via Remember the totemless ones ? | The Zimbabwean by Tawanda Majoni
I have unpacked four possible reasons why President Robert Mugabe disowned Harare and Bulawayo for overwhelmingly voting MDC-T.
Mugabe appears convinced that threats and scorn can work wonders to sway the electorate towards him. The Old Man, in all his Zanunised wisdom, has drawn inspiration from what he said more than a decade ago, when he referred to the hapless Mbare citizenry as totemless. Despite that disparaging reference, the people of Mbare allegedly voted for Mugabe’s candidate, Hubert Nyanhongo, and for him – meaning that the message had sunk in very well.
I am amused by the fact that Zanu (PF) purportedly won in the July 31 polls when a new constitution had restored the right of migrant citizens to vote.
They must, surely, have learnt the good lesson that you don’t vote against Zanu (PF) as they had done in 2000, 2002 and 2008 -and get away with it just like that. Remember, these so-called totemless people, whose origins are in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, etc, spent over 10 years wandering in No Man’s Land because their citizenship had been withdrawn. Therefore, Mugabe must be hoping that the generality of the electorate in Bulawayo and Harare will bear in mind what happened to the totemless ones, and desist from voting for MDC-T in the future.
Second, Mugabe could just have tried to divert our attention, and seems to have scored a landslide victory in that regard. Telling the Harare and Bulawayo metropolitan electorates to go and seek salvation at Harvest House, instead of from the looming Zanu (PF) government, must have been strategically designed to send us barking up the wrong tree. Here is how:
There has been a ringing chorus that the polls were rigged. By openly disowning Harare and Bulawayo, Mugabe could thus have wanted to create the impression that he genuinely knows or believes that the polls were properly conducted, and thus fair. Demonstrably, many people, including an amazing number in MDC-T who should reason better, took that path, as evidenced by the fact that they became busy lambasting him for making that statement against the two metropols.
Attention effectively shifted from whether or not the polls were rigged to the crudeness of the President, Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces and Head of the Judiciary, Parliament and Cabinet disowning his own people. What people have failed to see is that, by reacting to his remarks, they are actually legitimising the polls.
Instead of crying foul over the purported exclusion of Harare and Bulawayo from national governance, critics must have questioned why Mugabe thought it was only Harare and Bulawayo, and not Masvingo, Mat South and North, Manicaland or Midlands that had voted for him and his party, considering all the talk of massive rigging.
Third, Mugabe spoke under the captivity of the military. This makes sound sense when you consider the context in which the burial at which he made the comments was taking place. Karakadzai was a former (if ever there is anything like that in Zimbabwe) top military man whom Mugabe, on his own admission during the same occasion, had head-hunted to strangle the National Railways of Zimbabwe. The military obviously played an active role in shaping Mugabe’s tone and I wouldn’t be surprised if his speech actually came from Defence House. In a clear departure from the magnanimity he had just shown at his own inauguration, the hard core in the Old Man manifested itself during Karakadzai’s burial, and the hard core is a military factor.
Last, Mugabe’s ill-advised broadside at MDC-T voters possibly betrays his hurt ego. I still believe he wanted to take Morgan Tsvangirai and others from MDC-T on board in the new government. Tsvangirai snubbed his overtures and that drove him mad. I noticed that, all through the post-election period until the Karakadzai burial, Mugabe hardly spoke ill of MDC-T. Talk of roping in a group from MDC-T was gathering increasing currency. Mugabe only changed his tune and came out with all guns blazing when he realised he could not use MDC-T as lipstick on his impending cabinet.
This becomes clearer when you consider that at Saturday’s burial of Kumbirai Kangai, Mugabe took his verbal arsenal to a new frontier, daring MDC-T to bury its “minnows” at all the anthills dotted around the country. He is angry and we will not see him let up on MDC-T any time soon.
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