“You must be careful of people who speak with a forked tongue and, whatever happens, you must never give in to the temptation of being one such person yourself,” my late mother used to warn us. “The world is full of conman would take you for a ride at your expense and often they become victims of their own deception.”
“Asia for the Asians!” was Japan’s slogan and excuse for fighting in the Second World War to drive the Americans, British and other western nations out of Asia in a straight swap of one colonial power for another. Forget all the black nationalists’ rhetoric of fighting for freedom, justice and human rights; just like the Japanese, President Mugabe and his fellow Zanu PF leaders were fighting to replace the whites as the new lord of the manor.
It took the average black Zimbabwean ten years or so after independence to accept that they were second class citizen whose freedoms, human rights including the right to a meaningful say in the governance and even the right to life itself were routinely denied by the ruling elite. After 36 years of corrupt, incompetent and tyrannical Zanu PF rule with millions now languishing in abject poverty and over 30 000 murdered by the regime in pursuit of its selfish agenda of staying in power at all cost; there can be no doubt that Zanu PF leaders spoke with a forked tongue and they still do to this day.
“When you went to war (ex-combatants) you were very young but you remain resolute, but up to now you don’t have anything to show (for it). All I see is poverty written on your faces,” war veterans leader Chris Mutsvangwa to his members in Masvingo las week, according to a Daily News report.
“But we have seen the bad part of not rewarding ourselves, the G40 is doing whatever they want with us because they corruptly acquired wealth.”
The notable thing here is how Zanu PF leaders like Mutsvangwa have again and again expressed their concern about poverty amongst the war vets but have refused to even acknowledge that millions of ordinary Zimbabweans too are wallowing in poverty. Worse still these Zanu PF leaders have refused to acknowledge that root cause of the country’s economic mess is because for the last 36 years the ruling elite have allowed mismanagement and corruption to grow and spread precisely because they were “rewarding” themselves.
Whatever quarrel Mutsvangwa has with the G40 faction it is nonsensical to blame the later for the war veterans’ poverty given the faction only emerged in August 2014, long after the nation’s economic decline was well established. Worse still Mutsvangwa and his fellow war veterans are deluding themselves if they believe imposing Mnangagwa, just as they have imposed President Mugabe on the nation, is the panacea to their economic poverty. It will take a lot more than swapping one dictator for another to achieve meaningful economic recovery.
“The president acknowledged that we are the ones who gave him that position, we the war veterans and war collaborators, we campaigned for him to win elections in 1980,” said Mutsvangwa. President Mugabe acknowledged the war vets’ contribution in the 2008 run-off where President Mugabe used wanton violence to force the people to vote for him. The war vets were the regime’s storm troopers then and have been ever since.
“We the war veterans, are the compass of this country, isu toziva ichi (chigaro) kwachinoenda (we know who is going to take over).”
My late mother would have never guessed that self-deception could have more tragic consequences than is seen in Zimbabwe today; the whole nation is already up to its eyes in this man-made cesspit after 36 years of Zanu PF misrule but instead of those responsible seeing the serious shortcomings they still believe they “are the compass” of the nation. We are completely lost because the compass, the maps, etc. are all wrong!
The right to a meaningful vote is a right, not a privilege to be granted to some and denied others by war veterans and Zanu PF leaders. But most important of all, the right to a meaningful vote is the heart and soul of good and competent government. Given the economic mess the country is in after 36 years of Zanu PF misrule it is imperative that the people now claim their right to a meaningful vote with resolve and refuse to be detracted by misguided individuals like Mutsvangwa whose ego is blinding them from seeing themselves as the corrupt and incompetent individuals they are.
If the ordinary person has been short changed all these last 36 years because they played a small or no part in the liberation way, then it is time they played their part be demanding the full implementation of the democratic reforms to restore all their individual freedoms and rights. The right to a meaningful say in who is going to rule Zimbabwe from now is everyone’s right and not a preserve of war veterans alone – that is no negotiable!