Mujuru not putting people first, but . . .

A number of former Zanu PF members who were expelled from the party are teaming up to form their own political parties to “fight” President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF.

Source: Mujuru not putting people first, but . . . – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 4, 2016

Joice Mujuru, the president of Zimbabwe People First, and Acie Lumumba (Viva Zimbabwe) are among the most popular. Forming a political party is one’s democratic and constitutional right that is at the centre of the right to freedom of association. My opinion below is, therefore, not a legal analysis, but a critique of these ex-Zanu PF members from an ethical standpoint.

GUEST COLUMN THOMPSON CHENGETA

I am uncomfortable with these “born-again” politicians, I mean the self-baptised ones; the ones who suddenly saw the “Damascus light” when they got fired from Zanu PF and proclaimed: “I now see the light; I am no longer Saul, but Paul.” Mujuru, Didymus Mutasa and all the ex-Zanu PF politicians forming new political parties, if you may, please take the back seats. You cannot and should not be captains of the new ship that is heading for a new Zimbabwe. We “know what you did last summer”.

Good governance and political leadership is about principles; it is about selflessness, transparency, accountability and integrity. In politics, the conduct of politicians is not and should not be subject to the proverbial grace of God where we say “though your sins are red like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow”. In politics, accountability is very important. The majority of these ex-Zanu PF members have been part of the Zanu PF government since 1980 and are implicated in heinous crimes such as murders, unlawful disappearances, grand corruption, abuse of public office etc.

Before being kicked out of the Zanu PF government, they rarely or never spoke against the evils of the government.

To start doing so now shows that they are doing it for their selfish reasons; they don’t have any integrity and they do not want to account for their “sins” committed when they were still part of Zanu PF. For some of them, their actions were not even part of Zanu PF policy; they are their personal evil deeds to which they have individual responsibility.

In other democracies, it is customary that individuals have to account for their previous actions before occupying a political post. Of course, the electorate may sometimes overlook certain actions, but for others, you are completely disqualified. Recently, Hillary Clinton — a US presidential candidate — has been under fire for some of her actions from years back. Yet in Zimbabwean politics, whenever people ask about these politicians’ previous dealings with Zanu PF or ask them to account for certain actions, we often hear them say “don’t discuss the man, discuss his idea”. No. I may like the coffee, but I am not going to drink it from a dirty cup. Accountability and transparency demand that I discuss the man or the woman coming up with that idea. Yes, we can hear their ideas, but they should launch them from the back seats.

It is surprising how being a chronic liar seems not to matter in Zimbabwean politics or African politics at large.

In other parts of the world, lying to your constituency is a very serious thing; a number of presidential candidates have lost credibility whenever it has been shown that they are liars. In Zimbabwe, politicians blow hot and cold, approbate and reprobate and yet they still have “believers”.

This “Jonathan-Moyo-kind-of-politics” needs to stop. Yes, I mean the kind that is also followed by Psychology Maziwisa and Lumumba; politics where at one moment you are a sharp critic of Zanu PF and in the next moment you are a staunch supporter or vice-versa. Such political looseness! I am talking about those kinds of politicians whose only guiding motto is “I go where my bread is buttered”. As a politician, you are a public servant. It is not about where your bread is buttered, but about putting butter on the bread of the general public. Well, drop that metaphor — many Zimbabwean citizens do not have the bread to start with.

The question becomes why, with all these obvious pointers, the ex-Zanu PF party members or leaders are tolerated?

There is desperation for leaders and allies for the movement for change. These ex-Zanu PF members know of the oppression that people have suffered and continue to suffer under Zanu PF. They have, thus, joined the songs of oppression that are being sung by the majority Zimbabweans. This is the same reason why the war veterans, who have been an instrument of Zanu PF oppression, are finding sympathy from many quarters now that they are under fire. Ex-Zanu PF cadres and members, I don’t know about others, but as for me, I hear your discord. You claim to know or be in possession of the manual on how to defeat Zanu PF. Give us the manual, and take the back seats. You urge that we should be united. Yes, unity is good, but not under your leadership. We may have the same problems or the same enemy, but this doesn’t necessarily mean we want the same solution. Above all, you are definitely not the solution.

One of the common errors that many revolutionaries make is to think that because they are fighting for the same cause or a cause they believe to be the same, they should not hold each other accountable or tell a fellow revolutionary that you are off the mark. This is usually the undoing of many revolutions; a revolution carved by a rusty-anaerobic-bacteria-infested knife will have its strength or outcome gnawed away by “tetanus”.

I have read a number of articles where it has been suggested that ex-Zanu PF members and war veterans who are now under fire and targeted by Zanu PF deserve our support because they are victims too and in them, we can find a strategic ally. That every person deserves protection of the law I have no doubt. However, I have strong reservations on the question of taking these ex-Zanu PF members and some war veterans as allies. Obviously, not all war veterans are bad — there are, however, some who are bad, very bad ones. The Zimbabwe I hope for tomorrow does not allow me to “make a deal with the devil”. I condemn impunity. People cannot steal, abduct, torture, kill and hope to get away with it because they were in Zanu PF or because they are war veterans. For that reason, I believe that in a new Zimbabwe such individuals need to be prosecuted and let justice prevail. Will that be possible if we start fielding the same people into powerful political positions or making them allies? I don’t think so.

It is in regard of the above that I am surprised that Mujuru claims to be for “people first” when already the leadership of her party includes the likes of Didymus Mutasa, a man who, while serving in the President’s Office as Minister of State for National Security, is linked to several crimes against the people of Zimbabwe. He is also a man who has been implicated or accused of murder, torture, and corruption. This is the man, who, in 2002, is quoted to have said “he would not care if six million people died because of food shortages, as the country would be better off with Zanu PF members only”. Mutasa is the man behind Operation Murambatsvina of May 2005 that left many homeless and continues to haunt us today. Mujuru chooses to partner with such people to form a new government? How about the victims? Amai Mujuru, will you be able to put first the people you and your partners victimised during your time in Zanu PF?

But then, why do I even care to talk about these new ex-Zanu PF political parties? As I already pointed above, there is no doubt that forming a political party and supporting one is a constitutionally protected right. However, Zimbabwe is going to have elections in 2018 — if not earlier. These kinds of ex-Zanu PF political parties will mainly confuse the electorate to the advantage of Zanu PF. In this regard, Amai Mujuru and others, please note that you are actually not putting people first, you letting Zimbabwe down — once again.

 Thompson Chengeta is a Harvard International Law scholar.
Twitter handle: @DrThompsonLaw

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 5
  • comment-avatar
    Maguvha Wangahwe 6 years ago

    I quite agree with you my very learned colleague. But I will answer your question as to why they are being tolerated……”……because not to tolerate them at the moment will operate very much in favour of ZANU PF. Probably they themselves are also very much aware of that very thin thread on which they are relying and hanging……
    I want to suggest another test for them if they genuinely want to show the whole world generally, and Zimbabweans in particular, that they are no longer part of the ZANU (Ph) lootership. I want to challenge them to admit that ZANU PF committed the most heinous human rights abuses in Zimbabwe when they were part and parcel thereof and that it continues to do so, and that they will openly and boldly promise Zimbabweans that if they are voted into office they will put the matter right by setting up an International Military Tribunal to try those who committed crimes against humanity, AS WELL AS reclaim the country’s wealth which is stashed in the names of individuals in their Panama Accounts and elsewhere in the world.

    • comment-avatar
      Fallenz 6 years ago

      Absolutely..!

      Those seeking office must display their character rather than merely their rhetoric. And how do they display their character… well, they already have. What is their record; what is their past? Rhetoric and promises are easily tailored to suite the moment and sway weak minds, but their character has been “cast in stone” by their history. They may try to ignore it, or deny it, or justify it, but they can’t change it. Maguvha Wangahwe is absolutely correct that a sordid history-proven character can be overcome only by honesty, admitting to wrongs, and seeking to right those things. Me thinks none of the current players will do that… as always, they will rely on the support of weak, naive, easily-manipulated, biased minds.

  • comment-avatar
    LLOYD KUNAKA 6 years ago

    Well said sir these pseudo democrats should not be tolerated . How can a person like Didymus Mutasa claim to be for the people. I Have heard sordid tales of Diddymus’ brutality from people of Rusape and Headlands. THE MAN WAS A MONSTER WHO LED IN COMMITING HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES.

  • comment-avatar
    emmanuel 6 years ago

    Thats a very accurate summary of these pseudo democratic polititians,mujuru is unfit to lead zimbabwe to the promised land she is a bitter zanu pf member who is trying to subotage her master ,she was part of the gerimandering proccess of zanupf.she looted diamonds at chiyadzwa and we will not forgive her.we need people who dnt have stains of zanupf

  • comment-avatar

    Well said I agree!and in any case,was not 36yrs plus more than enough time in power for all of these repentees?honestly do they expect fair minded hard working learned peace loving God fearing Zimbabweans both ( home and abroad to really say well today is a dwan of a new era its mai mujuru’s first day in office?????really??I for one beg to differ where do we bury the 36yrs what happens to their CVs??Where does their CVs begin from???Then I will openly say mgabe will be a lesser devil coz he will have had his 36 years of mess and left whereas these guys will be 36yrs plus the time they will stay in office if at all they are allowed to sneak back into power!if we say 36yrs is toomuch today for one President what will we say for them 36 plus????????I rest my case!Jah have Meeeeeeercy!!!if they still dream of power fair and fine let them go do their psedudo cabinet and government in the confines of The Republics of Chikurubi!Gonakudzingwa,Hwahwa,Harare Central!ChawagonaHapana,Conmara Prisons as awaiting trial prisoners!!(I thankyou!