Friday, 15 June 2007

Mechanisation: No tractors please, we are MDC!

Mechanisation: No tractors please, we are MDC!

ORDINARILY, the bane of any democracy is a ruinous opposition. Thank God the ramparts of Zimbabwe’s democracy are its governors and judges, not its treacherous opposition whose programme borrows from London, Washington and Amsterdam. African history will celebrate how President Mugabe remained amazingly magnanimous and self-restraining in the face of real threats from his enemies in powerful quarters.

Any average leader facing exactly the same set of odds, the same set of powerful opponents, would long have turned into unmitigated autocracy, would long have wielded all the instruments of coercion for his defence. After all, an abiding instinct of power is paranoia, and that we have lived so normally in circumstances of such severe treachery, really speaks highly of the democratic temperament and maturity of Mugabe personally, and of the liberation movement he leads.

It speaks of a leader and revolution with confidence in the people as the veritable defence. Give Tsvangirai an ounce of pressure and challenge to his authority, he turns into an autocratic bull! Now see what he has done to his party.

Enter Tsvangirai’s vice and mouth

Khupe, Tsvangirai’s vice, and Chamisa, his mouth, have loudly renounced Government offers of agricultural tractors and implements. They argue that as urban MPs, they and their supporters do not eat, and thus do not need tractors and implements! This is breathtaking stupidity. Interestingly, on the day of the symbolic allocation, the ebullient master of ceremony for the occasion put it so well: dumbu rinenzara rinoti ndakagara parombe, which roughly translated means "an underfed stomach blames its gods for resting it on an unimaginative wretch". I suppose the same passes for a mouth which burns on the impulsion and orders of an empty head! Of course both minions of the villager were pledging loyalty to, and expanding on their leader’s Zimbabweans-do-not-need-land-but-jobs thesis. It is a dull thesis, in fact a fatal argument which has made Tsvangirai not only unelectable here at home, but an object of scorn in black Africa. Chamisa added, apparently with obvious relish, that the MDC was here to govern, not to till the land, helpfully adding its members never applied for the tractors Government was now offering them.

Well, the MDC does not govern, will not govern and the legislator fully knows he was merely entertaining his jaws. As for the second part of his self-amusement, let him be told no one applied for the tractors and implements: from the President right down to Ibbo Mandaza’s Biography Movement. It is a Government programme of transforming land reforms into full agrarian reforms. The current phase focuses on productivity which the Tsvangirai faction of the MDC appear to decry.

Pennywise, pound foolish

After all, application is a trite protocol; to the serious, it cannot nullify the offer. But since the MDC chooses to be that fastidious, let us take them on their terms, these traitors. Today they all drive whistling 4x4s, courtesy of the Zanu (PF) Government. They did not initiate the vehicle scheme. It is a facility which came their way, unsolicited, unapplied for. They welcomed it, happily too.

The formalities of obtaining benefits thus cannot be the real issue standing between them and tractors. What is it then, which dog is it which Khupe and Chamisa seek to whack with a hidden big stick?

A page from history

Gentle reader, you recall the famous footage sporting Tsvangirai and white farmers in Banket? On that occasion, he received hefty funding from white farmers, with one – apparently one of the then sprawling Nicolle dynasty – making it clear this was a good investment to write a cheque for the MDC. Today the Nicolles are farming in Zambia, using centre pivots and other agricultural machinery which they smuggled out of this country, at the height of the struggle for land.

This smuggled equipment is what Government, through the RBZ, today seeks to replace. It has reached my ears that part of the grain which Government ordered from Zambia to fill the drought-induced harvest gap, bore little missives from Nicolle, reminding Zimbabweans the grain they were now importing is his. What cheek! But that to wonder off the point.

Power from the tiller

The MDC knows the value of land to the political equation of this country. The hand that tills the land in this country, tolls the bell of political power. This is why Zanu (PF)’s impregnability rests on the peasantry. This is why too the MDC located its support base in the constituency, albeit an evanescent one, of white farmers, the same power base which underpinned the Rhodesia Front. Both political players know quite well that Zimbabwe is governed from the countryside, not from the streets. The recent attempt by the MDC and its British, American and Dutch backers to overturn Zanu (PF) power from the grounds and streets of Highfield, was only an act of desperation, not a case of mis-diagnosis on where exactly lies the quick of Zimbabwe’s politics. With white power dismantled in the countryside, the MDC fell back on an amorphous, synthetic and fickle urban constituency which Chamisa now seeks to romance and extol.

Even then, it is a constituency which is slowly coming under the spell of the soil, thanks to MDC and Blair sanctions. The phenomenon of peri-urban farming is and will be critical to mopping up support in so-called urban constituencies. What is more, the one tangible outcome of land reforms and the resultant punitive sanctions, is a clear reversal of the direction of the flow of subsidy: from the traditional cities and towns to rural people. Now the flow is from rural farmer families to unemployed and marginal urban folks and their families. Clearly, the clod shapes and governs the city. This is well before we take into account the routine odyssey which urban professionals make every Friday into the countryside to work the land which now yields in one season incomes one needs two lifetimes to achieve via the white man’s paltry wages.

Deep inside the MDC, the same laws of rural primacy do operate inexorably, informing behaviours and conduct. Chamisa knows this. Khupe knows this too. It does not matter that one is in Gutu or Insiza.

Against instinct

So both legislators know they are speaking against their instincts, indeed their interests. What is more, they know they do not carry their own peers, let alone supporters on this one matter. Chamisa cannot stand before his own mother to tell her: "Mhai, I turned down a tractor from Mugabe because I run an urban constituency". The good old lady will simply pull a half burnt faggot from the fire, resolutely menace his reckless mouth with it, before stridently warning him on dire consequences: "kubva nhasi, chinja maitiro"! The old lady badly needs a tractor for those heavy soils she won, thanks to Mugabe’s land reforms. So do his in-laws. So does his village. Indeed so does his country, his people he should hope to govern, not to starve of feed on donor GMOs!

Who is policy?

Evidence is abundant. As Barwe was busy recording these outrages, the two MPs’ peers were busy accosting the Governor of the Reserve Bank for inclusion on the mechanization scheme. I have a long list of all those who called, and to the man, to the woman, they represent urban constituencies, with one of them covering the area I live! And of course those belonging to the Mutambara faction have openly registered their gratitude to Government for the move. This time they seem to have stumbled on common sense. What is more, on the day of the symbolic distribution, both factions of the MDC were represented!

Some tell me these representatives even joined the joyous Zanu (PF) Leaguers in singing "Baba munogona kutungamira". Where does one read MDC policy: on the gaunt lips of Khupe and Chamisa, or in all these calls made to the Governor, all these seats warmed by its legislators on the occasion of the launch?

No wiser after reforms

Politics is the art of the possible. A party whose stance runs contrary to common sense, runs contrary to deep and compelling instinct of its members, courts rebellion, indeed courts mass defections. One would have thought that a post-land reform MDC would be a lot wiser. Many of its cadres then, to this day remain very bitter and disenchanted for being left out of the resettlement programme because of their party’s thought-free stance. Thank God they are a lot wiser now, and are trooping for benefits from Government which are meant to enhance indigenous people’s role in the economy.

In place of vision, these embittered supporters see ruin in their erstwhile party’s headstrong stance and borrowed policies. As they are busy recovering from that monumental miss, they now see themselves slapped by yet another impetuous and costly stance. Nderimwe dumbu ragara parombeka iri!

Ruled by the Nicolles

The party has chosen to please the Nicolles by showing that it will not betray its white sponsors through and through. It would rather offend its supporters than the Nicolles. That way it hopes to secure continued white funding while losing the vote here. It is a fundraising game, is it not? They will not even get close to a tractor, lest that is interpreted to mean a reversal of their anti-land reform stance. A few years back, during the 2005 poll, they wanted to bring in imported grain to shore up their support.

You can see the mentality: a vision to import both politics and food. Not to grow both! GMO politics for the voter, GMO food for his stomach, all in the name of urban constituencies. Anofunga seiko mazinhu aya? But whichever way it goes, Zanu (PF) is in the saddle. They reject the tractors, they remain marombe; they accept them, they vindicate the ruling party’s policies. It must be a miserable moment.

Educating Muleya

Faced with the prospect of a Salvador Allende victory in Chile in 1970, Henry Kissinger, US National Security Council chief then remarked: "I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people". The Chilean people had decided to vote for Allende’s radical programme which included nationalization of US interests, principally in copper. In that sense, they were about to act irresponsibly and democratic America would not stand by. Such an outcome presented a new challenge to US stereotype of left-wing politics, namely that these politics were always predicated on autocracy. Now a left-wing politician was about to ascend to power on the wave of a clean and democratic ballot. From the perspective of the concerned Kissinger, such a precedent would destabilize Latin America. At was then that he coined the notorious phrase of squeezing Chile until its economy "screams".

I recall this for the benefit of Dumisani Muleya who appears to have come back drunk and hypnotized by political America, following his recent establishment-guided tour. Such tours are meant to mesmerize, are they not? For him, it was a small payment for ventilating Dell’s views, a point acknowledged by the Bush administration in its Human Rights Report. But this loud regurgitator seems to believe that the March 2008 election should pull Zimbabwe from the brink, which is why Zanu (PF) needs to woo MDC for recognition.

He sounds genuinely fatigued by the assignment he has been doing for western interests. He is suing for peace. What is more, he appears to have believed the propaganda of his handlers, namely that the British and the Americans are at war with us because of "flawed elections". Run a clean poll, he naively thinks, and all will be forgiven and forgotten. It helps to be a bit educated. I hope he reads Kissinger correctly, as indeed I also hope he reads correctly recent electoral developments in Nigeria.

Viewspaper versus Newspaper

I did not realize Tony Blair reads the Zimbabwe Independent! He is bitter and complaining, and dismisses the Independent as "a viewspaper, not a newspaper"! Well put Mr Blair, never mind that you hit epiphany at sunset. Of course Iden thinks Blair was referring to the British Independent. Correct, which is why I think calling Ncube’s viewspaper here the "Zimbabwe Independent" is indeed a not-so-clever oxymoron. On a related matter, I asked one reporter what he thought about the so-called media council formed by a conglomeration of NGOs in the name of journalists. The response was more than I had bargained for: "They formed it because they need it badly. See how they have flouted all rules and tenets of journalism". And Takaona? Well, very interesting imponderables. For him the newsroom is a matter of recall, yet he claims to represent working journalists. Clear clue why reinstating subscriptions from Zimpapers was an urgent matter. Second imponderable: he has been given a provincial newspaper, through the wife of course. Which makes him a publisher, albeit a threadbare one. Halala, we are in for good times. Meantime, happy flying to the congenital cripple!

Out! Out Jeff Koinage

Jeff Koinage is gone, gone forever, never to be seen again sprawling and howling on white CNN. He leaves the CNN in utter disgrace, with the only "concession" given him being that the CNN will not announce his dismissal to the world. And the fool thinks it’s a concession. Do they have to "not announce it"? They simply leave the idiot to announce it himself, namely by his loud absence! Let his tribe here look and, hopefully, learn. You do not betray your people for the white man. These whites use you, use you, use you and yes, throw you away like a used condom. It did not matter that Koinange was arranging shooting scenes for demonising Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe was fair game. That only became a sin when he did the same against Nigeria, the West’s darling. The response was swift. Made swifter by allegations of sexual harassment. Do I need to tell you that the supposed victim was a white girl? A friend whispered: who were the Koinages during Kenya’s land revolution? It sounds like a genetic predisposition.

This one question

To those who have written so copiously about the Mbeki initiative on Zimbabwe, I pose this one question: Is mediation talks? Food for laughter. Icho!


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