President Robert Mugabe recently accused some senior members in his Zanu PF party of fanning division within the party using the public media.
Sunday Opinion with Pius Wakatama
He went on to describe these people as “weevils” and “devil incarnates”.
This vitriol was viewed as directed to Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo who among other things was criticised for appointing some editors at the state media on the basis of their previous employment or their perceived political affiliation.
Moyo was also accused of having infiltrated the party and the government to bring about “regime change.”
From this, one would think that to even wish for regime change is some kind of sin or treason when, in actual fact, regime change is part of the democratic process. If this is not so, then Zimbabwe should ban elections because they might bring about this evil of regime change.
Whatever his past undemocratic antics and pronouncements were, Moyo has recently been making most welcome democratic moves and noises. Zimbabweans are not interested in his past sins, especially those against Zanu PF. They are a forgiving people who accept that one can be “born again”.
In the first place, what did the professor do to earn the wrath of the President? As reported in the press, he exposed gross corruption in government, which was known to those in power but was silently being swept under the carpet. The reason being that, many of those in power were complicit. He then went on to sack those implicated in corruption and to appoint some who were not members of the ruling party.
To make matters worse, some of them had dared to criticise the party in some of their contributions to the independent press. This was a cardinal sin because according to the present regime, only those loyal to the ruling party should get government jobs. Even food, donated by the merciful to the government for the hungry Zimbabweans, is distributed only to those who are members of Zanu PF.
No wonder people now flock to Zanu PF rallies in such large numbers; they have to show allegiance in order to survive. According to the widely accepted notion of modern, educated and civilised people, democracy is, “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” This is very different from the Zanu PF way of looking at things.
Their notion is that, “government is of the party, by the party, and for the party,” That party, of course being the one in power, being especially the party chefs. Unfortunately, some of our ignorant and unsophisticated politicians have been duped by these chefs to believe that in a democracy, the ruling party and the government are one and the same thing.
Another sin, that Moyo committed was creating the Information and Media Panel (Impi) mandated with examining professional standards and ethics in the media fraternity and the media environment in general. They were to go to the people to get their views on the media and then come up with new policy proposals and ideas on the way forward. The panel is chaired by Geoff Nyarota, an internationally respected journalist who also happens to be a critic of Zanu PF.
Explaining the work of the panel to the relevant Parliamentary Oversight Committee, Moyo said, “You would be surprised what the ordinary people there have by way of contribution in terms of policy making. We have taken that view and we are happy with it.”
This is an excellent government panel, appointed by a government minister and paid by the government, out of the people’s pockets.
One would, therefore, expect every loyal Zimbabwean in his right mind to go out of their way to see that it succeeded in its work of gathering the people’s views. No sir. Not in Zimbabwe. Their work is being undermined by members of the Zanu PF government who feel that this would undermine the party, which to them is the same as the government. To them this panel is a real imp (small devil), given life by Moyo, to destroy their “democracy, independence and sovereignty”, from the inside.
Moyo went on to make matters worse by roundly condemning the ZRP for cancelling and disrupting peaceful activities at a rally organised by the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) to mark World Press Freedom Day. In condemning this undemocratic police action, Moyo said, “It should be said that the use or show of force does not inherently, or by itself, inspire any national confidence.
And with the advent of the new constitution which came into full effect upon the inauguration of His Excellency President Robert Mugabe on 2 August 2013, freedom of the media in Zimbabwe is now a constitutional matter and nobody has the right or option to ignore this fundamental reality of our national jurisprudence.” Of course, all democrats could only shout, “Kuzva!”
After the President’s fiery diatribe against Moyo, most, if not all, Zimbabweans concluded that the Professor had met his nemesis and his political career was finished. They mourned the silencing of the only reasonable voice in Zanu PF. Many even feared for his life. We, therefore, couldn’t believe our eyes when he came out of a meeting with the President, smiling. His status in the party has not changed and he continues to be a minister of the government. What magical concoction did he give the President to drink?
Moyo must have told President Mugabe the truth, which is that Zimbabwe can only avoid disaster by following the new constitution to the letter.
There is no other way.
Mugabe wants to exit this world as the hero that he believes he is. Deep down, he must envy the legacy which Nelson Mandela left behind him. He is embarrassed by the monster he created and confused because he is now afraid of it.
In Moyo, he saw a glimmer of hope. Indeed, the future of Zimbabwe lies in the hands of weevils from within Zanu PF who see reality and are willing to bravely preach about the sanctity of the constitution and act to see that it is implemented.
The situation in Zimbabwe is dire indeed. Right now minister of Finance, Patrick Chinamasa is leading yet another delegation to China with begging bowls.
They will get nothing unless they allow the Chinese to colonise us by selling them our very soil. The European Union may praise us for “making progress towards democracy” but this will not result in direct foreign investment to uplift our doomed economy.
Investment does not come from governments but from shrewd private businessmen and women who can only trust democratic market environments. The Zimbabwean environment can only be changed from within Zanu PF because there is no time to wait for possible regime change through elections.
Things are falling apart now. In South Africa it took the courage and realism of former apartheid strongman and last apartheid-era president, Frederik Willem de Klerk, to change the situation. In the Soviet Union, it was president Mikhail Gorbachev’s foreign affairs minister Eduard Shevardnadze who led the way in changing the system.
Zimbabweans are waiting for such brave patriots from within Zanu PF, to come to their rescue.
There are many decent politicians in Zanu PF who clearly see that their party has gone astray. When you talk to them in private they express sorrow at what has happened to the idealistic dreams and aspirations of the old nationalist freedom fighters.
However, they will not dare to speak publicly about how their party is destroying the country. Some are afraid of the violence which might be visited upon them as “sell-outs”. Their fears are not unfounded.
Recently Didymus Mutasa threatened to eliminate such “weevils” with lethal Gamatox.
Others are afraid of losing whatever material things they acquired through Zanu PF. Yet, others are ashamed of confessing their previous complicity in what was inhumane and so take the right course. The battle in Zimbabwe is no longer political competition between philosophies, policies and individuals. It is a battle to the death between good and evil.