Thursday, November 29, 2012

(HERALD ZW) The ‘We are so good’ rhetoric

The ‘We are so good’ rhetoric
Wednesday, 28 November 2012 21:34
Reason Wafawarova

Zimbabweans are heading for elections in March 2013 and this is the time when politicians cry out the “we are so good” message with so much conviction that makes it fashionable for all others to believe the rhetorical utterances from the self-anointed custodians of our opinions — the loud mouths that hail from the powerful political community.

The fundamental principle that runs political parties is “we are so good,” — “we” being the political elites that occupy leadership positions in the political arena. This of course is based on the totalitarian principle that conveniently asserts that political parties and the people are one — more for the need to lure votes from the public and less for the need to pursue the real needs and wants of the people. No known state on this planet has been spared this deception.

Ordinarily it must be apparent that matters have reached a pretty bad patch when informed commentators are compelled to conclude that democracy in Zimbabwe must rely on a person like Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC-T party.

Democracy within the MDC was tragically and single-handedly failed by Morgan Tsvangirai in October 2005 when the man unilaterally overturned a popular vote in favour of contesting pending senatorial elections — of course leading to the splitting of the party into two factions initially, and to at least four such factions as things stand right now.

In September 2009, Morgan Tsvangirai simply overruled his party’s constitution and decided to stay beyond the 10-year limit as the party’s leader. Nelson Chamisa was instructed to tell all those who dared to question that the counting of Tsvangirai’s term limits was to begin in 2006, since the first five years had been “nullified” by the 2005 split. The supposedly perfect logic in Chamisa’s announcement was that Tsvangirai was now leading a new political party.

Those in the MDC-T who questioned the sense behind this explanation were roundly dismissed as Zanu-PF implants or infiltrators from the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation. These two labels are extensively used to control dissent within the MDC-T, as they are also used to explain away scandals and blunders, including the perpetual sex scandals.

In 2007 Morgan Tsvangirai used Thokozani Khupe to usurp the people’s will as she unilaterally imposed Theresa Makone as the chairperson of the MDC-T’s Women’s Assembly ahead of the people’s choice Lucia Matibenga. Violence and intimidation was extensively used to buttress the unpopular decree.

In 2008 Morgan Tsvangirai imposed at least 10 parliamentary and senatorial candidates for the pending election and the Midlands province was worst affected — leading to the late Patrick Kombayi leading a group of disgruntled renegades who proceeded to contest as independents. Resultantly the vote was split in favour of bitter rivals Zanu-PF, who were no less guilty themselves.

Of course Zanu-PF suffered the same fate in Manicaland and other areas where the party resolutely stuck to its notorious tradition of imposing candidates on the electorate — giving away close to a dozen seats to the MDC-T in the process and taking absolutely no blame for it. It was all blamed on the independents whom we were told had failed to put the interests of the party ahead of their own.
Now the MDC-T has crafted a way of retaining seating MPs as candidates for the March 2013 elections, and the party leader has so far predictably shown endorsing reticence.

Douglas Mwonzora explains that the seating MDC-T MPs will all participate in a one candidate contest each against him or herself — with a handful of colleagues in the party’s leadership structures having to confirm their political worthiness; literally against no one in contest. Once confirmed this way the seating MP will have the green light to represent the party in the 2013 elections. Cool bananas for everyone!

Only those stupid enough to fail to win against themselves will be send to meet the wrath of the grass root masses — who of course are waiting behind their popular new candidates, ready to punish the lazy and thieving lot that sordidly betrayed their trust in the last five years.

The Mwonzora-Chamisa confirmation venture is an exercise in gruesome mischief — only designed to sideline the masses and their popular candidates, and of course to protect the seating MPs against the wrath of the voters. There is simply no other plausible cause why the primary vote should be evaded or avoided.

Zanu-PF has simply labelled those who pose a political threat to its incumbent cadres “infiltrators” and the party has indicated that only those defined as cadres by the party leadership will be allowed to be popular with Zanu-PF supporters at grass roots levels. Going ahead to be popular with the constituencies without the nod of sitting leaders is an unacceptable mischief and such mischief will not be tolerated.

In other words one has to be popular first with those they seek to displace in the political structures of Zanu-PF before being popular with the masses themselves — and of course this is supposed to make perfect logic — unless someone has no idea on how gwara remusangano works.

The rhetoric leading to elections always dramatises the operative principle that says “we are so good,” and on an immediate practical level it ratchets up the peril of lies and deception in politics — the torturous trait of propaganda.

The manifesto of the MDC-T in particular carries an appreciable risk of ultimate doom. In Senator Obert Gutu’s words the party’s MPs and councillors are “a bunch of clowns,” and author Miles Tendi asserts the party “has a culture of mediocrity.” The party leader himself is technically so crippled that he needs “massive handholding,” according to American diplomat Christopher Dell.

Morgan Tsvangirai makes more news with his zipper and women than he does with policy matters and he has the temerity to brag about it all — of course on the basis that he only equals some of his political rivals in Zanu-PF when it comes to immorality. Regardless of whatever moral shortcomings Tsvangirai clearly commands, his party arrogantly prides in the indecency that allows its spokespersons to continually brand their corrupt entity the “party of excellency.”

Critics of the MDC-T have aptly labelled the outfit a “party of sexcellency,” and that is probably quite apt — given the graphic detail in the public domain over the sexual shenanigans of the party’s leader, described by Zanu-PF’s Jonathan Moyo as “a man with an open zip and shut mind” character.

The MDC-T run councils have in a short three years elevated public office-pilfering to levels of culture. These are the kind of people who sit and vote in favour of the idea that the need for luxury cars is more life threatening than flowing sewage in the streets of Harare and Bulawayo.

We are so good they tell us, so good that people must appreciate the need for all of us to lead by the excellent example of driving around in the most expensive of cars. That seems to be the logic in Zimbabwe’s political arena across the divide, and there is no trace of remorse whatsoever.

Didn’t our parliamentarians recently make decent claims for golden exit packages “in case this is our last time in Parliament,” and was that not meant to make perfect sense to our generality? Politics has become a vehicle of enrichment and our own politicians have popularised and normalised this tragedy.

Is it a wonder that the African political community makes up the biggest market for Mercedes Benz? We have a political tradition that says we are so good that we deserve the best and our people must adjust to the aspirations of their political leadership — including their insatiable appetite for wealth. After all luxury is not the opposite of poverty, only of vulgarity. So we are told. Even our own church pastors have religiously and zealously embraced this gluttonous trait.

The people of Zimbabwe must by definition appreciate that those among us who fought to bring us freedom and independence are so good that pointing out their shortcomings can only be tantamount to egregious sinning. This is precisely why some of our political leaders find it highly effective to wield before our sorry eyes war credentials each time they feel they are running out of sound political ideas, or they have been caught out doing unacceptable things.

Matters cannot be allowed to come to such a dire situation that we have to solely rely on the glory of our past to make a political impact in domestic politics. That we make quisling parties like the MDC-T appear noble intended.

This is why Zanu-PF has to expand its scope and strength on the basis of empowering beneficiaries of the land reform program and also empowering indigenous entrepreneurs through the policy of majority shareholding for locals in all major business enterprises, locals being a reference here to our grassroot people, not to some political elites enjoying the wealth of our country on our collective behalf.

Our liberation history must be the inspiration behind our resolve to defeat unsparingly the wreck of imperialism. It must not be a source of elitism on the part of those who sacrificed their lives for our collective emancipation and freedom.

That only defeats the heroism behind the liberation legacy and those who seek elitist recognition on the basis of having fought for national independence are worse traitors than the puppet politicians that receive instructions from Western capitals. A people’s solidarity cannot be blackmailed.

While the explicit critique of the state of the MDC-T in relation to the threat to the survival of democracy within the party is very harsh and bitter, it must be noted that the implicit critique of the Zanu-PF leadership in regards to the legacy of the country’s revolution is equally harsh and bitter, if not a lot more dire.

When disregard for moral values becomes a point of pride for those in support of our Prime Minister’s shortcomings we must be reminded that the species we call integrity is now threatened with extinction.

When our political leadership openly regards political office as a means to gather illicit wealth we must stand reminded that the species we call democracy has been decimated — never mind how many international observers declare our elections free and fair — something the MDC formations notoriously believe defines democracy.

We cannot allow our politicians the luxury of fooling our populace with this good for nothing “we are so good” rhetoric; whose only justification is the badness of political opponents from the other side of the divide, as if that in itself creates goodness on the other side.

There is no such thing as a lesser evil in politics or in the generality of life. Evil is evil, nothing more, and nothing less — and so is good; it is just that, good.

We Zimbabweans must vote wisely in 2013 and as it stands the only wise thing worthy voting for is the democracy that will allow us to fully control our wealth and our natural resources — in reality the only true meaning of democracy; not this vacuous numerical democracy measured by measly elections structured to ratify the wishes of political elites or those of their wealthy foreign backers.

Elections whether free and fair or not, in a country whose people have no control of their own means of production are a mere ratification of egregious exploitation. As such elections of this nature must be discredited and abandoned.

The two most outstanding democratic achievements ever achieved in Zimbabwe’s 32-year history are the land reclamation exercise and the economic empowerment policy.

On these two we can build a truly democratic society in full control of its destiny and posterity will forever cherish the legacy of those that have spearheaded these policies — particularly President Mugabe, a man also renowned for his early ’80s highly successful mass education policy.
Zimbabwe we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!

Reason Wafawarova is a political writer based in SYDNEY, Australia.

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