Saturday, 24 November 2007

Morgan: Hurling the truant sleeper of Tarshish

Morgan: Hurling the truant sleeper of Tarshish

In the Great Book of Life is told the story of one Jonah, a Hebrew and the son of Amittai. To him, the Word of Jehovah began to occur, ordering him to go to Nineveh, the great bad city of godless permissiveness and libertinage. Jehovah wanted Nineveh warned of dire divine retribution, and Jonah was the carrier of that terrible message. Fully conscious of the consequences of bringing an unhappy message to an unrepentant community, Jonah did the reasonable thing for any mortal: he ran away, apparently forgetting Jehovah is omnipresent, is immanent.

Far down in his flight, at some place called Joppa, he found a ship about to leave for Tarshish; he promptly paid his fare before descending to the most secretive part of the ship, not just to "evade" Jehovah, but also to drown his troubled mind in the sound sleep of generations.

Against the internal peace soon to visit him through sleep, there was outward, traumatic discord which threatened to tear the ship apart, casting all on board into the fury and froth of raging waters. All, except the sleeper, prayed to their gods, hoping for saving divine clemency. The buffeted captain of the troubled ship soon got to where Jonah lay safe and well ensconced in folds of sound and indifferent sleep:

"What is the matter with you, sleeper? Get up and call out to your god!" he yelled, not terribly impressed.

Democracy in disaster

During which time the rest on the ship were casting lots to establish who in their midst had brought upon them this raging divine ire. The lots "caught" Jonah, surprisingly with all those on the ship still democratic enough to ask him: "What should we do to you, in order that the sea may become still for us?"

It was too generous a gesture for people menaced by such an overwhelming disaster.

Equally, Jonah reacted in a manner most baffling to laws of self-preservation: "Lift me up and hurl me into the sea, and the sea will become still for YOU; because I am aware that it is on my account that this great tempest is upon YOU."

The narrative goes on and on, including recounting how a big, benevolent fish ate the sinful Jonah, apparently to save him.

The ship is an abiding image in this great narrative we call the Bible. Equally, the notion of redemption through symbolic destruction, is prevalent. Such is the richness of Hebrew literature whose beginning is the Bible. I do not aver any doubts as to the holiness of this great book. Bishop Manhanga would kill me, having spared his precious Bible on hopes for my spiritual redemption. Besides, I consider myself religious, often admiring Jehovah’s rage. Or that of His Son who took a whip and tore the flesh of all those sinners who had turned His Father’s house into a Zimbabwe Stock Exchange! Enough of blasphemy.

Purge of MDC kulaks

For the MDC, time is long, very long. The Matibenga saga (or is it the Makone saga?) rages unabated, with each day that passes seeming like more fuel to a bad fire. Count me out; I bring no additional faggots to the MDC’s this Amaggeddon. Let me share with you the folds of this leaping blaze, which has left so dark a smoulder in this house all-party Britain built well before 1999. The entire leadership is afflicted by a giant seizure of paranoia, much of it fuelled by Ian Makone and his gracious wife, Theresa. There is a great tempest, a great purge afoot, as Tsvangirai’s erstwhile vananyachide, now passing for today’s kulaks of the new MDC with Tsvangirai nominally at the helm, Makone on the controls.

William Bango, the man who only last week misled The Standard into believing Tsvangirai had relented on the Matibenga saga, today stands accused of being a Zanu-PF mole. Or more accurately, a CIO mole. The boss is unhappy that he gave out that line, soon to be contradicted by an embarrassing flare-up right on the stoep! The accusation against Bango is shored up by verifiable facts: that he was detained on the side of Zanu-PF only to be released at Independence.

I confirm that this is, indeed, a fact. Bango was in detention, alongside the likes of the now incarcerated Dzvairo who helped him through his secondary school studies. His tormentors add he was at Ziana, and worked with the President’s Office on covering the President here at home and abroad. That is also true. They add he had(s) friends in the system. I am sure he does, as everyone else, including Theresa. They again add he, Sandra Nyaira and Nyakunu were deployed by the system to wreck the Daily News project. I have no view on that allegation. The charge sheet goes on and on.

The angry man from Chiurwi

Chamisa is out, has been for quite some days. Chamisa has very strong views on the Matibenga issue. He feels threatened by the waves of this great injustice authored by his leader under the spell and influence of the Makones. After all, his hold on leadership, alongside Mashakada and the likes of Chaibva and Sikhala, has always been tenuous, repeatedly challenged by the trade union wing within the MDC.

Fortunately, that student (not intellectuals, please) — trade unionist dialectic is no longer helpful as the formation continues to peel in ways that defy both rhyme and reason. But the insecurity is there, all the time reinforced by victimisation done on "the near other", too near even to be vicariously felt. The dismissal of Matibenga on frivolous grounds is keenly felt by all in comparable positions.

No one feels safe, least of all Chamisa. Not even the Chiurwi connection is near enough to strongly fasten him on Tsvangirai’s coattails. But beyond insecurity, Chamisa genuinely (and rightly) believes his boss has shown monumental leadership failures, all the time exposing to ridicule the very party he must uplift.

You blurt about CIO destabilisation of the MDC to Chamisa, most probably you walk away with a grievous limp, that is if you are that lucky. But the writing is clear. Tsvangirai is convening his Press brief through faraway Bennett, or through Luke Tambolinyoka. I could cite Pedzisayi Ruhanya, until now a Tsvangirai acolyte. Today he breathes fire against his erstwhile idol, urging his defeat in March 2008 so a defeated MDC is given chance to reorganise and grant itself a new leadership.

Upstaging Mbeki?

Presently Tsvangirai is shorn of all ramparts. His act at the Commonwealth people’s forum was pathetic. He could not answer crucial questions, including that on land. He had to be saved by the British convenors of the meeting from aggravated self-damage. It was bad. For a man who claims to wield keys to the MDC in his pocket, it was baddest. He had to run back home, hopefully to mollification by President Mbeki, the principal mediator.

Ill-prepared and ill-rested for the encounter, Tsvangirai walked into another disaster. The previous week he had met with President Mbeki, to exhort him to tell President Mugabe to stop politically-motivated violence. In the meantime, his thugs were descending upon women and journalists right on the "navel" of the capital, assaulting them for not being politically Y2Kompliant.

Kukataza chaiko nemabonza. Heads of State do not want lies given them, and I am sure President Mbeki is no exception. He may not have been terribly impressed by Tsvangirai’s bid to hide a big log lodged in his eye while drawing Mbeki’s attention to a speck in Mugabe’s eye. More blunders were to follow from this wielder of MDC keys.

The whole trip to Kampala -- what was it meant to do, or achieve? Well, to do many things. The British government, through the British Royal Society which carved the "People’s Forum", needed him there. He was there, as required. Secondly, the British government wanted him to influence the forum’s communiqué for the notice of Commonwealth Heads of Government and State whose agenda the British wanted to include Zimbabwe, a non-member of that useless colonial relic.

The British idea was to use Kampala to manage Lisbon which has been a spectacular failure in the much vaunted British diplomacy. More important, Tsvangirai was supposed to upstage President Thabo Mbeki who is expected to brief CHOGM on the situation in Zimbabwe from the perspective of his mediation. A Mbeki flying out of Harare to engage a CHOGM already poisoned by the man who bears "scars of Mugabe’s brutality", the British reasoned, would look absurd to proffer an optimistic prognosis. Given all this, Tsvangirai could not have come to a charitable Mbeki.

Hence the long MDC faces to emerge from the short meeting on Thursday, which the indefatigable Dumisani Muleya sought to perfume and repaint handsome. More than Mugabe can ever hope to do, desolate Tsvangirai is doing much to consolidate Zanu-PF’s image on the continent and abroad. And all these spectacular blunders indicate what remains of the faction which Chaibva declares has since become a fraction!

A faction that has become a fraction

More fractions. Mudzuri, oh Mudzuri, the boastful character! After a few hot ones (it does not have to be real beer), he is known to brag that only vaMugabe and he enjoy a national vote, he as mayor of Harare. Once upon a time, that is. Mudzuri is determined to add another boast in his brag. He wants to be leader of a new political party to take on Zanu-PF, born out of the rabble of the MDC.

He is decidedly irreverent in his description of Tsvangirai, and considers himself the focal point of the Matibenga effort which, by the way, enjoyed the backing of all democratic resistance committee "commanders", in this latest encounter with Tsvangirai’s thugs at Harvest House.

Mudzuri takes the likes of Mukonoweshuro; takes the likes of the irascible Kombayi, who would not be blocked in the ill-fated Saturday meeting. Back in Gweru, Kombayi controls all the structures against Tsvangirai, obliging the allegiance of all but one chairman. One needs to understand the migratory affinities between Masvingo and Midlands in Zimbabwe’s geopolitics. Matibenga has become a symbol of the Karanga factor in this faction which, unable to evolve a cause and an ideology, is woven around politics’ superfices.

And Biti?

For now, Biti stands seemingly close to the "president", but inwardly enjoying the accelerated destruction of his boss which leaves him with so many possibilities. After all, if the old MDC was a British creature, its successor — if ever there is going to be one — is going to be made by Zanu-PF. And Biti is close enough for notice.

One waits to see whether courtship with Mashakada, on the one hand, and Welshman Ncube, on the other, leads to conception and pregnancy. If it does, interesting things are in the offing. In the meantime, the British are threatening to put Zanu-PF "moles" on sanctions list, opening the stage for a night of long knives.

Joining the sanctions list

A real test for Biti is coming. Let me disclose that the inter-party dialogue is coming to some conclusion. Much of the work is done, with only item 5 remaining. This is the item which focuses on land and sanctions, among other things, an item dominated by Zanu-PF’s demands (I hope Muleya gets educated!). This item would have been despatched had it not been for Chinamasa’s other fixtures. I quite sympathise with all those who say MDC is pitted against years and years of Zanu-PF’s negotiating skills.

With Lisbon around the corner, item 5 assumes an extraordinary poignancy. Zanu-PF will push both factions to renounce and denounce sanctions; to uphold the land issue as a legitimate national question which stands resolved, irrevocably resolved, thanks to the Zanu-PF way of doing political business. Both positions have an especial resonance on Lisbon, on Britain and the EU specifically.

Once this is adopted, Lisbon will face an Africa which militantly demands that sanctions against Zimbabwe be lifted impedimenta, echoing the Sadc March Dar Communique. Britain will not be there to argue. Brown will not be there, which means the EU response will be lame, very lame, at every turn. Which brings up the big test to Biti, Welshman and their MDCs. If they accept the Zanu-PF position, they will have done the British in, and are sure to be included on the sanctions list, under Zanu-PF. If they comport to losing Britain’s foreign policy whims, they come back home to derision and collapsed talks, indeed will come home to a hostile Africa.

I hold the key

More than ever before, MDC formations are being asked to choose between being of Africa or by Europe. Whichever way the choose, Zanu-PF stands to win. I have said we will finish this irritant called sanctions this year. I still say so. Above all, more than ever, the MDC faction led by Tsvangirai is being asked to make a leadership choice in an environment of a gale. Unlike Jonah, this Morgan is not about to ask to be hurled. He is kicking. He will not go and would rather all drown. In short, he holds the keys!

Rylander and sinking Sweden

Now I know why Rylander has been stirring the Zimbabwean pot so vigorously. Back home, his government is divided, badly divided, over the issue of Zimbabwe. The liberal Prime Minister of Sweden wishes to go to Lisbon, justified by a public relations postulate that Portugal must bar President Mugabe from attending. Sweden fully knows Portugal cannot possibly do that, and still have the summit.

Elements within the coalition government which runs Sweden are saying the issue of Sweden’s attendance is not yet decided. There is an impasse which Rylander was hoping to help resolve by painting Zimbabwe darker than darkest. He is plain dishonest, and may pestilential airs that afflict all vandals gnaw his two-sitting apparatus!

Who is the Law Society in the National Scheme?

When did the Standard realise Masimirembwa owns and runs fowls? When? The day he ordered the reversal of illegal ZimInd newspaper prices? When also did the Standard know that Masimirembwa had problems with the Law Society?

So we get a burst of journalistic truth from the Standard the moment someone crosses its own path or that of its mother? It sounds a bit of disingenuous blackmail, does it not? Let us concentrate on the Law Society issue. The same Law Society blacklisted Lovemore Madhuku, the useless leader of NCA.

He had dipped his amoral fingers into a trust account. He was convicted of the offence. The same Law Society decided to rehabilitate him, against an enormous controversy regarding management of funds of the NCA. Madhuku is a political ally of the Law Society and all his sins shall be forgiven, leaving him white like wool.

The Standard had no problems with that. It wrote no headlines about that. Many other lawyers with far less offences (the Nyeketes, the Mararikes) to this day remain in limbo, many years after their "inexpiable" sins, which are redder than Macbeth’s dripping sword. This is the view of the righteous Law Society.

Partisans in law

Once you do not chant "Chinja!", you are in eternal trouble. Never mind that there is no Chinja anymore. The burdens of being a lawyer! Ndosaka vamwe takaita Shona mhani. But the matter is a lot larger. What is the status of the judgment of a narrow, unrepresentative and decidedly partisan professional group in national affairs? Is its judgment supposed to be proxy to Government?

Such that whoever it condemns stands condemned always, stands un-appointable for all times? That makes the Law Society Government’s surrogate, does it not? Do these papers understand what they are writing about? Government does not stand bound by unilateral judgments of unprofessional societies, less so when led by party partisans. Never! To hell with the dubious verdicts of the Law Society, if a real society it is. Who does not know it is in society with the British? I say to hell.



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