via Moyo snobbery won’t work – DailyNews Live 27 January 2015
LONDON – A person’s social standing can breed certain behaviours and attitudes.
Snobbery is a sense of superiority often expressed with condescending comments or acts.
Looking at Zimbabwe, it is interesting to note how snobbery has played out. Those who participated in the liberation struggle have had a tendency to look down upon those who did not.
Persons deriving inflated self-importance from that epoch have used such social standing to intimidate and prevail over others and their ideas. The war veteran is supposed to be feared; his ideas, incontestable.
One interesting element has emerged though within the political class: the use of academia.
For those lacking liberation credentials, academia has become their source of enhancing social standing.
Among the political elite, one has to have at least one of the attributes to be “relevant.”
Joseph Chinotimba can be the object of ridicule for his lack of education but leverages on his war veteran status. Morgan Tsvangirai is attacked because he is deemed to lack both markers for enhanced social and political standing.
It is for this reason, Grace Mugabe, without a war background, sought to acquire a PhD.
However, this attempt failed because of the suspicious circumstances under which the qualification was acquired.
Similarly, bereft of liberation credentials, President Robert Mugabe’s nephew lists his academic degrees under a column in the State media and at times plagiarises ideas from Wikipedia.
Nonetheless, the objective is the same: to use academia as the compensatory tool to silence contrarian thoughts. Like the war background, academia becomes the alternative tool for intimidation.
The tendency to flaunt academic standing is often described as academic snobbery. We have had a fair few of such snobs. Remember Arthur Mutambara’s “I’m coming out of Oxford”?
In Zanu PF, Eddison Zvobgo’s snobbery drew on both war veteran-ship and academic status. But Zvobgo used his academic standing in a humorous and often beneficial way as exemplified by his criticism of repressive media laws.
This brings us nicely to the main object of the above theory on snobbery, liberation and academic credentials — Jonathan Moyo, incidentally the architect of laws that prompted Zvobgo’s angst.
Last week, Moyo described local media as “useless.” To quote him: “We have a media that is practically useless. If you rely on it for information about the state of the country, you will be by choice putting yourself among the ignorant, you won’t know what is going on by reading the media.”
At another forum, he also attacked journalists when responding to suggestions he had in the past said the best way to destroy Zanu PF is from within.
“That’s a drunkard’s statement, it’s nonsense. It’s a statement that can be said by some village pumpkin that has never come close to a classroom.
“Now, if your uneducated mind translates reform as destruction, to hell with you.”
Recall the theory earlier; the war veteran status has been used to enhance social status, intimidate and silence others.
In the absence of liberation credentials, the political class —Grace and Mugabe’s nephew included — now turn to academia as sources for social and political standing and intimidation of those with non-conforming ideas.
Given the events in Zanu PF and his questionable past, Moyo’s reaction is understandable. By excoriating journalists as lower than him, Moyo seeks to use his status to intimidate journalists into silence. Without the fearsome war background, academia serves as his only intimidation weapon.
The hope also is that journalists would then fear questioning his past because they would appear “uneducated.” Moyo should be told in no uncertain terms that his snobbish behaviour will not work.
What is uneducated is to ignore a person who viciously criticises Zanu PF and it’s leader, joins the party, is fired, criticises it brutally again, is rehired and begins to sing profuse praises of the party and leader again. It is simply extraordinary.
As for “useless”, Moyo should look at himself and colleagues at the Cabinet table today for the persons to whom that term truly applies.