BY MOSES MATENGA
THE King is dead … long live the King.
The scenes at the Zanu PF annual conference in Bindura have played out many times before.
A posse of party faithful pledges undying admiration and loyalty to the Dear Leader, extolling his wisdom and singing praises about his leadership, and telling him that he was the Alpha and Omega.
Such scenes have played out at every Zanu PF conference, and many of the old guard that stood before the late former President Robert Mugabe are now standing before the new sheriff and repeating the same prose of loyalty to him.
The more things change, the more they stay the same, it seems. Zanu PF has made an art of animated praise-singing, with party bigwigs basking in Mnangagwa’s glory and falling over each other to praise him and finding new superlatives to show their appreciation of his wise leadership.
Mugabe, even in his dotage, was apple-polished as “heaven-sent”, “David of our time”, and some even equated him to Jesus.
In Bindura last week, the same Mugabe praise-singers lined up to obsequiously do the same to Mnangagwa.
While introducing Mnangagwa at the conference on Thursday last week, ex-Vice-President Kembo Mohadi was the first to kick the bootlicking ball, describing Mnangagwa as a shrewd politician who earned the moniker Ngwena as a result of his master-class political exploits.
“The task you ask of me to introduce the President is a somewhat difficult one, given that he is an embodiment of our revolution. His CV is thus profound. Reliving the painful brutality he endured at the hands of the (Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian) Smith regime makes it somewhat more difficult,” Mohadi began his cry up.
“The growth and development of our guest of honour from a simple village boy from rural Zvishavane to an astute political giant strikes parallels with that of David from the Bible.
“David was neglected and cast in the background to receive training from the vagaries of the pastures. Similarly, the President was stalked by death several times during his political career.”
He went on to speak glowingly about Mnangagwa’s military exploits and training in China at the School of Ideology in Beijing.
“Our President is nicknamed Garwe or Ngwena, meaning the crocodile. Initially, this nickname was in reference to the guerrilla group led by our President when he was deployed at the front. Later, Ngwena has owed its meaning to President Mnangagwa’s political shrewdness,” Mohadi said.
Not to be outdone was Zanu PF national chairperson and Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, who weighed in, saying that in Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe had its only hope as he was a listening leader.
“You give us hope and zeal to soldier on as we see light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.
This was followed by Mashonaland Central provincial chairperson Kazembe Kazembe, who took time to express deep love for Mnangagwa.
“The people welcome you, but they gave me a special message. They said we love you too baba. We know you love us so that is why we love you too.”
Harare province was the first to shower Mnangagwa praises through songs as it rose to sing: “VaMnangagwa takavapiwa naIshe … (God gave us Mnangagwa).”
Manicaland province, which is in the throes of intra-party violence, came with another song, “ndimi mega baba, muri mukuru mukuru … (it’s only you father who is above all else).”
Mashonaland East province, the home province of Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, also weighed in with the song: “Tiriparwendo naMurambwi hapadiwi ndonda pakufamba …” a song plucked from the days of Mugabe where his Gushungo totem was used in showering him praises.
The “2023 five million votes ED Pfee” slogan took centre stage at the conference, while speaker after speaker also took time to sing praises of the First Lady, Auxillia Mnangagwa for her philanthropic work.
Mashonaland Central provincial affairs minister Monica Mavhunga said through Auxillia’s work and projects, Kanyemba had the potential to be the Dubai of Africa.