HomeOpinion & AnalysisZimbabwe cursed by the ‘Handiende’ syndrome

Zimbabwe cursed by the ‘Handiende’ syndrome

Recently, the popular and winning English soccer side Manchester United found itself losing one game after another.


This was unacceptable, especially to the fans. Without losing much time, those in charge got together to find out why they were losing and to re-strategise.

The result was the decision to fire David Moyes, the team manager.

Like the gentleman and sportsman that he is, Moyes accepted his sacking, thanked the fans and former colleagues and said goodbye. He did not try to save his job by appealing to the fans or by going to the courts. This is as it should be in the game of life.

During the game of soccer, as part of strategy, the coach recalls any player and substitutes him with another one. Sometimes the recalled one may be one who would have scored the most goals.

He, however, does not argue that he still wants to play but goes out and shakes hands with the substitute, while fans clap their hands. Such is the game of soccer and indeed as should be the game of life.

Strategising by changing players and giving room for others to perform is a sure recipe for success.

Today Zimbabwe is a failed state because this strategy of life was ignored. We are crippled by a “handiende” [I won’t go!] syndrome which has seen us being misruled by an old man who is now 90 years of age. For 34 years he has clung to power and war betides anyone who dares question his ability to continue even though the country is on its knees and people are suffering.

Not that the changing of the Zanu PF guard would change anything. In fact, it may bring about chaos since there is no succession plan laid out and daggers are being sharpened against the day of his natural demise. The question is not only about Robert Mugabe’s going, but about the oft quoted “regime change”. The ruling party, Zanu PF, has lost the game and has no capacity to ever win.

Typical of those in the Zanu PF team is the Minister of Finance, Patrick Chinamasa. After returning from trips to China, South Korea and the USA with an empty begging bowl, Chinamasa expressed his frustration. He admitted that the country was in a serious economic state but had no idea as to what had caused it.

Speaking in Bulawayo he said, “If I get an honest answer to that then I will be able to find a solution. …But to be honest, I am still grappling to understand what has caused the liquidity crisis in the country.”

Poor Chinamasa and his Zanu PF cohorts cannot see the trees because the weeds are too thick. It is beyond them to realise that we are in this economic mess because of their own ignorance, dishonesty, greed, corruption and incapability. If there was even just a shred of justice in this country, probably half of the Zanu PF ministers and members of parliament would be behind bars.

In 1999 people of Zimbabwe said, enough is enough. Labour, church leaders, civic society and ordinary citizens got together and organised the Movement for Democratic Change, which is now known as the MDC-T. The president of this new and dynamic political party was Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the labour movement.

The people of Zimbabwe saw the new political party as an answer to their prayers and the majority came out in support. Without violent intimidation and successive rigging by Zanu PF, the MDC would be the governing party in Zimbabwe, today.

In 2008 the economic deterioration and Zanu PF’s brutality became an embarrassment even to the permissive African Union and Sadc. They intervened and Sadc brought the two political parties together for talks.

When the so-called Government of National Unity came into being, some of us were sceptical. We wanted Tsvangirai to insist on another election supervised by Sadc and observed by the international community. We did not trust Zanu PF to hold its end of the bargain.

In fact, at a Christian Alliance meeting where Tsvangirai was giving a brief on the agreement, I said to him, “You have gone to bed with skunks. You are definitely going to come out smelling.”

The rot is what we are witnessing now. Zanuism is now part and parcel of the MDC. It did not take long for corruption to seep in and to sink deep into the leadership. Tsvangirai forgot his mandate from the suffering masses and joined the “eating” bandwagon. He forgot about the crucial agreed-to reforms and went into elections without them being implemented at all.

He also forgot to deal with the voters’ roll which Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe had described as being “in shambles” after he was appointed chairman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. No wonder, the man of justice immediately resigned.

Like Mugabe, Tsvangirai is now also singing the “handiende!” chorus with gusto. One does not need to study whether those who are asking him to go are doing it in the proper manner or not. Neither is there need to delve into the many other disastrous blunders which he made. Common sense dictates that he should now gracefully hand over the baton. He has done his best but the MDC now needs new leadership. It is not about whether people still like Tsvangirai or not.

Actually, he is the most likeable fellow. However, the fact that people like someone does not necessarily make him or her cleverer or less foolish.
He, who has ears to hear, let him hear.

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