikwedu kuSaruwe, ahii pabasa kacha!
He raises the issue of frequency of foreign trips to prove who enjoys better health, the President or the Prime Minister. Hardly a day later, his principal flies out on hard-to-believe grounds. Who believes Luke when he tells us Tsvangirai is in the US to finish off his leave days? Was he not in South Africa on holiday when he got bashed on the leg? Is he not the leader of the party of excellence, of parsimony? Why this profligacy when farmers have no funding for wheat? Why this profligacy when Zimbabwe stares a food deficit, thanks to Biti’s reluctance to fund agriculture? Real hunger starting with his home area Buhera where crops have failed dismally?
Except Luke is lying, letting a lie through his double row of teeth. His man told the President achamboperekedza vana vakachata. Now which is which? Could he be on honeymoon himself, after a lightning engagement a fortnight ago? Is that his marital sequence? Can Luke enlighten us?
Or using Luke’s simple logic that equates going out of the country to the search for medical help, could our man be ill, seeking urgent treatment? And the surreptitious trip to TB Joshua a few moons ago? What was it in aid of? The waters he brought back, waters which got pilfered, subsequently to be replaced by fake raw sewage water from Mukuvisi, still touted as blest, as therapeutic? As I said bolder days lie ahead and the proverbial bright-spotted, vain cheetah, so notorious for wanting to drag and soil other animals in mud, should never plead its bright, beautiful spots when its turn for a drag arrives. Let us make a date.
The one General Chedondo
Courage? Well, ZDF Chief of Staff, Major General Martin Chedondo’s very short address to 3 000 soldiers from 2 Brigade training in Mutoko, has got MDC-T in complete fright. The General has thoroughly fluttered the dovecoat. MDC-T is in utter confusion too, if one measured them by their disjointed response.
First to react was young Chamisa. He grew up in Manyame Airbase and is thus under no illusions about what generals are capable of. I will not refer to a high adrenaline encounter he had a few years back with the same, at a State function, an encounter that dramatically renewed and updated his understanding of these men in army fatigues, once they decide to swing into action.
In his reaction, Chamisa kept firmly on the path of cajolery, the safest under the circumstances, the shrewdest by his personal experiences which he will never want repeated. There will be no retribution, opined the frightened Chamisa, apparently more assuring himself than the addressees and audience he does not have, he never will have. He discounted any retribution on men in uniform, a placatory promise predicated on a never-never MDC-T power grab. When that will be, young Chamisa will never say, except to wear an obligatory optimism he must flaunt as the party’s organising secretary.
So this was a bit of a personal monologue by a little boy seeking to reassure himself against what he mortally fears. Sleep, sleep baby mine! So went some little lullaby Rhodesian books taught us to sing under colonial education.
When a mere major pecks on a general
Next to speak was Mutseyekwa who stands for MDC security, whatever that means. With him, the tact changes to one of impotent bellicosity and sheer subterfuge. He suggested division between the command and the army rank and file. He also impugns General Chedondo, suggesting the General is poorly trained. Ordinary soldiers from Mutoko were phoning him, he claimed to utter self-disbelief, phoning him to assure him they did not share in the General’s views! So what is the furore about, the heavy editorials which the MDC-T has been inspiring on the same matter?
But there is a more humorous turn to Mutseyekwa’s outburst on Chedondo, and his deriding his level of training. Mutseyekwa was a mere major in the Rhodesian army. He dares talk about the qualifications of generalship he would never have attained, whether under Rhodesia and in integrated Zimbabwe. What does he know about what goes towards making a good general, he who cannot even remember that Walls, his own general in the Rhodesian days, made bellicose political statements in defence of the RF.
Still Mutseyekwa served Rhodesia loyally, diligently like a well-cooked Askari, against his own interest as a Blackman, indeed against the interests of his own race and people. Was he speaking from a residual Rhodesian standpoint, speaking so stridently to prove to Bennett — his senior in the Rhodesian army — that he has not been Zanunised? Askaris always live in the dilemma of seeking ingratiation.
Which reminds of humorous moments during his short tenure as Home Affairs Minister in the inclusive Government. Legend has it that when he came for his maiden security briefing chaired by the President, one of the generals forced him to salute, as does a well trained soldier who is mindful of rank and place. He trimmed up and obliged, we are told! I hope he will not be summoned for this one! Aa-ah tight!
Unhinging the MDC-T
Something in the MDC-T is unhinged, and you see it in their desperate propaganda claims. Take the issue of Tracy Mutinhiri, the former Zanu-PF Deputy Secretary for the Commissariat in the Women’s League, who was expelled from the party way back last year. A few days ago, we woke up to screaming headlines proclaiming Tracy’s “defection”, Tracy’s “crossing the floor”.
My goodness! Poor English or propaganda desperation? How does a person who was expelled from a party ever defect from the same party that expelled her? Or cross the floor, itself a legal fiction by way of our electoral laws here?
But someone in the MDC-T had the brains to pick up the absurdity. Soon after the propaganda horse had “been” bolted through sheer unthinking recklessness habitual to some short man in their propaganda camp, Chamisa had to weigh in, hoping to stitch up the damage. No, he corrected, Tracy had in fact joined the MDC-T soon after her expulsion from Zanu-PF. Still that was not correct, strictly. She had joined the MDC-T well before, which is what triggered her expulsion from the revolutionary party in the first place.
Or a related propaganda story on gay rights, the constitution and Aippa. How many of us noticed that this was a Timba recycle? Running the same stupid propaganda line but hoping for ever more wonderful results. Kikikikikikikkkiii!
By the way, did anyone see the jab on Tsvangirai from the opposition sibling, the MDC-N? That he is the son-in-law of Zanu-PF, in fact a Zanu-PF project? Hahahaha! Now that we found love what are we gonna do? With it?
Wrapping a pilgrimage in deceit
Then you have the TB Joshua saga. It has collapsed, has it not? Clumsily too! The initial strategy as to present TB Joshua as an itinerant bishop coming to Zimbabwe of his own spiritual accord. The strategy was to get Government to cleanse the visit, itself replete with political objectives.
But the MDC-T was outed and its first reflex was unthinking denial. The party stoutly denied TB Joshua was a guest of the Prime Minister, much as the world knew this whole matter had been handled by the Makones, the very same characters who had got Tsvangirai to see the prophet in his homeland of Nigeria. Today they forget they once denied TB Joshua was coming at the invitation of the MDC-T leader. When the Sunday Mail indicated TB Joshua would not be allowed in, they had no choice but to own up.
Well, if the visit was clean, was genuine, why wrap a holy man’s mission in deceitful claims? Why? Well, the bottom line is the authorities now know whose man TB Joshua is and I bet my last dollar, it is the Prime Minister, not the bishop, who shall pay a healing visit. And what a breathtaking lack of tact!
The bishop announces he is headed for a “troubled Southern African nation”. Zimbabwe? My foot. He should not tempt me to say undiplomatic things. Nigeria is a great African country. That does not make TB Joshua a great African bishop. About that we are very clear. After all, the Nigerian State stays clear of the man and his “holy” ways. Cameroon will none of him. Here at home, we shall see more of such hare-brained political initiatives as we move towards elections.
In the meantime, another headache is about to begin, the one to do with the draft constitution which looks set to be rejected, rejected in toto.
Upping national defences
The EU and their illegal sanctions, well, that is their problem which until recently has been our problem too, what with our supine response to those sanctions. Not any more. There are several irons in the fire, all of them red hot. We have tongs for cherry picking the hottest and our moment appears to have come.
Given our coveted resources, given the historically entrenched Western interests in our country, Zimbabwe’s interaction with the West shall continue to be shaped by adversarial factors. We want to assert our sovereignty; Europe wants to neo-colonise us. The beauty about the phase we are about to enter into, that of a long drawn out altercation with Europe is that it builds a certain national capacity that allows us to enforce our rights globally, enforce them against competing claims from the master race. We need that capacity, we need it badly as we move into the future.
I notice the EU relented once it became clear our sanctioned section of the media was about to launch a legal challenge to that unilateral constraint. The same way the EU relented when Guy Georgias, our Deputy Minister, took them on. No self-respecting nation survives on whimsical goodwill of the powerful. Real nations enforce their interests, defend them vigorously, including through confrontation. Any settlement with Europe at this juncture blunts conditions for the growth of Zimbabwe’s tools for self-defence, denies it a whetstone for sharpening its tools, its defences. After all we had hit the bottom and thus could not fall anymore.
Only our fingers for a spoon
But it looks like Europe is set for some rapprochement. What I refuse flatly to accept is any invitation for us to be grateful for any settlement. That amounts to showing gratitude for the repair of an injury we unjustly suffered, an injury we never consented to. The sanctions remain unjust, illegal and spiteful. They were never deserved, they will never be deserved. Those that invited them remain evil characters of treachery, shall remain so always, including on pages of history which condemn them. That they have been part of the negotiations for their removal should never salve their consciences, if any conscience they have.
The tragedy for this county would be for us, in the event of removal of sanctions, to rush headlong for more enthralling relations with Europe, such as we cultivated after Independence, all in the foolish hope of endless, all-time goodwill. History warns us against any hopes or illusions for a gainful relationship with that continent. Our experiences with Europe in history have been devilish. So why feed the devil when you have only your fingers for a spoon?
One white judge, one white law.
Judge Hans Fabricius of the North Gauteng High Court thinks the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) and its dutiful pretext, Gabriel Shumba’s Zimbabwean Exiles Forum, should be granted their wish to force the South African government to investigate allegations of so-called atrocities committed in the run-up to the 2007/8 elections in Zimbabwe.
For the sake of you, dear reader, the SALC is exactly the same creature which took up the case of Rhodesian farmers ejected from our land, to the Sadc Tribunal in Namibia.
It is a legal arm for the enforcement and protection of white rights in post-colonial, post-apartheid Southern Africa. It is transnational in scope and agenda, itself an indication that white interests remain not just virile but in greater subregional solidarity as they seek to perpetuate their hold in the region.
Mistakenly thinking they were a bona fide human rights group for the enforcement of colour-free rights, we entertained them as a region, until they started threatening all Sadc states. Only then did Sadc take a firm position in Windhoek, but even then after stupendous damage had been done. Now that same centre has upped the ante and is challenging Sadc at the continental AU level, hoping the AU, itself Africa’s instrument for decolonisation, can paradoxically sanctify the return to the same evil epoch.
All white on the rainbow
Let us put things in context. To gain locus standi, the SALC needed some grouping of black bodies, however threadbare, however flimsy. It got that in the dutiful Zimbabwean Exiles Forum. It needed white prosecutors in South Africa’s multiracial legal system, much of it still stalked by the bane of a long apartheid. It got that by way of one Advocate Ackerman of South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority who through his own conscientious resignation, did much to damage and weaken the South African government case. It needed top notch white advocates to take up its case, and got that by way of the highly paid team of international lawyers who included Wim Trengove SC, Gilbert Marcus SC and University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Max du Plessis. Christopher Carl Gevers from the same university advised on international aspects of the case. It needed a white judge and hey, those come in industrial quantities in post-apartheid South Africa. With all those factors in place, the stage was firmly set for a predetermined outcome such as we had in the end.
The political-economy of the judgment
I have no time for the details of the case which the gentle reader can easily get on SALC website. I am fascinated by the political economy of the case, of the judgment, and what all that portends for southern Africa. One of the dire implications of this whole case I have already alluded to, but without explicitly giving you the full import.
Dislodged or threatened white rights are on the rebound and southern Africa’s black states are being phlegmatic in response. These white rights are operating transnationally, and are busy building legal precedents for battles ahead, while taking care of challenges on hand. And Zimbabwe is that challenge on hand. With the political template for nipping Zimbabwe’s viral affirmative politics having collapsed, a new, juridical phase has now kicked in. And the body of law in use is international law, with the real challenge being how to dock this law in the domestic laws of the region.
That is the foremost significance of the SALC case. It is richly jurisprudential and judge Fabricius has his eye on timeless fame, on a lofty status for white posterity. The case seeks domestic legal grounding for the enforcement of an international statute, something enabled by the fact that South Africa ratified the ICC protocols. It seeks to overcome limitations arising from Zimbabwe’s non-ratification of the same protocols by making them binding on Zimbabwe indirectly via a third country, in this case South Africa.
Trans-race legal givenness
And when both points are taken together, the case is the first serious white attempt at directing affairs of two States which used to protect white interests under white settler rule, under apartheid, using one instrument. You run arms of those lost States through legal compulsions cooked outside of State structures, that is the hope. That way you compel through the courts the same protection and enforcement of white interests in post-colonial black times. Or where this fails, strain inter-state relations between black governments enough to weaken liberation-time solidarity, indeed to create enough troubled waters in which white interests can fish and flourish with ease.
It is quite interesting that while SALC was notching victory in South Africa, Rhodesia’s white commentators here were telling the media that white mining interests here are playing a waiting game hoping a new government will emerge in post-electoral Zimbabwe, a government which, hopefully, will be less committed to indigenisation.
So there is a real risk that shots for post-settler, post-apartheid inter-state agenda in Southern Africa shall be called from white courts, using both Namibia and South Africa as springboards, using our so-called human rights as pretexts.
The real white interest is not the Rome Statutes, important though these are to establishing precedent. The real interest of white Southern Africa are those multilateral agreements protecting commercial property and interests, but which for obvious reasons of race, may be impolitic to pursue in the present regional climate. So why not set the stage through groundwork litigation that appears to show across-race legal givenness?
Otherwise the judgment itself is of no consequence at all. The court, the judge, the judgment are South African, are in South Africa. They remain there, unable to cross the Limpopo to reach this sovereign country where the super white man finds no special plinth. I notice South Africa is quite aware of what is cooking, and is set to challenge that judgment. It should, and one wishes them every success in that endeavour. But they should not lose the larger picture. Far more threatening to the black South African state is this show of undiminished white legal power in post-apartheid South Africa.
The Ackerman resignation has clearly indicated white prosecutors will always desert post, leaving the State in the lurch. We had lots of that just after independence. Equally, the Fabricius judgment, as with many other judgments which include that of the Rhodesian Hilary Squire, clearly show that white judges pursue white law to safeguard white interests. This white-to-white-to white continuum will continue to shape post-apartheid South Africa the way it did Zimbabwe until 2000, when Zimbabwe finally collected enough guts to tackle the white Bench.
I was much more than a spectator when the Zanu-PF government finally woke up to that urgent need. South Africa will have to decide on its own that it has slept enough, been hurt enough, to begin to take decisions. That is a sovereignty question and we have no business intruding on that matter. But it is our responsibility as Zimbabwe to make sure that when that reverse wind of change blows in our direction, we are well defended.