Custom Search


Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Dear Friends

The recent developments in Zimbabwe generally and on the political landscape have raised a lot of moral , ethical,and ideological challenges for me and I guess many others like me. First there is the issue of Simba(which in Zulu means trash and in Kiswahili ironic?).

Indeed there are many who would happily go along with the Zulu meaning of the man's name and yet many others who would rather believe that the LION that will defeat Bona's son has finally come out of hiding? As we oft said in the years past , IMF....(meaning It is Mugabe's Fault).

Second there seems to be some confusion regarding what change in Zimbabwe should or would look like? As though that is not enough, there is profound confusion regarding the appropriate process and vehicle of change?

Rather there is frightening ambiguity viz the outcomes of the anticipated change. I need not restate my refusal to be dragged into the politics of name calling or beauty contests to determine who is politically more handsome or palatable between ....or is it amongst the aspirants. I have further openly refused to dismiss Simba Makoni on account of his historical .....or is it present association with Zanu PF. I have equally insisted that there are essentially only two candidates going to the polls on the 29th March, namely those for change and those pro the status quo. I am- like all other Zimbabweans saddened by the fact that oppositional forces have failed to build alliances-even tenuous ones- for the purposes of ensuring that there is an electoral leadership succession and not merely a ritual whereby the incumbent names his successor.

In short ,I have openly urged the opposition to remember that Simba Makoni is not yet their opponent in the strictest sense of the word. What I have conveyed privately to the Makonites is my impression that it is senseless arrogance to imagine that they can ignore out of hand the historic contributions of the MDC and civil society towards the project of democratizing Zimbabwe. Rather ,it is offensive for any of them to suggest that they do not need alliances with anyone. They certainly can not and should not use the offensive .....we do not want to alienate our supporters in Zanu PF line as though that minority of supporters is worth more to the project of contesting Mugabe's leadership than the broad mass of voters who have braved Mugabe's brutal rule and supported the main opposition formations for close to a decade now. I certainly hope that good sense will prevail and the Makonites will come to a stage where they realize that history is much larger than an individual....even a very brilliant one for that matter!

In fact that our present decay is the result of a whole nation being held at ransom by a clique of co-conspirators and accomplices. At the moment the Makonites are enjoying a wave of support born out of frustrations amongst some pockets of the citizenry with the status quo (in Zanu PF and in MDC).Indeed very few people are raising the critical questions about the contributions of Makoni's economic policy prescriptions to the sorry state of Zimbabwe's working peoples. These glitches in Simba's history are no less daunting than the MDC's asociation with intra-party feuding and allegations of un-democratic conduct(Zanufication).

My point is ......that there are no saints as we approach the March 29 election. Further, just in case we might have forgotten the MDC Economic policy blue-print at one-time read like the flip side of Simba Makoni's 2001 budget policy statement. MDC -through Eddie Cross- also wanted to privatize critical basic services and all parastatals. In other words, the opposition did not pretend to offer any heterodox economic prescriptions to take us out of the economic abys that we are in.

So ....if Simba and Morgan's parties are not that substantially different in economic policy orientation ...............what are they different at or in? What is the basis beyond their policies for judging one more preferable than the other? Is it length of time spent in Zanu PF? Is it amount of suffering endured at the hands of Zanu PF? Is it likely competence to implement neo-liberal economic prescriptions from the IMF/WB?

If one were to get deeper into this matter .....we would even do a character analysis of their top leadership as well their democratic credentials. Which one of them is more inclusive in their style of leadership? Should we judge them on their position on and practice of women's rights? Or should we look at their integrity and how they have acquired their personal assets? Would you rather we looked at which one them would be amenable to manipulation from the West ? From Zanu PF? From big Corporations? On what basis are judging the aspirants to the forthcoming election? Is it on the basis of looks ? Experience in running institutions? Ability to administer an economy? Level of education ? Or is sensitivity to and connection to the interests and aspirations of common Zimbabweans?

I was tempted as I began to write this email to give some answers to this myriad of questions, but I would rather learn from your collective wisdom and insight. I value your intelligence no doubt many other Zimbabweans do ? What change are we looking for? What process will realistically bring that change? He is a small reality check though.......if Tsvangirayi and Makoni split votes Mugabe might win. If they split the parliamentary vote ......Mugabe's people will have some thin majority in parliament and they will look to form alliances across the floor of the house. In the event that either Makoni or Tsvangirayi win .....the other might form an alliance with a residual Zanu PF. Or better still ....the winning candidate might need the other oppositional candidate to formn a coalition government?

Why am I even raising these issues? Is it because of the Zanu PF old guard coming out in support of Makoni? No it is because ....I realize that our questions might be easier resolved by doing a scenario reflection on the day the results are announced and the period after? The crowds at the Tsvangirayi and Makoni rallies as well Zanu PF's history of winning elections that they would have lost compel me to ask ....what is the plan B ....And C.....And maybe D ?

I foresee a constitutional crisis of sorts should everyone get the votes that they are expected to. I suspect that Zanu PF might actually engineer a splitting of urban votes and a cooking of rural votes to neutralize the leading contenders in this election. I am aware that in the minds of most Zimbabweans , Makoni is a response to the resurgence of the Munangagwa factor in Zanu PF's succession battle. But who do we suppose the Munangagwa camp is alligning with in the opposition? Whose rent are they paying ? Who are they buying fancy new cars, houses and expensive trinkets? Who has been bought over to their side within the oppositional formations?

That is if we are correct in assessing Simba as a counter force to the Munangagwa factor? If Simba is indeed a Mujuru man and his opponent in Zanu PF is Munangagwa.....then what does this mean for change politics in Zimbabwe? Has the game and the rules of the game changed whilst we were sleeping? Has the language of change been hijacked? Will the word change become a dirty word in our political vocabulary after March 29? Why has the MDC become so ecclectic ,unpredictable and in some measure un-democratic?

Why does the MDC now respond to criticism with such vitriol and Zanu-like language? Is there something that we are missing as we carry on our email discussions and eat our processed foods? I wonder ! What will we say the morning after? Will we say that Change has truly come ? Or in Zulu we will say SIMBA not in celebration but regret ? Or will we say SIMBA in Kiswahili as a sign of relief and triumph?

Will we sing the Morgan praise song ? Or will we say DAI TAKAZIVA ? Help me ,my comrades.....I want to recognize the change that we are hoping for when I meet it on the streets of Zimbabwe after March 29th .




Anonymous said...

your contribution is powerful and quite critical to the situation at hand. while agreeing that both simba and makoni cannot be trusted fully, i believe makoni is our answer. this comes after taking into consideration, intergrity, vision,means of acquiring personal wealth, and most of the things you pointed out.

Anonymous said...

Interesting but I must say I am a little irritated by people always translatiung Simba's name in langauges other than the languages of Zimbabwe. Why do we act like Simba means absolutely nothing in Shona. I wasn't there but I'm pretty sure when he was born, whoever named him was interested only in the Shona meaning of the name. Yet, I believe this may be the 4th or 5th article I've read that immediately translates his name into Swahili. What's up with that? Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

Is it also not true that in spite of having the above to choose from in the polls in reality the ordinary Zimbabwean does not have a choice. The tight rope which we are forced to manouvre is also a double edged sword. Do we, the people win either way?