Most of my Zanu PF friends (of whom I still have a few, believe it or not) often remonstrate with me and accuse me of being biased against their party.
Sunday Opinion with Pious Wakatama
“You never have anything good to say about us or the President,” they say. They are not happy, especially because I refuse to credit Zanu PF or President Robert Mugabe for winning us our cherished independence. I believe, and rightly so, that all Zimbabweans participated in the liberation struggle and not any one party or individual can claim credit.
Today, my friends can finally rejoice. I have one, no, actually two, good things to say about our President. The first is about what happened to me soon after our independence.
I had arrived at a hotel in Nairobi for a meeting ahead of my colleagues. Feeling rather lonely, I went outside where there was a bar and a lively braai. I was hot and thirsty and so I ordered a drink. A rather tipsy chap next to me started to talk to me in Kiswahili. I politely told him that I did not understand his language and that I was from Zimbabwe.
“Congratulations on your independence!,” he beamed heartily. Before I could thank him he asked, “What tribe are you?” “I am Shona,” I humbly answered. He immediately turned to all those around and shouted, “Ladies and gentlemen, our friend here is from Zimbabwe and he is Shona, Mungabe’s tribe!” Everybody came, shook my hand and congratulated me on our country’s independence. My new-found friend then asked me.
“Are you related to President Mungabe?’’ Since my grandmother’s mother was from the President’s Gushungo clan, in Shona, this makes him my uncle, so, I said, “He is my uncle.”
My friend then shouted to all and sundry, “My friend, Wakatama here, is Mungabe’s nephew!” All hell broke loose. Everybody wanted to shake my hand and I was almost lifted off my feet. They each introduced themselves and many wanted to know if I would introduce them to our famous President if they came to Zimbabwe.
Of course, I said, I would do my best. To tell the truth, I never felt so important and ate so much meat [nyama choma] in my life. I was really proud of the president and am still thankful to him for that wonderful day.
The other thing I thank the President for is that he now finally seems to be taking charge, though rather belatedly. In the past he has just been talking against corruption which is prevalent in Zanu PF, without doing anything against it.
At the 13th Annual Consultative Conference in 2012, he decried the fact that some of his ministers were using his name to demand bribes from foreign investors.
He threatened to dismiss all such ministers. That was the last we heard about the matter.
However, recently, he booted top army and party heavyweights out of the money-spinning safari landholdings in the Save Valley Conservancy, which they had clandestinely grabbed despite having been allocated farms taken from white commercial farmers.
Well-done, Gushungo! This should just be the beginning. You need to do much more to restore your rather tarnished image and to leave behind a legacy we will all be proud of.
One wonders, though, whether at his age, and the many ailments which come with old age, the president has the stamina to root out corruption in Zimbabwe since the rot in our government now smells to high heaven.
It is clear that Zanu PF, was taken over by powerful mafia types, some of whom are now entrenched in government power structures. What minister Jonathan Moyo revealed about “salarygate” is just the tip of the iceberg.
My patriotic friend, Eddie Cross actually uttered an understatement when he said, in one of his many articles, “Every ministry, every state enterprise is rotten to the core, packed with people appointed not for their capacity and ability, but for patronage purposes.”
Indeed, some corrupt individuals have been named, however they were never indicted for their crimes. The obvious conclusion is that those named are just small fry.
If the real culprits were to be arrested, the party’s central committee, the politburo and indeed the cabinet may be minus their quorums.
The tragedy is that corruption has now seeped deep into the very fabric of our society and has now become the norm. The rot now permeates all aspects of Zimbabwean life, including so-called churches led by crooks and charlatans calling themselves pastors, bishops and prophets.
One cannot obtain even the most rudimentary service from most government departments, including the police, without paying a bribe.
Our politicians have no other motivation except self-enrichment. Any good they might be seen to be doing is only for selfish publicity and propaganda purposes.
Typical is Phillip Chiyangwa who brazenly advised, “If you want to be rich, you must join Zanu PF.” It worked for him. At independence he was a poor nobody and today he is a multi-millionaire who flies around in his own aeroplane. Because of corruption and disastrous economic policies born out of greed and avarice, Zimbabwe is now on its knees economically.
The country has reached such a critical point that the masses are now living from hand to mouth. There are no words to adequately describe their suffering. In fact, the situation is now beyond our aged President Mugabe, much as he might like to put things right.
The best he can do now is to resign and cede power to a transitional arrangement, agreed upon through inclusive national dialogue, or to the Vice-President who would immediately call for fresh, free and fair elections. If the situation does not change, things will definitely fall apart.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.