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Saturday, February 16, 2008

" Why Simba Makoni is not my ideal presidential candidate"

by Tanonoka Joseph Whande

If there is one thing that has always irked me, it is the Zimbabwean people's penchant to inflict political wounds and paralysing handicaps on ourselves.
From soccer administration to running trade union affiliates, we have this propensity to regurgitate and recycle proven failures. Nothing illustrates this more than soccer administration in Zimbabwe . The same old failures are always brought back to run clubs and to administer soccer in the country.

In politics, it is worse.

Zimbabweans are unintelligently too tolerant. Our tolerance borders on masochism, as successive white regimes in the land may care to confirm, even from beyond their graves.

Today it is Mugabe's turn. No one has ever run even their personal farms in a manner that Mugabe has run Zimbabwe .

'Leadership qualities' is something that distinguishes exceptional individuals from others and yet we do not seem to care to look around for a choice of our own but trust the same old abusers to think for us.

ZANU-PF thwarted the emergence of young brilliant potential leaders as it propelled useless, tired baggage into the forefront.

The Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) has dominated Zimbabwean politics since just before independence and has messed up miserably.

Today, the nation of Zimbabwe, like its own regurgitated vomit at ZIFA, wants us to continue to frolic in a pool filled with an endless string of tried, tired and useless leaders who are no longer relevant to our situation today.

True to its communist roots, ZANU-PF stifled any potential appearance of what others might call 'young Turks.' The result was that people started to wonder if ever there is an individual who can ably lead Zimbabwe other than Mugabe.

Today, four names are repeated over and over again and I am just not impressed.

Edgar Tekere is a respectable man. I think he is respected for having been the first to 'challenge' Mugabe for the presidency. Thirst for a change, I voted for him when he made his futile presidential bid.

But Tekere waited too long and supported Mugabe just a little bit too much. Even today, I am not sure whether his departure from ZANU-PF was caused by differences of principles or was necessitated by other circumstances. He seems to have been able to avoid the known ZANU-PF abuse and actually appears to have been left well alone for someone who put up a spirited effort to humiliate Mugabe. Others who did less against Mugabe were thoroughly dealt with.

I applauded Mr Tekere's statements several years ago that he was retiring from politics and was just going to be a commentator. I urge him to keep on that course.
Zimbabweans no longer need leadership recommendations from former ZANU-PF stalwarts. Tekere did his undisputed part for Zimbabwe and that is as far as it goes.


Enter one Enos Mzombi Nkala.

Like Tekere, Nkala was one of the closest to Mugabe, members of the original inner circle. And, like Tekere, he loved ZANU-PF and the party took good care of him.
When people in his Matabeleland area rejected him at the polls, ZANU-PF rammed him down the throats of the people of Kariba.

Mugabe gave Nkala several high profile cabinet posts among which were Finance, Defense and Home Affairs. But typical ZANU-PF greed saw him being the first to be ensnared in the widely publicised Willowvale Motor scandal.

About four months ago, Nkala told reporters that he was getting back into active politics so as "to frustrate Robert Mugabe's bid to stand for re-election next year."

And to achieve that Nkala choose as his vehicle, the Patriotic Union of Matabeleland, a regional nonsense that advocates for the autonomy of Matabeleland .
Desperation and oblivion can cloud up people's minds. Nkala, founder member of ZANU-PF and with hardly any constituency at all, now believes because Mugabe turned into a fiend, people will listen to him. It is so sad. It is truly pathetic.

Nkala benefited from ZANU-PF as ministerial portfolios given him testify. He was instrumental in the horrific massacres in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces. To his credit, he has apologised and admitted his fault. But now, left with no choice, he is denouncing Mugabe and ZANU-PF.

To him, I say: "Mr Nkala, Zimbabwe gave you the chance and you abused us.

You threaten to "spill the beans" on Mugabe but you don't realise you are just as much to blame. Spill the beans and give us the evidence to incarcerate you too because you did those things together.

Secondly, you are a damn coward since you want your 'book' to be published after you are dead. Publish it now so we can flock to you for clarification and authenticating. You want to throw Zimbabwe into perpetual chaos with unproven announcements. When politically dead people start publishing after they are physically dead, I get mighty suspicious because our country has gone through hell because of ZANU-PF political dinosaurs. If it's true, why wait till you are dead, Mr Nkala? Zimbabwe needs help now.
However, I hear that you are fronting for some silly obscure 'party' that champions for autonomy of ' Matabeleland .'

Mr Nkala, please understand that not an inch of Zimbabwean land is ever going to be parcelled out to any tribe for any reason. You want to cause unnecessary chaos and deaths because you, like your benefactor Mugabe, are failures. Zimbabwe is Zimbabwe . There was never any MashonaLAND or MatabeleLAND or ManicaLAND, just Zimbabwe .

Do not fool anyone in your part of the country into thinking there is ever going to be a separate state or a federal nation or something so atrocious. Zimbabwe does not belong to a tribe and no part of it ever will. I am sorry, Mr Nkala, just relax in peace, please, okay?"

I have heard about one Joice Mujuru. She is not a contender for the presidency. Mugabe used her to cause confusion and almost succeeded.

Then there is the third twin, Simba Makoni. So much is being said about him and his potential to be president of Zimbabwe . He is the real "Mr Teflon", squeaky clean as Mr Min might say.

Sadly, no one in ZANU-PF is clean.

I concede that Makoni entices me with his mind, demeanour and a seeming "appearance" of political cleanliness. But clarifications first, okay?

Makoni is a member of ZANU-PF. That alone is a fault that even the heavens cannot correct. He was Mugabe's blue-eyed boy who was, like all the others after him, discarded when he had performed for the master. When he ran out of luck, like Kamuzu Banda's Aleke Banda, he started mumbling negatives about his benefactor. I concede that is neither here nor there, like they say.

But Makoni has no constituency. I cannot recall an election he won in his own name. He appears to have been fired from all the public jobs he was appointed to. So why is his name always being pushed forward?

The two camps trying to offer a successor to Mugabe are courting him.

"Makoni," says, "is likely to align himself with the small Manyika sub-clan, most of whose important officials - including Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Agriculture Minister Joseph Made - are supporting Emmerson Mnangagwa's bid for the presidency."

Apart from the revolting tribal card, how can Zimbabweans really feel they have a new decent president who is known to be in the "pocket" of people like Didymus Mutasa and Chinamasa? Will he be our president or theirs?

The same site also reported that "powerful retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru has ditched his wife, Vice President Joice Mujuru, as his ideal successor and is now opting for former finance minister Simba Makoni." He is said to have no presidential ambitions of his own but would like to be "the power behind the throne." In other words, he wants to be Puppet Master.

Why are all the ZANU-PF malcontents who have a lot to answer for vying for Makoni? Will Makoni be our president or theirs? Will he be, as former Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi said of Uhuru Kenyatta, "(easily) guided"? I am afraid Makoni will not be ours and his deep roots in ZANU-PF make him very suspect to me.

But there are thousands of young men and women in and outside ZANU-PF who are more deserving than 'compromise candidates' who might not execute their responsibilities fully as puppet masters will be pulling the strings. Zimbabwe , be careful: make your choice well. Anyone with IOUs to ZANU-PF 'stalwarts' can easily be worse than Mugabe.

What will he offer them as quid pro quo?

Immunity from prosecution?

Don't say I didn't warn you.

*Tanonoka Joseph Whande is a Botswana-based Zimbabwean journalist.

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