via Cabinet: nothing but a puppet | The Zimbabwean by Tawanda Majoni 18.09.13
I am disappointed that critics, commentators and analysts are talking about the new cabinet as though it is the very unit that will be responsible for the daily governance of Zimbabwe.
Ever since the announcement of the cabinet they have been preoccupied with analysing whether or not it will deliver and turn around our fortunes. This is a misplaced discourse because it proceeds from the wrong assumption that government will be run from Munhumutapa Building and the other buildings where the cabinet appointees will be roosting.
The reality is that the executive will primarily be handled by the security apparatus that essentially comprises the army, central intelligence and, to some extent, the police, with, of course, external sprinklings from China and Israel. In other words, the shadowy Joint Operations Command, which since 2009 has been operating illegally, is the real cabinet. What has been sold to us as the new cabinet is just a puppet whose strings will be pulled by the securocrats.
There is no prize for guessing. The securocracy played the central if not sole role in strategising and campaigning for Zanu (PF) before and after the July 31 general elections. Meeting in all shadowy places, JOC sourced funding, decided the candidates, deployed militias and sourced campaign regalia for Zanu (PF).
It also snooped on communication between heads of state and political parties and came up with the idea of buying regional leaders to endorse the elections – whose outcome the securocrats had predetermined. Further, the military, in cahoots with Nikuv and Chinese agents—not to mention ZEC and the RG’s office—coordinated Zanu (PF) activities throughout the country.
I know what I am talking about here. Dossiers detailing all this are available. Whistleblowers are not in short supply in Zimbabwe, if you thought Baba Jukwa was the only one. I noticed with curiosity that even Morgan Tsvangirai has the dossiers. He said that at the weekend during his party’s 14th anniversary in Mutare. I am confident that, by now, so many other people have had sight of the chilling documents showing how Zanu (PF), which the securocrats admit had been suffering waning support ahead of this year’s polls, managed to surprise all and sundry with its infamous “landslide” victory.
During this campaign period, none of the people who now make up the cabinet was anywhere near. By the way, one of the biggest lies that have been peddled about the July 31 election is that the winning candidates won because they successfully campaigned. Utter gobbledygook!
Readers will remember that Zanu (PF) conducted its primaries just on the eve of election day, in complete departure from its tradition in past polls. By that time, Boys on Leave (mostly from the army) were already on the ground, complete with thousands of militia in tow. Joseph Kabila and Obiang Nguema, the DRC and Equatorial Guinea presidents respectively, had already fattened the Zanu (PF) purse with just under $200 million, and a coterie of local businessmen and companies had also chipped in with a mound of the greenback.
The electorate was quaking, having been told that any “wrong vote” would bring back the horrors of 2008, while traditional leaders tottered in the shadows, all courtesy of the military strategy. Again, JOC had done the numbers, knowing how many people would vote Zanu (PF) during the polls, and how many ballots would go to “hostile” wards and constituencies. All this as MDC-T basked in the sun as though it had never set before.
Further, the campaign period that Zanu (PF) enjoyed was simply too short—perhaps the shortest ever—yet the party’s candidates won “overwhelmingly”. In this sense, it is clear that the candidates hardly had the time to convince the electorate that they deserved their loyalty and, therefore, votes. Everything had been laid down on a silver platter for them. The campaign manifesto was bland, shallow and dull, typical of military brains.
Where, then, is the basis for thinking that the civilian cabinet that the Old Man has installed will be running government affairs? Do you think the securocrats will stand by and let other people in suits and floral skirts enjoy the fruits of their labour? I don’t think so. This new cabinet will just be rubberstamping ideas, policies and strategies coming from JOC. Put more directly, the new government will be run from Defence House, Red Bricks and, to some extent, PGHQ.
While the militarisation of government is not an unfamiliar phenomenon where Zanu (PF) is involved, my good guess is that we will see more of that in the next five years and perhaps beyond. More permanent secretaries, civil sector directors and parastatal board members and staff will be JOC secondments. We will hear more threatening talk – and see more contempt for human rights and less happening on the ground to benefit social services, agriculture and the economy at large. – For feedback, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org