Saturday, 18 October 2008

Zanu-PF: Beware of the ‘eve’ psychosis

Zanu-PF: Beware of the ‘eve’ psychosis

I HAVE often wondered why my column is so diligently read in many circles, Zanu-PF included.

I have also wondered why its often aberrant and irreverent thoughts tend to draw the sharpest reaction from persons in powerful spheres, including representatives of powerful states.

I have become a subject of discussion in courtesy calls, negotiating forums and boardrooms, all of them settings of power, sources of major ideas, indeed habitats of potentates.

Some want me lynched; others want me roasted from the temple downwards; all are united and unanimous that my sharp and in their view, poisoned pen certainly invites and deserves deep grief which, sooner, must visit my little person as a matter of retributive justice and expiation.

Then you have the MDC lot, with its strange coping mechanism of denying that they ever read my column, while proceeding to complain bitterly against its latest postulates.

You are struck by how current they are with the column’s preoccupations and arguments, struck by the accuracy and freshness of their quotes meant to prove I peddle "Zanu-PF hate speech".

You are struck by how well they trim their arguments and conduct, all to its dictates.

How they achieve this deep acquaintance with my "unread" column, I cannot quite say.

In my quiet moments, I ask myself: how have I managed this feat of upsetting powerful deities from these polar opposites.

Oftentimes I suffer a presentiment of hubris, an overbearing sense of ending consequent upon upsetting mighty gods, even challenging them to an open field wrestle.

I also must confess that in my other moments of reckless pride, this reflection gives me quite a handful of pleasure.

After all I seem to be in good company.

Here is Salman Rushdie: "For in the years to come you will find yourselves up against gods of all sorts, big and little gods, corporate and incorporeal gods, all of them demanding to be worshipped and obeyed — the myriad deities of money and power, of convention and custom, that will seek to limit and control your thoughts and lives.

Defy them; that is my advice to you.

Thumb your noses; cock your snooks.

For, as the myths tells us, it is by defying the gods that human beings have best expressed their humanity."

The "where are we" syndrome

So this does not worry me.

What does is a character trait I often detect within the leadership of the ruling Zanu-PF.

You meet some politician from the ruling party and the question you can expect is: "So what’s happening?" Or its variant: "So where are we?" Frankly, the question is as obscene as two dogs behaving badly where there are people, parikuroodzwa mwanasikana.

Coming from men and women who rule and thus whose ideas must lead, must rule, such a question however mutated, suggests a disheartening abnegation, a puzzling and capitulationist climb-down from the plinth of leadership – both of thought and of deed.

The worst that can happen to a ruling party is to be unable to understand the moment, which means being unable to understand the agenda and line of the day.

How do you enter history, still less shape it, if you cannot interpret the times, itself the starting point for shaping those times? The gods cannot be puzzled and still hope to remain gods.

And of course asking where we are, suggests not an inhabitant of the terraces — itself a bad dwelling place for makers of history — but a man or woman actually too late for and too far from the terraces.

Yet to rule is to act consciously, well before the rest of society has caught up with where you are driving it towards, which is why citizens often turn to history to understand moments they have lived through.

Registering mutability

What am I driving at? Simple: it is inexcusable for the leadership of the ruling party to be unable to understand the times.

Inexcusable for little gods to ask what time of day it is when mere mortals under them think they make day; think they make night, both of them markers of time for those living under its tyranny.

And it is the fact of living above time which makes the gods immutable.

The ruling party cannot ask "where are we", without registering its mutability.

The question suggests perplexity, real deep befuddlement quite unseemly of gods.

A "where are we" from a supposed maker of history thins out to a plaintive "where am I"? But not in the vigorous, philosophical sense of existentialism; only in the uninspiring and uninspired sense of acute impotence.

And even an unimaginative alibi where you pretend you are lost with the rest implied by the plural "we", when in fact you are only confessing to a punishable dereliction.

There are many in the ruling party who seem unclear of their role when their principals are negotiating.

They do not seem to know strategies of strengthening the hand of their negotiators.

Excused from history?

The biggest threat to the ruling party is not the MDC, the British, the Europeans, the Americans, much as all these are a veritable factor.

The biggest threat to the ruling party is its resignation from history, resignation from actions that make history, opting instead for the lulling "where are we", un-existential posture.

It is a posture that suggests a leadership type that is not even weary of making history, but one that has actually deserted that role.

A leadership adrift and hoping for powerful traction from somewhere to anywhere or nowhere.

The so-called political negotiations for an inclusive Government have sanctified the AWOL of ruling party members.

Except for President Mugabe, Mnangagwa, Goche, Chinamasa and one or two others, everyone else in the ruling party feels excused from history, even feeling righteous about it.

And the fact of asking "Where are we?" exculpates you from any responsibility, from any consequences arising from playing your part in engaging the baneful MDC, they reason, forgetting we are where we are because of what we did or did not do before and on March 29.

That is where the rain began to beat us and the current talks are a mere salvage effort, fullstop.

"Where are we" exonerates you from any unsavoury outcomes from the talks, registers your baby innocence as a child-man, child-woman.

What rank hypocrisy! Or is the leadership numbed by the sheer awesomeness of the unanticipated ramifications of March 29? Where you had men and women who would have found ample space in 31 cabinet posts, you now have a multitude jostling for a mere 15 posts.

Or simply abandoning all hope for any useful role outside of a ministerial one.

It can be quite unsettling, indeed appear sound enough reason for a consuming sense of the ending, of passive resignation, suggested by the very question under examination, so often posed by those who must know and answer it.

The ruling party seems in the grip of giant anomie, profound wistfulness which can be dangerously paralysing.

The "eve" psychosis

What is worse, this angst has given rise to a dangerous sense of a threshold.

It is a sense of a threshold which has now been turned enormous by the fact that those who are supposed to lead seem resigned to follow, literally swept by a presentiment of a millenarianism they cannot name, let alone shape.

There is an overbearing sense of waiting, itself suggestive of a deep sense of entrapment which thus makes anything which is not the present seem and look like something new.

The MDC, I am afraid, has skilfully played on this psychosis of TINA — there is no alternative — to give this collective angst and resignation a palatable name called "democratic change" or "new Zimbabwe".

Never mind that they are not in charge of the national tempo.

But the fact that they have a name for it — certainly a wrong one — has given them some claim to leadership.

I have termed this state of mind "the eve psychosis", itself the bane of the ruling party’s present politics.

People cannot live with an overwhelming feeling of the threshold which you as a ruler cannot name or shape, without suggesting you have become a butt of history.

Helping the MDC

What this eve psychosis has done is to dignify treacherous knavery.

In its present form, the MDC cannot give this society leaders or leadership.

It is a party of hungry knaves who cannot think beyond the grandeur of office, think beyond a sumptuous morsel and pat from the master.

MDC can never lead this society; it can only deliver it to those who have occupied and led it before.

This is why their discourse hardly goes beyond controlling powerful ministries.

They can only be office bearers who obey a larger pull.

And a return to a colonial past cannot be "new", "democratic", let alone "change".

It is a throwback, a giant march backward, only made inviting by the ruling party’s dereliction of leadership which has made stepping forward such a frightful prospect, such a forbidding pain.

I ask a simple question to all those in leadership of Zanu-PF: why have we helped MDC by making power-sharing the national issue, the great question of the day, of the Nation? Why? Even people who cannot venture anywhere near the hemp of this great power to be shared, today feel so passionate about it.

Is that the matter, the question really?

Hande kuminda

As I write this piece, the skies have grown darker, rumbling with the pregnancy of eager rains, and thus the tantalising promise of plenty to this our very hungry nation.

It is time to break the clod, seed the earth for tomorrow’s harvest.

The cicadas wail, the trees show verdure and look nubial, as if in heat, ready and mourning for mating.

Yet our politics suggest the season’s mating cycle can wait for power-sharing talks, can wait for some agreement with these idle tools of Britain.

That the talks will bring another season, another rain another time.

I despair.

Is Zanu-PF not the party of the Land, party yekuminda? Has it now become the party of hallways? Is not the main issue for national action the countryside, not Rainbow Towers? Why have we not pulled the national psyche kuminda whence comes our ultimate politics and all solutions to our collective vulnerabilities as a free, independent people and nation? Why have we allowed MDC to push us into this vortex of barren politics we know are meant to ruin yet another season, in the process preparing us for an unconditional capitulation in the next cycle of hunger?

Have we not seen enough? Should we ask: where are we, when the cicadas scream and yell back answers at us? Do we not hear haya — the water bird — wailing for our notice? Do we not see nyenga-nyenga gaily diving into the approaching season; indeed see nature in its most lecherous and coquettish plumage? Who mates with it; who seeds it? Until Zanu-PF realises MDC is tempting it away from the real issue, into a very dangerous realm of distraction, then we are in for a rude awakening.

A clear headed ruling party would know that a crocodile fights best in water, never on the high backbone of a dry earth.

Cease dereliction, oh ruling party.

The great question of the day is solving the issue of the stomach, of empty granaries.

That is the question.

And the country is ready, once bitten by the present hunger. It is very easy to mobilise it, transfix it on the issue of production.

Leave MDC alone, debating power they will never have. Use the power you have to go back to the peasant, gird his loins agriculturally.

That is the language of politics of tomorrow, a Zanu-PF tomorrow in which the MDC cannot but kowtow. That is what matters, what will count in tomorrow’s politics.

Not these soundbites which deliver food for thoughts, but hardly any for the stomach, indeed which give our nation a harvest of thorns.



No comments: