Nothing in this life is that certain. Politics in Zimbabwe is especially unpredictable and the bigger, real issues are even more intractable.
We’ve seen one faction defeat another with surprising ease. Maybe we should not have been surprised, or maybe the last round hasn’t been fought yet. Who knows?
Personally, I can’t believe that people who need to expend so much energy over a simple little thing like deciding who is to hold some position of power and influence are likely to produce any new ideas after 34 years on how to use that power and influence.
When we hear that even the highest in the land can say “Pasi naZanu (PF)” in public, we should know the crisis isn’t over. He might have only been saying that ZANU has served its purpose, which was to make its leaders rich, but if they want to go on, they may find the ZANU label embarrassing.
There are enough mafikizolos among the new cabinet who may want to put that phase behind them. They have made it and if they are going to hold on to their loot, they might want to kick away the ladder that brought them there before a newer bunch of mafikizolos start climbing it. But if they are only talking about a change of name and an attempt to clean up their image, what is really new?
Does that put more meat and sadza on our plates? Does it open new factories or do anything else to create jobs? Does it put books in our schools and medicines in our clinics? Does it even make the trains run on time?
Our biggest problem for the past 34 years has been a leadership who know all about how to win the competition to get the top places, but nothing about how to use power once they got there.
We heard of a leader who said quite early that he didn’t want to give ownership of land to the people, because then they wouldn’t depend on Zanu (PF) and therefore wouldn’t vote for them. That sounds like an admission that the only reason he could see for people to vote for his party was fear.
Hasn’t he looked at some of our neighbours? At least one neighbouring country has the same party in power nearly 50 years after independence and less sign of opposition than there was 30 years ago. Did they do that by instilling fear? No, they gave food relief in the frequent drought years to everyone who needed it, without asking what party card they carried. They encouraged the most able people to get an education and to find jobs in which they could feel they were doing something useful and be rewarded for it.
When they discovered how much mineral wealth there was under their feet, they negotiated the best deal they could with mining experts, so the profits from their mines went to build schools and hospitals, houses and roads and to put enough money in many pockets for more businesses to start up.
Their people are freer than they were before independence; does that make them vote against the party that provided all those good things? No. Now most of them vote for the same government because they are grateful for what it has done and trust it to continue serving them.
Have our leaders who hold on to power and privatised our wealth ever looked at Botswana and noticed how fear of politicians has decreased over the years, but the number of votes they get has not?
Do our chefs understand anything but fear? Have they never felt anything but fear for powerful people? Did they ever feel anything but fear for their parents? If they didn’t, I pity them, but I have serious misgivings about their ability to empower people, develop and create employment, to really indigenise and grow our economy.
Do they want us to fear them because they really fear us?