Friday, 14 March 2008

MDC: When white is the colour of opposition

MDC: When white is the colour of opposition



MR DEVALUATION is in trouble. His campaign is limping and bleeding. The rescue team is at a loss. Musekiwa Kumbula cannot help it.

Everyone who used to be part of the act now blames him as the brains behind the "thing".

If ever he was, then he has very shallow brains.

Godfrey Chanetsa, ironically President Mugabe’s uncle, will find it easier to salvage his 20-pigs-a-week abattoir than reclaim Makoni from sure slaughter.

Not even John Tsimba who fled abroad in agony after being rejected in his home Chihota in 2000.

These old Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunications Press officers are out of depth. They were supposed to be Simba’s propaganda equivalent of the much-vaunted retired army officer recruits of the "thing".

Mudhara Shamuyarira must be deeply disappointed at this incompetent treachery.

I told you that Nkosana is already gone, never to return.

Then there is a whole squadron of image minders loaned to Simba Makoni by white South Africa and Britain.

A whole web of white media channels in both South Africa and Britain, but which cannot make a difference.

He should have asked Morgan Tsvangirai who was launched the same way but still lost.

When Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall

Simba’s media skills are disastrous, and Trevor Ncube is having to do repeated damage control.

I can vouch that from a media point of view, Simba is an ignorant chemist. I saw a bit of that when he tried to run for some top banking job on the continent.

He lost dismally, and blamed his country for it!

Now Trevor Ncube thinks with R300 000, he can make up for the foibles of Simba the person by investing in Simba the image.

Harare has grown yellow, the deceptive colour of Simba’s white politics.

Simba’s latest alibi is that he does not have resources for his campaign.

He got £1,3 million from the British.

He cannot blame resources.

Ibbotson Joseph has been handling a campaign budget of nearly $20 trillion.

It cannot be a matter of resources.

Makoni’s posters are imported.

His T-shirts are paid for in US dollars.

He is the surrogate of the rich and powerful, an errand boy of the pound sterling.

He claims he cannot organise rallies but can only handle meet-the-people escapades.

So he stops at growth points, bus termini and markets where people spontaneously obey their curiosities.

Too obsessed with anti-people economics of devaluation, Simba never ventured into the countryside to meet the people whose purse he was handling.

He was the phantom they knew as the source of their difficulties. And when the phantom is finally felled, who does not come to see it in its last gasps?

Simba thinks he can bank on spontaneous curiosity or the human craving for spectacle, which he opportunistically appropriates as own crowd. But give it to him; he knows how to manage and stretch ephemeral support.

He makes it a point he never visits the same venue twice.

Curiosity is momentary, sure to grow coy through extended exposure. I saw Ibbotson Joseph on one television clip. He looked troubled, deeply troubled.

He should be. It is the only correct response. Mazowe is no home. Not even ill timed seed packs could salvage his sleeping campaign. He has also upset many people.

He has threatened quite a few more, including those in the media, through a very bald psycho-op.

Now he has messed up the career of a senior official at the State broadcaster who, hoping for plenty out of this limping campaign, did a few foolish things for which he shall be held fully to account.

Ibbotson is a sad man, very sad man indeed.

But he is not the type that loses, if you get my meaning. He knows what crop to harvest in an electoral season, while others are hunting human capital and fame.

And then Bornwell Chakaodza?

Well, he cannot understand why the old man is pulling massive crowds. In disbelief, he cannot even agree with his own brother, Austin, who apparently sees better from so far away, from short sojourns in the country, than does this jaundiced, failed bureaucrat so past use for anyone, for anything.

Zhing-zhong president

The British made one serious miscalculation.

When they invented Simba Makoni, apparently to make up for the congenital weakness of their first ace — Morgan Tsvangirai — they had not budgeted for a backlash.

Makoni was thought to have the intellect, which Morgan does not have. He was trusted to borrow the aura of liberation, which Morgan squandered.

Today Simba is the butt of both Zanu-PF and MDC-Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai calls him "a zhing-zhong president".

For a man whose name is "samba" which imply durability, this is a devastating judgment, only mistaken on two counts.

Why debase the noble zhing-zhong by making such a comparison? And why ask a fly to deliver such sweet honey? Tsvangirai is the last person to be served by a metaphor, which suggests both cheapness and external handling.

He is both himself. I cannot understand why a pot, chimbiya chaicho, should laugh at the sooty bottom of a kettle, the same way I could not understand Roy Bennett complaining about white foreigners imposing candidates on the MDC.

Let us not beat about the bush. The MDC is itself an imposition of the Zimbabwean people.

Roy Bennett is a white Briton for whom Zimbabwean citizenship is a matter of expediency.

When the chips are down, the fair weather citizenship vanishes. Every African here knows it. But both interventions were incisive and very useful, both clearly revealing the hypocrisy at the heart of opposition politics in this country.

That is my subject this week. But let me complete my point on Simba who faces fire from all sides.

The end of brooding silence

General Mujuru (Rtd) has distanced himself from Simba’s "thing", if anything it is, apart from it being questionably his.

I mentioned last week that Simba was unduly benefiting from silence within the Zanu-PF hierarchy, which is why the best strategy has been to force those of foolhardy ilk like Dumiso Dabengwa to come out, and those claimed by Makoni like General Mujuru to simply state where they stand.

This week the General did, clearly denying Simba the benefit of recruiting through brooding silence.

Simba’s main sponsors — the BRITISH — are seeking to help him out. They want to destabilise the Central Intelligence Organisation by claiming its leadership, the same way they sought through the not-so-clever Dabengwa to soil Chinamasa, hoping to break Zanu-PF’s legal wing.

It is a desperate campaign, which hopes to reap from sponsored suspicion.

It has fallen flat on its face and Simba knows it. This is why he and Dabengwa are hoping for some audience with the Zanu-PF Politburo leadership.

That they will not get, with the next sitting of that body set to simply formalise Dumiso’s expulsion.

I described Makoni as the proverbial pebble dropped to gauge depth. I still do.

Except the depth is now known and no one else wishes to drown.

Gasping Simba is furiously beating the surface, legs desperately seeking a firm bottom in this very deep pond.

Read the long piece in last week’s Standard, done for him by Mandaza.

Literally, he sues for peace, complaining to Zanu-PF for directing its fire at him, not at Tsvangirai.

The war veterans do not want to see him at all, and the State now protects him from an important limb of the Party to which he claims membership.

Ncube’s loan to Dabengwa/Makoni

Equally, the few Zipra fighters who initially felt led by Dumiso, have now abandoned him.

They do not like his politics, which are breakaway politics.

They do not like the way the accounts of the Zambezi Water Project look. They fear a major audit soon to come.

They do not like what has happened to the late Vice President’s logging project.

Above all, they do not want to be associated with anything that smacks of a rebellion.

Foolishly, Dabengwa confesses to what we have all known, namely that he was never in Zanu-PF, never for unity.

He did not go far enough, though. He should have added he has always worked with Welshman Ncube’s faction, including borrowing its crowds in his fight against Jabulani Sibanda.

That is a fact and I challenge him to deny it.

The same way I challenge Simba Makoni to deny that the same crowd who came to his launch rally in Bulawayo, is the same crowd which Mutambara used the following day.

This is why both could not afford to launch on the same day. The pictures are there and I challenge both to deny that. So their campaign is in a very sorry state, with the likes of Kumbula hoping that directing South African journalists to upmarket pubs, where Simba’s executive supporters drink, will sustain the lie.

Deep down, they know the vote is in rural areas and the townships where Simba’s reality is only second to that of the father dinosaur.

When Zimbabwe is less than $15

Back to Morgan Tsvangirai.

Surely, with all his white backers Morgan can at least give us good English? What is meant by "Morgan is more"?

Coke is more, perhaps?

Which makes it a perfect analogy, given his American political origin!

In communication you are always taught that when you enter a room, know first where the exit door is.

No one seems to want to do that for Tsvangirai. Why take a punch line, which provokes a devastating comeback?

Zanu-PF did not have to do much.

It simply gave back to Tsvangirai his own words about the liberation struggle and personal advancement as a machine operator under settler colonial circumstances.

He would not go to join the liberation struggle because his family badly needed the $15 the Rhodesians gave him as a wage.

His family came first before all else, including liberating this country. He went much further.

While the departure of his black brethren for the struggle meant he faced little competition on the racialised job market, the departure of white technicians for call-up meant he got opportunities galore, to get closer mining machines, all along exclusively white-operated.

No thought is spared to the fact that he was negating the war of liberation by showing up the Rhodesian economy, which funded Smith’s war effort.

Can Zimbabweans turn to such a man for the protection of the revolution he repudiated, let alone for the protection of its gains, which are a heavy loss to whites who employed him?

And if he is so used to cutting selfish opportunities for himself and his family in circumstances of slavery, how does he become "more" to the larger family called Zimbabwe?

Did not Mugabe have a family to look after?

Did not war veterans have brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers to look after?

Are we meeting the disposition of a man who can defend the national interest, indeed who can take risks for a country and people whose liberation for him came last, after the immediate needs of his ego and family?

Now he does not like the fist and says the war ended 27 years ago!

He knows the end of a war with whose beginning and middle he would have nothing to do!

He declares an end to a war whose second phase he played Trojan horse to in 1999?

MDC’s Goosen and Joubert.

I said there is deep-seated hypocrisy in opposition politics.

There is, but one which is proving increasingly difficult to sustain to the watchful. Take Matabeleland.

You have David Joubert and Alex Goosen fighting for Bubi constituency, against Zanu-PF’s Clifford Sibanda.

Both lost land to the Third Chimurenga. Both were part of the Rhodesian army, with Goosen being part of the notorious Selous Scouts.

They are real raw Rhodies who have this distinct trait of being very sincere men, too sincere even to be expedient.

Both told the Bulawayo Quill Club they are contesting to remove Zanu-PF so they can recover their land and that of fellow whites similarly expropriated.

Even more astoundingly, both claim a hand in the disturbances which affected Matabelaland and parts of Midlands in the early part of our Independence.

Both find a comfortable house in the two formations of the MDC! What is the source of their comfort? Both agree to share the stage at the Bulawayo Quill Club, remarkably co-joined by a shared colour and shared grievance over lost land.

Everything else, the MDC split included, is academic!

You begin to understand the quick of MDC politics, itself needing a carefully worded land policy to bluff the voter.

Behind the rhetoric of "land commission", "land audit", "fair, equitable and transparent" and "productivity" and "food security", are the overriding interests of Goosen and Joubert, themselves personifications of restoration of colonial land rights.

Watch out Zimbabwe!

Coltart of Cato

But there is more. Yesterday we had David Coltart and one Marian Tupy of the CIA-funded Cato Institute’s Centre for Global Liberty and Prosperity co-authoring a piece in Wall Street Journal, itself the mouthpiece of Corporate and Political America.

The focus is on Mugabe, principally why he should not only be defeated, but put away in some cell in Europe.

Grudgingly, the piece concedes that the candidacies of "Messrs Tsvangirai and Makoni" are "hopeless", although "not meaningless".

The meaning is white, decidedly white.

Both make a point which is reminiscent of what Dabengwa was telling the Harare Quill Club only a day before this article: "In 1987, he [Joshua Nkomo] agreed to merge his party with Zanu in exchange for the largely meaningless title of Zimbabwe’s vice-president."

Dabengwa and his white club

All this needs a perspective.

It is important to keep in focus the long-standing relationship between Dabengwa and a whole cabal of whites who reside in Matabeland.

Apart from farmers, you have David Coltart, Father Nigel, Judith Todd and many others, including one who resides at his farm ostensibly as his livestock manager.

If you add the Indian factor, you have a fuller picture, made fullest by a miscellany of Bulawayo-based civic groups which have been the principal vehicle of Dabengwa’s divisive, break-away politics of tribal confrontation.

Also noteworthy is that Tupy and Coltart are writing against the background of the Indigenisation Act which has caused such a stir in transnational capital as to deserve a prolonged two-day stay on CNN.

From their perspective, the differences between Makoni, Mutambara and Tsvangirai are non-existent from the vantage point of the preservation of white interests in Zimbabwe.

All are instruments towards this end. I could make reference to one John Stewart of NOVASC, itself a fa├žade for Western slash funds.

A roving intelligence officer of a Western country I shall have occasion to name, he prefers to call himself "a world citizen", a status which gives him cosmopolitan powers to call upon the EU to invade Zimbabwe before the elections, to save the opposition from a whitewash.

In his tow while in Brussels were three stooges: Taka Zhou, Maureen Kademaunga and Dewa Mavhinga, all meant to provide good cover to his activities. Tupy, Coltart and Stewart’s role is to lend a human rights cover to Goosen and Joubert’s case, which is the case of Rhodesia’s white landed gentry. The opposition’s pseudo-nationalist patina is wearing very, very thin. As we move towards the week of reckoning, the whiteness of their agenda cannot be tucked away any longer.

EU’s surrogate observers

What is Chris McGreal of the British Guardian up to? Does he for once think that he has got the better of the system?

He is a British establishment man and allows us some insight into its mind.

The feedback from John Simpson and now from him surely must show the British their project here has collapsed?

Do they have to deploy spies masquerading as journalists and tourists in such industrial quantities?

To salvage what? But there is something we must take very good care of. The British-led EU seeks to monitor elections using media surrogates.

They have drawn "star correspondents" and crews from Iraq and Kenya, well known flashpoints as if to suggest small Zimbabwe’s election story is both international and a matter of war. We know these not as reporters but as agitators imbedded in journalism. They have given the game away and I am sure those in authority know what to do.

Diffusing Kenya

Except the plan has been left until too late.

President Mugabe should never have been given a chance to demonstrate his electoral strength on the ground, if the wish was to project him an unelectable dictator who steals elections; if the hope was to build a Kenyan-style public outrage and outcry.

Who has not seen the numbers Mugabe has been attracting, as to make his triumph on March 29 unexpected?

Conversely, who has not seen the diminishing loiterers the opposition has been dragging along, from rally to rally?

How do you rouse Zimbabweans for Kenyan-style mayhem?

You have to have offended people’s sense of natural justice, surely?

And in this case, that sense is on Mugabe’s side, is it not? But also a Kenya-like scenario rests on an irresolute state, does it not? Do they see one such here?

Mr McGreal, do a bit more asking before you are arrested and you will not need long to find out.

Banking on empty

But you are right. This is the last chance for the British. Which is why you and colleagues do not need such reckless risks.

I notice the British are trying to influence the AU team which is due here for election observation. As in Kenya, they want it to withhold its verdict so preconceived opposition claims on vote rigging can be upheld.

Well, they have banked on empty. The Sadc team has already shown how this is such a bad investment for Britain.

I hope the diplomats got the accent in the address right, particularly the chairman’s insistence on adherence to laws mutually agreed by all parties to the polls.

The platoon of forces — military and non-military — which Britain has stationed in the region, is set to walk back home, limping like her acolytes here. And it shall be uhuru forever. Icho!

l Feedback: nathaniel.manheru@zimpapers.co.zw

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