Monday, February 19, 2018

Zimbabwe after Morgan Tsvangirai - A narrative full of trials, sadness and hope

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Our condolences go to the family of the Tsvangirais for an irreplaceable loss of their father, brother and, uncle, and for the country to whom Morgan Richard Tsvangirai became a stalwart for championing democracy.

Championing and winning are two different sides of the same coin. Championing is the first step in any theoretical game, much bigger a role than the players of football who may not do that well were it not for the crowds championing the cause. Tsvangirai was good at both playing and championing fair politics.

Many casting their eyes on this article could ask, is it significant really to write such a paper with a title Zimbabwe after Morgan Tsvangirai? If history has to be fair and to take a correct narrative this is the time it has to be spelt with much passion if to build a united country out of Zimbabwe.

Yes we fought to liberate Zimbabwe but little did we envisage the ugliness of oppressive measures that would come from one of our own. Little did we imagine the savagery with Mugabe Zanu meted on ordinary Zimbabweans merely for saying their views without meaning offence or harm at all. Using reconciliation as an empty card to hoodwink both the international community and the masses he took the country through storms in human abuse, violence and brutality unequalled in any time of the country history.

 It truly was and is traumatic and needs a socio-political approach to heal citizens from a long term strategic view point. It will make a difference between a successful future and an hotchpotch future of hit and run that culminated in November 2018 redemption of the face of Zanu than for the people of Zimbabwe generally and time will tell.

Zanu squashed any imagination for successful political opposition under pretext they had single handed fought the liberation struggle to victory. Not to mention the role Zapu had played and most importantly the role masses played. Argue with me back in memory and I will refer you back to the songs that were sung and the condemnation imputed to the voice of people except it comes through the armed winged of our country.

Just like with many other things done wrong under the euphoria of independence, but more strictly, because of the person of Robert Mugabe and the context with which individuals in Zanu conceived the way forward. We watched and listened a liberal armed struggle liberation movement turn dictator on citizens who fought hard to survive vicious attacks from Rhodesia.

Not so long ago David Coltart had to make his apology for the role he played as the Queen British South Africa Police (BSAP) force who contributed under instructions to the decay of colonial settlerism. It has not made him any less person than then. If anything we look at him as a reconciled person to the reality of today willing to forge ahead under a new equitably dispensation.

Here is where Morgan Tsvangirai's role comes in. Trade Union from even the days of the late Joshua Nkomo under railway workers championed certain human rights. It easily became a vehicle through which country political agendas were easily tabled and successfully pronounced and proclaimed. Albert Mugabe the first General Secretary of Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) died mysteriously and, to this date, as a Zimbabweans citizen, what killed Albert remains a secret. Common sense says that he rose contrary to expectations of Zanu government as their 'good boy.' Yet other still say he died due to domestic feud.

Suffice to say the formation of ZCTU was done under a cloud it was strongly aligned to government of Zanu in order that Zanu will have control over labour unions in the country. Unlike South Africa where Arican National Congress (ANC) invited labour into their political party, Zanu armed struggle sentiment caused a major future crisis in the country which has precipitated the formation of so-called G40 a reality of being isolated apart from innuendos within Zanu political party.

So Secretaries of the ZCTU I know and interacted with then as CZI Industrial Consultant were Albert Mugabe, Wellington Chibebe and Morgan Tsvangirai. All these men struggled to extricate themselves from the clutches of Zanu control pursuing the Sino-Soviet style of governance to control labour force as an arm of government.

Morgan Tsvangirai, with his crew successfully broke away from the clutches of Zanu introducing the new dispensation of serious collective bargaining tools coached by the intense presence of International Labour Organization (ILO) who then opened an office in Harare.

No doubt Morgan had a commitment unequalled to his predecessors and his senior then Gibson Sibanda was equally tough and seasoned trade unionists. Morgan had moral courage unique given how Zanu had unequivocally silenced opposition from Ndabaningi Sithole, Abel Muzorewa, and, Enock Dumbutshena. Obviously for breaking the Zanu monopoly on politics Tsvangirai and the trade union become an interesting body that took on government on economic, political and labour rights extremely vigorous without apology. Morgan Tsvangirai then introduced the politics of open criticism into a Zanu den of political lions with much aggressive tenacity in approach bringing them to an equal footing on political issues.

As someone who worked very closely with Trade Union and having left CZI then to take over as the first black Executive Secretary to head an Employment Council for the Hotels, Catering and Restaurant Association including being the Manager for the Catering Industry Pension Fund (CIPF), I knew much about the formation of the Movement for the Democratic Change (MDC) as a silent Founder member, something only known by people like the late Nicholas Mudzengerere and some in the Catering trade union hierarchy.

When MDC was launched in 1999 some of us had advocated a strong worker involvement leaving out intellectuals, as a strategy, since they were vulnerable to enticement by Zanu government then than at any other time given the plethora of failed opposition record as simply illustrated above. Some understood the sense behind the strategy while others did not understand the philosophy in the strategy.

Suffice though for this paper, to say, Morgan displayed his courage talent above and beyond many politicians in the then Zanu-Pf phase of political evolving for the worst. He became a darling of the common man and a sweetheart of the peasant both constituents of which Zanu claimed strong foundation.

He immediately registered shock into a contented Zanu-Pf that had great dislike of the workers except using them as pawns in the game of political support game. Tsvangirai was approachable and understood the grassroots concerns on security, health, food, jobs and shelter. He resonated with 'Badza ne ngombe' a peasant agro-economic surviving tool for the rural persons and had the leisure of demonstrating how he would go home and undertake the home based tasks helping his parent. He showed the human side of politics Mugabe or any other Zanu hierarchies had demonstrated since independence.

Of course there are many areas of downward spiral in his leadership, but if lessons were learned, Morgan was a people person first and foremost. He had courage for what is right and stood for it. He believed in the cause of the common people and their life improvement. He will be missed.

Simple lessons are that we need to be truthful with others and we all need to learn to work for a common good than for ourselves. Our problem before Morgan Tsvangirai was that we wanted an educated mogul to take leadership not considering the attractions Zanu had set which to date has collapsed many opposition political parties.

The issue then with leadership was moral courage to face Mugabe brutality. Morgan rose to leadership then risking his life and defying then Zanu shenanigans that saw him receive unpleasant visit s from Mugabe political crashing squad who also planted corruptible leadership. People were not looking for leading the people but it was a way of begging for handouts from Mugabe which he become good at to the detriment of opposition politics in Zimbabwe.

Since Emmerson Mnangagwa hopes to hold the election Indaba sought for attendance by all political parties, one hopes it is an honest and a hold-no-punches talk that would see the country travel on the same political plane level. Already violence is simmering in the country with increasing clashes among supporters. Very strong punitive sentences are a requirement to curb this ugly political habit if justice was equitably employed.

People who Zanu trained to survive on the droppings from the table than working for a living will expect their earnings for leashing out violence on others and clandestinely expect state protection as before. Incidentally secret violence is no industry to strategically base any future upon. Hopefully people will be observant and watchful. If no political party came with an outright majority, it will teach help the people to work together more than grow arrogance in the name of majority victory. What we need more now is to learn to work together as citizens and agree to differ amicably without feeling we are enemies.

Another thing true is that we have to disinvest from the mentality of military supremacy in governance and to incorporate our children, the G40s, who are isolated and have found themselves groping for meaningful participation without chance. Zanu has divided people as the ordinary being the lowest strata even if educated, then the Munjibas (supporters in the liberation struggle who carried arms etc but were part of the community), then the Prisoners under Smith regime for political reasons, then the liberation struggle soldiers.

The sad reality is these are not nominal divisions but have both financial and moral implications. Children of former fighters have preference into the military irrespective of the intellectual capacity. In this context one wonders where the sense of justice we fought for is if we are so consumed in favouritism and nepotism from the outset. The adage,' truth will find you out' has found Zanu out in her struggle to remove Mugabe for ulterior motives to revive herself for another term of office.

In Zimbabwe power has never been in the people's hands but in the so-called liberation war heroes be they in active service or retired and in some other services or working making a living. I refer to it as 'So called' because they have chosen to isolate the rest of the country as though the war was their sole responsibility without the cooperation of the masses of the country. That division has corrosive than nation-building tendencies and tents to further divide people on tribal bases. These are realities to which Zanu went blind on for the last thirty-eight years.

Politics is no more interesting if it's done the way Constintine Chiwenga did this time round. He bemoans Tsvangirai passing away as the son of the soil. This is true except that when he could not simply salute him as Government of National Unity Prime Minister, because he had no liberation credentials did it make sense then? How cheap can we play our politics ladies and gentlemen? Do we have national ethics at all or we are led by survival instinct like animals of the jungle?

We know Zanu wants to retain power for ever. But then they should have behaved like they know where they came from and are going. Reconciliation in the context of the above means we have to value our constitution as a supreme law of the land. We have to respect whoever the country entrusts with mandate to run the government and use the ballot box as a tenet to attain free and fair elections.

The judiciary has to be allowed to do its work without fear or favour. Parliament must prove credible not be a bunch of people who seek to prolong their stay in power to drive the country into a rotten stage. We cannot sink this low ever again as a country and people. This ought to be the prayer of any reasonable Zimbabwean. In order words Zimbabweans need to master the meaning and practice of Rule of Law.