Sunday, 15 February 2009

Zimbabwe: Back to halcyon days!

Zimbabwe: Back to halcyon days!

WHILE I agree with JOMIC’s call for some forbearance in respect of the newly inaugurated inclusive government, I hotly oppose any attempt to privilege this new arrangement.

Or to turn JOMIC into some kind of "policeman" over the media.

And JOMIC’s meeting with journalists did not do much to dispel this apprehension. For a start, there was no one from the Information Ministry, as if to suggest a new, supra-governmental regulatory layer was being inaugurated.

Secondly, the remarks from the speakers were pretty hackneyed and even intimidatory, in fact reminiscent of Zimbabwe in the early eighties.

The whole event would have been more useful if JOMIC had sought to achieve greater media understanding through a very detailed, off-the-record brief on the whole political process and its prospects.

Much worse, the format of getting representatives of political parties to speak rotationally, in equal measure, suggested exactly the opposite of what the speakers were asserting and sought to project.

Mis-governance by consensus?

But there are more substantive reasons for keeping media regulation off JOMIC’s limits. Politically, after the inauguration of the inclusive government Zimbabwe will not have an official opposition.

It will be governed by consensual politics worked out by the hitherto warring parties.

This raises the spectre of consensual mis-governance to which we have to find institutional cures by way of countervailing alternative power points.

Needless to say the media is one such. JOMIC was set up specifically to review or audit the political agreement of the three parties.

That does not quite give it a blank cheque over larger societal institutions.

While the media, alongside other countervailing institutions normal in a democracy, have to defer to the new kid on the block, they do not have to doff to it.

Whatever adjective comes before it, the new creature to emerge out of the September 15 Agreement is still a government whose work or lack of it impacts variously on citizens.

As it makes decisions, implements them, it will draw reactions — some happy, some quite unhappy — from various interest groups who will seek ventilation through the media.

Bringing views of citizens into the public domain is the reason for existence of the media which profits power by communicating feedback to it.

The bicker from within

More practically, politicians themselves will be the first ones to scald the inclusive government.

Not the media.

We are already beginning to get a foretaste of this: by way of larger pronouncements and visions purveyed before the new creature launches its inaugural meeting by way of cabinet.

There is impulsiveness.

There is perfect confusion regarding party agendas and governmental policies and programmes.

What is worse, one sees an uncanny attempt to answer to outside interests before the views of Zimbabweans — themselves the owners of this thing — are consulted.

Noticing this propensity, outsiders have not wasted time in setting parameters and benchmarks for the new government.

The British have done so, in the process exhibiting their disavowal of this settlement. The Americans are being made to have said so, much as I know better.

The European Union is still keeping a façade of unanimity to placate Britain, much as I know that a good number of member countries are already putting feelers on how best to break out of the straitjacket of British government hatred of Mugabe, which daily pretends to pass for "a policy".

It is a pity that a country that seeks to "mother" another, shows such spiteful fixation with mere individuals, while the "child" shows such remarkable precocity.

Surely a whole big country whose roots in international relations span over centuries cannot obsess over Mugabe, Tsvangirai, Gono, etc, etc?

It suggests a certain infantile outlook which strikes one as backward.

And of course as politicians in the inclusive government jockey and bicker, they will seek the support of different sections of the media, in the process entrenching the polarisation which already exists.

Usurpation of power?

What is more, the Zimbabwe Media Commission, itself a constitutional body, is set for launching.

All the parties agreed to its formation, and even set clear parameters for its operations. Is it not better suited for the kind of role JOMIC sought to do last week?

Does it not have a better claim to leadership in the media industry?

And when members of JOMIC go to serve in different ministries of the inclusive government, can they make demands on the media without appearing to want to put themselves above scrutiny as performers in the inclusive government? I think the idea of creating a media subcommittee under JOMIC is ill-advised.

It must be shelved before a situation of conflict pitting it against the parent Ministry and the proposed Zimbabwe Media Commission.

Media impertinences

I said I agree with JOMIC in so far as the new experiment needs to be nurtured. Or rather in so far as the media need to understand the new political arrangement.

Already, there is abundant evidence that the media have not understood the moment.

For instance, does it make sense to describe the new Prime Minister as taking "charge"?

Taking charge of what?

And this said before the full cabinet is in place?

And this said before the first Cabinet meeting? This said before the Prime Minister has even got staff?

You can see an outdated media working in old mould, in pre-inclusivity mode.

Does it make sense to put the new prime minister under pressure in respect of accused persons already under the charge of courts?

Why instigate the prime minister to undermine the courts on the very first day of taking office? Does it make sense to ask him what he will do on the economy?

What he will do for workers?

What the new Finance Minister will do with the Zimbabwe Dollar; will do with the Governor of the Reserve Bank?

And this from journalists who have copies of the budget on their desks?

And this from journalists who are supposed to know how the cabinet system works; who are supposed to know the place and status of the RBZ and its Governor in terms of the law of the land?

Who appoints the Governor of the Reserve Bank?

Clearly there are sections of the media who are seeking conflict, indeed seeking to upset and ruin the spirit of inclusivity.

By so doing, they are bringing into the home logs infested with ants.

They should not cry when "JOMIC" or some such creature pays them a visit.

Well before they have educated Zimbabweans on what this new creature is all about, they are already seeking a throwback to the days of conflict.

Which way Zimbabwe?

What then is the way forward?

Last week I challenged the inclusive government by asking it to tell us under whose colours it is marching.

That challenge still stands, and will, in my view, determine what amount of harmony there will be in the new structure.

For external western powers, the issue has been whether or not Mugabe will yield to Tsvangirai.

The challenge of recovering the economy has been presented as that of Tsvangirai alone.

I hope we have got to the bottom of this whole argument.

It is an argument about the vision of the new government, specifically a demand to know how nationalistic the new arrangement will be. Or the obverse: how neo-colonial the new arrangement will be.

If it remains nationalistic, the western world has made it clear it will not move in with any assistance, whatever that means.

For any structure with a nationalistic fervour will suggest Mugabe has not given way, something quite in conflict with what I know inclusivity to mean.

If it becomes neo-colonial, aid will come flowing, whatever that aid means.

It will mean Mugabe will have given way. This is exactly what Milliband and Brown meant when they said they will judge the new government in terms of how far it provides a window for Mugabe’s departure.

A window for regime change, in other words, to the extent that Mugabe personifies the liberation government.

Disregarding coy West

Now, how do those in the new government view things? For me that is what is fundamental.

Zimbabwe has had its days of glory in the recent past. In fact until ESAP and sanctions, Zimbabwe was a vibrant, going concern.

It has, in other words, a glorious past to draw from. Zimbabwe has her own resources and a vibrant private sector tradition for exploiting those resources.

It is a rich country full of ingenuity.

While the former is God-given, the latter was achieved through a set of policies deliberately pursued at Independence.

The men and women who designed those policies are still in Government, this time renewed by a change agent called MDC.

In fact those in the MDC cannot dispute this point without negating themselves.

Almost to the man and woman, they are products of post-independence enterprise in Government, an enterprise that got fatigued somewhere, somewhat.

To be pro-people while being pro-private initiative is probably what is needed.

Zimbabwe now has more partners outside of the West. The resource world has more nations, more possibilities.

The present coyness of the West need not be a major hurdle, for as long as we know our strengths and our actual and potential allies. Western assistance may not be what begins; it could very well be what follows after we have made the first tentative steps, alone.

The West cannot afford to ignore Zimbabwe much longer, in a world of resource hungry powers always on the prowl.

Nor should we worry about Mr Brown. If we should worry at all, we should worry about a country called Britain, a people called the British. On it, in them we should dock our foreign relations politics respectively.

Not in Mr Brown. After all, it will not be long before the British people do us a favour by handling Mr Brown for us. What is critical is what we can do with what, who, follows him.

The ambiguities of South African capital

Sadc made a commitment to assist. Already, we have seen a bit of that assistance coming in by way of agricultural inputs.

Another layer of intervention is at the level of currency, specifically the co-circulation of the rand in our economy. It is a very emotive issue, made worse by the fact that the South African economy remains predominantly white and multinational.

That country’s interface with sister republics in the region has not been that edifying. Zambia’s experience with South African capital has been especially sobering.

Had it not been for Chinese mining capital, Zambia would have been reduced to a giant supermarket of South Africa, the way many countries in the rand zone are presently. South African capital only creates real wealth in respect of extractive, non-renewable sectors. Rarely does it beneficiate. Even with the best intentions, the South African Government cannot check the predatory nature of capital in South Africa, particularly its propensity to de-industrialise its hinterland. Which is why we need a properly formulated response that is deeper than Minister Biti’s frenetic, knee-jerk views proffered through Al Jazeera.

Illustratively, after the South African President said it was possible to have Zimbabwe use the rand, the matter quickly became an issue for boardrooms, away from the Government House. It tells us who our partners will be, should we decide on that course of action.

Congratulations and welcome Sirs, Madame!

Whichever way we go, one thing is certain to me. No one man, no one party, will bring Zimbabwe back to her days of glory. It will not be Robert Mugabe. It will not be Morgan Tsvangirai or Arthur Mutambara.

It will be Zimbabweans united by the three men working together. That, for me, is what inclusivity is all about: getting Zimbabweans to refocus and work. In the meantime, congratulations and welcome Mr Prime Minister, Mr Deputy Prime Minister and Madame Deputy Prime Minister. I give my peace; I give my respect and earned support. Icho!

l nathaniel

Zimbabwe: Mamdani, Moyo And 'Deep Thinkers'

In response to the reaction of 33 scholars to the publishing of Mahmood Mamdani's 'Lessons of Zimbabwe', David Johnson casts doubt on their critique of an article that is ultimately informed by body of African expertise on Zimbabwe. While these scholars, along with Horace Campbell, seek to ignore or discredit the considerable research of Sam Moyo on the land question, Johnson stresses that 'deep thinking' requires an actual engagement with the scholarship of informed individuals in place of mere dismissals and allegations of Mugabe 'cronyism'.

Following his intervention in the stultifying 'debate' on Zimbabwe (Mahmood Mamdani, 'Lessons of Zimbabwe'), a squad of 33 scholars, mainly from the US and Europe, placed Mamdani and his main accomplice on the land question, Sam Moyo, in the firing line (Timothy Scarnecchia and Jocelyn Alexander et al, 'Lessons of Zimbabwe', London Review of Books, 2009-01-01). However, the executioners showed up with little but blanks and hubris, leaving this reader to ask more questions about their methods than their targets.

Scarnecchia and Alexander et al begin their response by chiding Mamdani for a simplistic take on Zimbabwe, leading one to anticipate the long awaited complexity of analysis on the Zimbabwe crisis. But their misrepresentation of Mamdani's argument on ethnicity as a portrayal of 'stark ethnic dichotomies' in the opening paragraph gave early indication of more polarised polemics on Zimbabwe and an inability to deliver. By the second paragraph promises to enrich the debate had been abandoned for hand wringing over their difficulty in persuading non-Zimbabwe specialists like Mamdani to think as 'deeply' on the crisis as they do. One major obstacle they have encountered in this quest to produce deep thinkers on Zimbabwe like themselves, is the virus of anti-imperialist rhetoric unleashed by the cunning Mugabe, who has 'fooled' Mamdani, but, thankfully, not our alert experts. As a humanitarian gesture, our scholars, most of whom don't see contemporary imperialism as a category for analysis in their scholarship, offer to help inoculate Mamdani from the dangerous anti-imperialist virus, noting that he is already showing symptoms of 'fantasy' from contact with it.

Relying on personal insults (Mamdani is 'dishonest') and attempts to link Mamdani's arguments to Mugabe and ZANU-PF narratives (what better or simpler way to dismiss an idea on Zimbabwe than associating it with the demonised Mugabe), the Africanists implore Mamdani to abandon the scholarship of Sam Moyo and company for that of their 'more informed scholarship' if he wants to be healed. No explanation is offered as to why Moyo, who has spent the past 25 years in Zimbabwe researching and writing on the land question - publishing four books and over twenty-five articles on the subject - is a less informed source of information and analysis than Scarnecchia and Alexander et al and contributors to the special bulletin on Zimbabwe by the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars (ACAS). The reader, one assumes, must simply trust in the wisdom of our self-declared deep thinkers, who, after all, are from the US and Europe, where true expertise on Africa resides. A reading of the literature recommended by the learned doctors as an antidote to the dangerous anti-imperialist virus and Moyo's scholarship revealed more documentation on the repressive state acknowledged by Mamdani, and a complete avoidance of the issues raised in the scholarship of Moyo and company.

These more informed deep thinking Africanists are not alone in urging Mamdani to detach himself from Moyo's work and see the light in their recommended sources. Emerging some distance to their left, Horace Campbell, a committed pan-Africanist and activist-scholar, also avoids an engagement with Moyo's work as employed by Mamdani, while dismissing its relevance, in the most curious manner. He faults Mamdani for 'merely recycling' the work of Moyo, even though he himself depended on Moyo's scholarship for his analysis of the land question in his book, Reclaiming Zimbabwe. It seems Moyo's data and analysis can no longer serve Campbell's polemics on the Zimbabwe crisis, but he offers no explanations of its shortcomings. He resorts instead to the diversionary tactics that have become stock in trade for many factions in the 'debate' on Zimbabwe, from the diaspora nationalists who can see no wrong in Mugabe and ZANU-PF to the human rights activists who must see all wrong.

He protests that the African Institute of Agrarian Studies (AIAS), which Moyo founded and directs in Harare, 'claim[s] that [the] horrors of Operation Murambatsvina (the operation to round up hundreds of thousands of citizens) were exaggerated by the western media', which Campbell seemingly presents as an abomination disqualifying their scholarship from critical engagement. How bizarre! I haven't seen the claim from the AIAS authors as there was no reference for the source, but since when did Campbell begin to see criticism of the Western media as a disqualification for being taken seriously on Zimbabwe? Of course they exaggerated the horrors of Operation Murambatsvina, as they did and do on so much else relating to Zimbabwe. Recently I heard folks on the BBC equating the current violence in Zimbabwe to the genocide in Rwanda. Is Campbell in agreement with them on this? Does he, like other scholars, think of admitting to the Western media's exaggeration while exposing the horrors of the repressive state in Zimbabwe as mutually exclusive projects? There might be a tension in these simultaneous pursuits of human rights and opposition activists, whose raison d'être in so many Zimbabwe instances centres on magnifying the horrors of the regime, but aren't scholars and intellectuals supposed to subscribe to another mode of analysis, another relationship with difficult truths?

A scholar who has expended as much energy and intellect as Sam Moyo in attempting to understand the land question in Zimbabwe deserves better treatment from his detractors. At the minimum, they could engage his scholarship and identify the fault lines. Relying on breast-beating about being more informed scholars or attempting to represent him as a Mugabe crony is a retreat from 'deep thinking'. Among other things, the scholarship of Moyo and the AIAS disrupts the dominant narrative around the war veterans as nothing but instruments of a violent state hell bent on maintaining power. It allows intellectuals like Mamdani to argue that outcomes in Zimbabwe cannot be seen only and simply as the 'machinations of those in power.' It also challenges those who insist that land reform resulted in all the land seized from settlers being transferred to the ruling elite by documenting a much wider distribution in the aftermath of land reform. Moyo and the AISA may be wrong on all counts, but it would take more than noisy polemics to prove it.

* David Johnson teaches history at The City College, City University of New York.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Inclusive Govt: Under whose colours do you march?

Inclusive Govt: Under whose colours do you march?


NEARLY a decade ago, a white business figure shared with select business executives what he considers vital piece of intelligence.

A new party was just about to be formed, one which could turn out much worse than Zanu-PF, unless urgent steps were taken "to infiltrate and influence it" in another direction.

The year was 1999, the setting a Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries meeting. The speaker was Eddie Cross.

A little later, the MDC was launched with great fanfare.

It had a good load of white sponsors, white supporters and white office holders, something which gave it a lasting image problem in a country in which race connotes quite heavily.

To this day, the image the acronym MDC evokes in the mind of an average Zimbabwean is that of a burly white farmer clad in khaki shirt and short, set against an all-white audience backdrop, somewhere in Banket, justifying why supporting the new party was "a good investment", before making a cheque donation to the cause.

Lost in that throng and evidently discomfited is a Morgan Tsvangirai, supported by a few aides, worried about the camera that roved, eternalising the moment.

The Banket that will not die

Historically Banket was a preserve for the Rhodesian pedigree, a setting for undisturbed agricultural pursuits for scions of Rhodesia’s offshore royalty, loosely defined as descendants of the Pioneer Column, or those who had distinguished themselves in defending the Rhodesian laager.

That Tsvangirai went to Banket for the inaugural fund raising for his party, was of lasting significance to the politics of this country.

Indeed for many years to come, MDC used strongholds of white plantation settlement — principally Banket and Marondera — as springboards for its launch and spread.

To this add Clause 57 in the rejected 2000 draft constitution, which focused on land, as well as the role of the black plantation workers vote in both the referendum and subsequent elections, including the March 2008 one, then you catch the full significance of what I am getting at.

Indeed so confident were whites of an outright MDC victory this last March that they actually released a document under JAG, detailing the computation of the black plantation worker vote in local electoral outcomes.

Rhodesian angst

Today Eddie Cross is an MDC Member of Parliament.

He is in charge of the party’s economic affairs desk. He may or may not play a direct role in the inclusive Government.

His worries then, arguably his worries now — worries which were widely shared by his white peers in industry and commerce — was the rise of a radical worker party under a trade unionist.

This would upset industrial relations, in the process trimming returns on white investments.

After all Rhodesia’s industrial base, while remarkably ingenious, remained notoriously inefficient well into Independence, which is why super-profits and stability to the country’s comparative advantage — commercial tobacco agriculture — was key to white settler prosperity.

This was about to be threatened. After all, the 1998 riots had vividly demonstrated how unpredictably threatening to capital MDC’s support base could be.

After all, for all the rheum against Zanu-PF, the nearly two decades of Zanu-PF rule had clearly shown the need to own or at the very least influence the post-colonial state as a bulwark against restive labour practices against tenuous profit margins.

These were both worries and aspirations of Rhodesian capital. These are both worries and aspirations of Rhodesian capital.

MDC strange staccato

But it is capital that comes as a package; that comes with an ethos.

Definitionally, an ethos is hard to pin down, harder to notice its approach. Always diffuse and hard to notice, yet inexorable, the Rhodesian ethos has been slowly but inexorably rebuilding, as a harmonious accompaniment to MDC’s perceived ascendancy.

The remarks by Eddie Cross a few weeks back, remarks that contained his wish for Zimbabwe "to crash and burn", while staggering, was hardly surprising. My worry is that it has not been well understood and appreciated.

Beyond its obvious meaning, the phrase suggested the destruction of an order and all its instruments of self-preservation, to be replaced by a "new" one.

But what is that order; what is that "new one" captured by the phrase "and pick up the pieces"? And the public relations flurry, which followed those utterances, largely mounted by the MDC at the highest level, meant what?

In case you may have, gentle reader, missed it, Eddie Cross was given the chance to cleanse himself by announcing that MDC would join the inclusive Government, and this after two days of utter confusion in the media.

What did that rescue effort suggest and portent regarding MDC obligation to Rhodesian politics?

Subtleties of Rhodesiana

Curiously, my "good friend" Heathen, sorry, Iden Wetherell, decided this week this time to take charge to make a case for a free media which his employers — all of them functionaries of UDI — never granted anyone else, least of all the church Press which was the only other meaningful alternative to the dominant Rhodesian ethos.

He went much further.

He made the case for the return of all "banned journalists", by which I understood him to refer to the likes of Andrew Meldrum and David Blair. Read closely, the piece suggested deep white angst, which is what made its headline — "Do join us" — quite redolent.

Join who? To do what? Maybe Zhangazha can tell us. But that is superficial.

The piece passes a far-reaching and surprisingly indiscriminate judgment on a certain type of politics: "What we need is a robust and independent media, free of the depredations of a post-liberation aristocracy that resents an outspoken Press for exposing its extractive career."

He goes much further, taking on the tone of a biblical Moses, Rhodesian Moses if you ask me: "Freedom of expression is our lifeblood.

Further, we want to see the return of the rule law, an independent judiciary, and people not afraid to speak their minds on the issues of the day."

And those "political prisoners currently held in reportedly appalling conditions redolent of the Stalinist era" must be freed, forthwith.

The other Iden….

Just across the page, Iden speaks as another voice, possibly another person. Some character called "Muckraker" (no doubt no relation of Iden!) expresses envy that Jestina Mukoko and Gandhi Mudzingwa are the only "political prisoners" getting attention. John Naested, Angus Thompson and Brian Baxter are still held at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison while the state tries to find a case against them," says Muckraker helpfully adding: "The Herald has tried to be helpful by branding them Selous Scouts. In fact Naested was in the RLI.

The others were no more than reservists, we gather." Muckraker matronly adds that "at least the International Bar Association is watching the situation in Zimbabwe carefully." And the person watching is Justice Richard Goldstone, a person whose claim to a place in post-apartheid is his self-vaunted liberal spirit — in all ways and habits.

Marking new territory

Iden rails at "depredations of a post-liberation aristocracy" which appear on close examination to be the depredations of UDI only paste or fastened on post-liberation politics.

Why did he not deplore them under Rhodesia? Why does he not recall Rhodesian depredations for the education of post-liberation Zimbabwe?

And what does the condemnatory benchmarking of "post-liberation" imply about the preceding UDI white aristocracy?

That it was impeccable, flawless and diametrically different from the post-liberation which Iden gladly indicts?

And what is the time frame of "post-liberation" politics denigrated as "aristocracy"? Does it begin and end with Mugabe, or does it begin and end with African self-rule?

Clearly, this is an attitude against post-colonial Zimbabwe, against post-colonial Africa, itself an inverted yearn for the return of Rhodesia, of colonial governance.

And you notice the condemned epoch is post-liberation, not post-colonial. Not even a mere reference to colonialism is permitted under Rhodesiaspeak.

The trouble is that Iden’s sweeping "post-liberation aristocracy" etches a very wide epochal continuum, one that smothers Tsvangirai as an incoming but one such player in an interminable series. Is he epochally condemned?

Are the organic intellectuals of white Rhodesia marking territory and boundaries against the newly reconstituted power matrix of "a post-liberation aristocracy"?

Would that suggest white Rhodesian angst with the inclusive Government, which means more white sponsored agitation? Is that what we are being invited to join?

And what passes for "a return to the rule of law" and an "independent judiciary"? What is returning: the rule of law for "post-liberation" or a law for white property rule?

The kind Rhodesia Light Infantry!

Muckraker, who uses journalistic license to say those things Iden cannot openly say, makes a case for the "liberation" of three whites facing very serious charges.

The Herald gets pilloried for suggesting one of the three was a member of the notorious scouts. No, he was a member of the RLI, an acronym we must all know and be familiar with as a household item.

Well, RLI means Rhodesia Light Infantry, a brutal fighting arm of settler Rhodesia.

How does that Herald inaccuracy reverse the point its report made? And the reference to the other two as "no more than reservists" of the Rhodesian army? Mitigatory?

It is a scary euphemism for this Rhodesia’s deadly machinery designed to brutalise Africans, to fight an unjust, racist settler war which Wetherell seeks to whitewash through a diversionary damnation of post-liberation politics. Is it being suggested the Rhodesia Light Infantry was less murderous?

Is it being suggested that Rhodesian reservists killed more kindly?

Is it not a fact that Rhodesia, which did not have a significant standing army, relied on reservists for its war effort?

And is it not white luxury to be finicky with Rhodesian compartmentalisation of its murderous army.

Did these classifications mean less death to the dying, pre-liberation Africans under a post-settler Rhodesian racist aristocracy Iden so lamely but gladly defends?

And why did Iden decide to emerge from the laager this time in the evolution of the inclusive


Maybe MDC may have made the unforgivable error of obliging an inclusive Government.

Is Iden venting British frustration with the turn of events here?

Bennett for Finance!

A little more. As the MDC national Executive Council met last week, a fugitive from justice was amongst them, one Roy Bennett. The following day the Herald gave us an image of him, widely grinning.

He had flown into the country for the meeting guaranteed from arrest by the MDC. Another rescue package?

And you watch events, the MDC hopes to appease the Rhodesian lobby by nominating him minister of finance! And his resume will show his skills at interfacing with donors, a skill that kept the MDC campaign well oiled.

Except they have to reckon with the fact that Bennett was largely drawing from the Rhodesian lobby worldwide, a Rhodesian cause which galvanised this scattered tribe, a little hopeful for a second "little England", supported by the real, big England.

I grant them that one such Rhodesian --- Mark Malloch Brown --- is a real link between little England and real England. Yet it must be reckoned that a Finance Minister in the Government of Zimbabwe cannot be about post-settler racist Rhodesian depredations.

Will that fly?

When the mosaic crumbles

Which takes me to my point, a relational point. Far more critical for the stability of the inclusive government will be the way the MDC leadership in Government relates to its disparate formations, many of which are already creating a rumpus. What yesterday gave the MDC a mobilisation edge over Zanu-PF, namely creating and replicating interest groups and organisations seemingly independent of it, today return to haunt it as it slouches into Government. Illustratively, the NCA is not going to fizzle out merely because the MDC is now in Government. Over the years, it has acquired a personality of its own, a leadership which has existed and agitated outside of the MDC, albeit with some coordination and mutuality. It has run its own budget, acquired its own donors and yes, developed its own taste and appetite. More importantly, it has staked a claim in the present outcome. All these will not go away. The same is true of ZCTU. But I make special mention of JAG and its women’s league, WOZA. Through it, white Rhodesia’s landed interests projected their politics and organised for their furtherance. What is the MDC-in-government’s attitude towards this whole advocacy? The ZCTU. Already unhappy, already sidelined, but with a serious suitor, the ZCTU will want to see how the anxiety of Rhodesian capital, which dominates the economy, will mean in terms of labour policy or stance. The 2009 budget appears to have set a stage where MDC will --- sooner than later --- have to take a position. After all, the Finance minister will have to find the money for wages. And as Tsvangirai walks to Munhumutapa, he leaves behind men and women who are only too happy to stir the pot against him. I hope he is following what is happening to Makoni. Having been made mbato by elements within the ruling party, that same connection is now being used to damn and evict him politically. Will someone cry "MDC: the revolution which lost its way", a few months down the inclusive government? We shall see.

Which way Manheru?

I saw a rather naughty letter in the Financial Gazette wondering what will become of my pen, now that Tsvangirai is coming into Government. The letter went much further. It visualised a role for the police in my destruction, taking as proof the alleged cheer from "the police" as Tsvangirai addressed his supporters. Let us grant that such a cheer came, much as I know it did not. What is the writer’s understanding of the inclusive government? One in which Tsvangirai and his MDC hold sway, un-sharing? One in which the police are used against writers, un-caring? That is the inclusive government and democratic change he had been waiting for? Well, I will try and be polite. The Nathaniel Manheru column has been anti-Rhodesian, robustly so. It has busied itself with Tsvangirai and his MDC to the extent that both agreed to be white Rhodesia’s Trojan horses. Born differently, bred differently, this column would not care a hoot what they do in, with, their ambitions. But Rhodesia must die and for as long as it is not dead, Nathaniel Manheru will expose, attack and hopefully bury. The return of Rhodesia, under any guise, is what the struggle is all about. Apart from becoming itself, Zimbabwe must never regress to white rule and white dominance. The white millennium is dead and gone. It must never come back.

Raking Biti’s muck

The editor of the Herald must have had a chuckle after reading Muckraker. Correctly, the columnist attacked Biti’s squeamish recourse to the law against normal journalistic questions that dog all politicians. Biti renounces ambition, denounces any imputations to strategies for political self-elevation. One wonders why he is in politics if he does not have or do all those things. I suppose he is hoping for a second Zvobgo suit. But that is to wander off the point. As with all seeming praises from enemies, Muckraker does not take long to bite the Herald. "The Herald, whatever its manifest shortcomings, especially when it comes to inventing stories, is perfectly entitled to speculate about supposed plots within MDC-Tsvangirai. That is the stuff of politics. It just looks a bit daft when the story remains exclusive to the Herald’s political desk." Whaooo! Until one reads page two of the Independent where its own Constantine Chimakure writes about the same "daft stuff". Or those South African papers through which its news editor, Dumisani Muleya, moonlights, but without declaring those earnings for tax purposes. Now we know the spread and reach of the Herald political desk.