via The vultures gather – The Zimbabwean 22 October 2015 by Magari Mandebvu
We aren’t surprised that the Zanu (PF) hyena pack are turning on each other.
Hyenas are used to power struggles when an old leader seems to be losing his grip on power.
But is our political thinking so Zanuised that aspirants from outside that party behave like a flock of hungry vultures, fighting over the spoils when their prey isn’t even dead yet?
Why are nearly 40 husband-and-wife parties fighting for places in the national convergence? Why do they, and all the fragments that splintered off from the MDC, all try to build themselves up by pulling down anyone who can claim to have achieved anything?
Somebody has lost the plot. Surely the point is to all work together for what we want? Of course we don’t all agree on every detail of what a democratic and moderately honest government should do, but those issues can wait to be settled in the proper forum, which is a freely elected parliament, responsive to our wishes, backed up by lively public debate in the mass media which are independent and also responsive to our wishes.
Until that kind of parliament and that kind of press, radio and TV exist, our first aim has to be to work towards creating an environment in which they can be set up. If we do that, the rest will follow.
But the trouble is that we hear even less about the policies a democratic government should follow than we did in the 1970s. Anyone old enough to remember those days can tell you how much effort in nationalist politics was spent then on fighting between parties that all claimed they wanted majority rule. Some of them acted as if they wanted “majority rule, but not just yet”. Not only the Muzorewas and Chiraus; they were honest and said “majority rule, but not yet” in an effort to cajole what little they could get out of the embattled white regime.
The real enemy
Others, who knew the settler regime was doomed and majority rule was sure to come, didn’t mind delaying its arrival as long as this ensured that when the new flag was raised and the symbols of power were handed over, their party would be the one power was handed to. Maybe we could have seen real independence in 1965 if ZANU had not broken away from ZAPU and begun years of bitter struggles among brothers who should have been united against the real enemy? Maybe it would have come later than that, but certainly we would have seen majority rule well before 1980.
In those days we did have the excuse of ideological differences, even if few of us, even among the loudest shouters of slogans, understood or lived their ideologies. Now we only see dog-eat-dog struggles among would-be successors to a regime that doesn’t so obviously defy history. Yes, it’s on its last legs, but it’s not white in a world where obvious white racism had gone out of style.
The next time you hear some self-appointed pundit so freely criticising a leader who has been beaten by uniformed or non-uniformed political thugs, seen them kill close relatives or colleagues, lost a limb or at least their livelihood, remember to ask “Where was this critic when these things were happening?”
If the answer is “in the diaspora”, especially if that means somewhere more hospitable than South Africa, or if they didn’t lose as much as a tuckshop during Murambavanhu, a goat in Gukurahundi or even a finger in the “long sleeve or short sleeve?” days, or their comfortable job in academia or some nice liberal NGO, then ask yourself what right they have to try to pull down someone who has suffered more than they did.
“The one who wears the shoe knows where it pinches”. How can you stand in judgement on anyone when you haven’t been tested as they have? Maybe they made mistakes, but how do you know you’d do any better? Would you see more clearly? If so, could you risk living your beliefs?