Jonathan Moyo, in his article Zanu PF: An Introspection (Sunday Mail, August 7 2011) identified “at least seven current and critical national questions” which have brought his party to the state it finds itself.
But a closer look of the article shows that it is a great critique of the Zanu PF leadership beginning right at the top. Instead of using his usual acerbic language to argue his case and naming President Robert Mugabe as solely responsible for the rot, he chose to use sophistry in its philosophical sense where it is defined as a method of argument that is seemingly plausible though actually invalid and misleading.
Moyo says “some comrades in the nationalist movement in general and in Zanu PF in particular seem to be afraid of change?” When he uses words such as “some comrades” and “seem to be”, he is misleading us into believing that generally Zanu PF is not afraid of change; which is not the case.
What he should have done is to tell us who these comrades who are afraid of change are? That would have been unnecessary because we know. Unfortunately the finger points to the top and that is where Moyo is pointing too.
In March last year when President Mugabe met senior journalists in a rare encounter with both public and private media houses, he reiterated that he was not going anywhere.
Asked by the Zimbabwe Independent political editor Faith Zaba at Zimbabwe House if he was going to retire soon, Mugabe made it clear that he was not going anywhere.
“May the lord give me many more days,” he said.
When she pressed him to say if he was going to seek re-election, Mugabe, pointing a finger at her, asked: “Do you want me to go? I am asking you, if you want me to go? Ask Zanu PF. I am a son of Zanu PF.”
She pressed further for a direct response to the question and Mugabe said: “If Zanu PF says so, yes, I will go … It depends on Zanu PF.”
In Mutare last December the Zanu PF congress didn’t say so, so the old man stayed put. The decision seemed unanimous.
So, instead of being specious and excessively subtle Moyo must just tell us he is referring to the president as one of those afraid of change.
What about the so-called generals; what have they said about change? They have said they would never salute anyone who has no liberations war credentials. This suggests that they too do not desire change? Moyo’s so-called Generation 40 does not fit in their thinking.
Was Moyo referring to them too as some of the comrades afraid of change? Why didn’t he say so? But Moyo himself has thrown his weight behind the generals in refusing security sector reform.
On the timing of elections Moyo seems to contradict himself. He says the question of when elections should be held is not about this Sadc roadmap thing but about timing the elections in such as way that it would not be practical or reasonable to field Mugabe as Zanu PF candidate. So he wants elections now because by 2013 Mugabe would be too old, or too sick to lead the party; he will be 89. The contradiction in this is that Moyo professes to want change in the party but wants Mugabe, who is 87, to continue.
Another contradiction is that even if Mugabe is elected now, in two years’ time, according to Moyo, it would be unreasonable and impractical for him to continue running the country in the same way it will be unreasonable and impractical for him to run in an election then. So, why elect now someone we would have to replace in a year or two? For all intents and purposes Moyo is saying Mugabe must go now?
Moyo wants what he calls Generation 40 — these are beneficiaries of the huge investment in education since independence in 1980 — “to take charge of the national indigenisation and empowerment thrust as an expression of the legacy of our heroic liberation struggle”. What he is saying is that Zanu PF is too steeped in the history of the liberation struggle to transform itself. Most Zimbabwean saw this in late 1990s culminating in the formation of the Movement for Democratic Change in 1999. It can be argued that the then opposition party was formed by the generation that Moyo is talking about. But see how Zanu PF, in the past decade, has responded to the emergence of this generation. The suppression of this generation has come from the top Zanu PF hierarchy, not from the rank and file and Moyo knows this.
Moyo again asks why “some important comrades in the nationalist movement are afraid of denouncing corruption when all indications are that this has become a cancer that threatens the gains of the liberation struggle”. Look at the clever use of the expression “some important comrades”. Of course he is referring to Mugabe himself who has never condemned corruption even when it has been unearthed for all to see. He has not commented, for example, on the land-grab in Harare, although it is all properly documented.
On violence Moyo has resorted to clear untruths. He says “some comrades” have allowed a situation where Zanu PF, “has come to be associated with political violence and has, by definition, been made a perpetrator thereof by merchants of violence in the MDC formations and their founders and funders”.
But who has been heard often boasting of degrees in violence? Is this therefore another direct attack on Mugabe?
But Moyo’s genius comes with the very last question: “Why is it that some comrades in the nationalist movement appear to believe that our leadership cannot make mistakes and that in that vein, our leadership must not be criticised?”
By virtue of having been at the country’s helm since 1980, it is basic logic that all mistakes made by his government are attributed to the leader himself.
Fair conclusion, isn’t it? Moyo has tried, in vain, to veil his attack on Mugabe. So, are we seeing another classical Moyo transformation?