IN future, African students of politics shall read the history of post- colonial Zimbabwe with awe. ZANU-PF has survived for 37 years on the strength of Machiaveli’s script. That script advises the supreme leader to cut off the ears of the tallest plants in the corn field, thus depriving rebellious elements of leadership.
That was the wrong script. Aristotle says that “while such a government is little affected by external causes, and is therefore lasting” its longevity, however, is threatened “when members of the ruling class quarrel among themselves, and when they attempt to administer the State contrary to the rule of law.”
This brings dissatisfaction, not just among the oligarchy itself, but among the generality of the populace as well.
It is no longer a matter of whispering that Brother Jonathan Moyo, who confessed to contravening the law, will not be prosecuted. I was a witness on July 7, 2016 at Jongwe House, when war veterans submitted their rebellious memo.
An outstanding complaint was that Mukuru and the First Family have elevated themselves from apposition of pari inter pari (equals) to that of primus inter pari (first).
Subsequent events have proven that Mukuru is not only primus, but has been elevated to a godly status. Aristotle and the veterans address this issue as well. Divisions first occurred when veterans observed that class which had elevated themselves to aristocracy, are “living in luxurious ease, have become contemptible”.
The contempt is reciprocal; the aristocracy despises the veterans who are an impoverished class, yet are called upon to defend the class that enjoys the fat of the earth.
Rage drives them to a state of being irrational; increasingly, they reject palliatives from the ruling class.
Because of ZANU-PF rigidity and modus operandi, there was no attempt to address the issues raised in the memo. Instead, government spent resources on discovering the authorship.
Linguistic forensics show that there are three people in Zimbabwe who use that type of syntactical pro-forma classical style of writing derived from years of lexicological study. I was sitting next to Kenneth Majome, my classmate from Standard Four, back in the days when he read the memo. “Ken, did you write this?” Filled with fear, he looked at me and excused himself. Chris Mutsvangwa is the prime suspect. He denies the charge and was in South Africa at the time. That leaves a Zipra cadre who spent years in the Soviet Union in lexicographical studies.
Divisions in ZANU-PF, while partly manufactured, have a basis in the fact that different sects are scrambling to access the food trough, as well as immunity from prosecution for wrong doing.
The underlying cause of all this is a declining economic base. As long as the colonial wealth was there to distribute, all factions were obligated into quietude.
If, therefore, ZANU-PF elects 93- year-old Mukuru as its standard bearer, they will be choosing the dance of the Valkyrie. The prize (wealth and freedom from prosecution) is similar to the Valkyrie virgins, who because of a ring of fire, were inaccessible to the dancers.
Veterans are only one example of the impoverished class. The kombi drivers are the worst oppressed.
Members of the aristocracy are disconnected with the plight of the wainachi (Swahili for poor). Brother Commissioner Augustine Chihuri lays out a strong defence of police road blocks. “Are you afraid of the police on the road yet they are there to protect you?” The answer is yes Siree, I am afraid of the police. Here are two examples.
The police impounded a one-week old car imported from South Africa. The offence was that papers were not displayed on the windshield even though they were in the glove compartment.
An appeal to the Judiciary did not exonerate the owner from paying two-week impounding.
A South African white woman paid $500 in trumped-up charges between Beitbridge and Bulawayo. She decided to return home through Botswana rather than retrace her earlier route.
Chihuri further poses a question. “Is Zimbabwe the only country with police road blocks?” Yes Siree! Zimbabwe’s police roadblocks are intended to raise money unlawfully.
They do not facilitate the free flow of traffic and cause unnecessary delays.
The brother, who has a doctoral degree, has failed to understand a simple Roman precept that the police cannot charge a driver, levy a fine, and collect that fine, even allowing the discretion of levying $20 (no receipted) or $50 with a receipt. I speak with love.
True to form, ZANU-PF aristocracy adopted a contemptuous attitude towards the veterans. Veterans, now under penury, have forgotten that they deserve all the contempt now poured upon them.
Their atrocities in support of Mukuru are beside my brief. Suffice to say, they placed Mukuru and his family in a different firmament from themselves, thus making him a divinity. Aristotle says: “In our day men are more upon equality and no one is immeasurably superior to others.”
Humiliating colleagues, calling Didymus Mutasa a “foolish braying donkey” and Joice Mujuru a witch tarnishes political discourse.
United States Republicans are usually referred to as “the stupid party”. If ZANU-PF chooses a 94-year-old man who brings with him the baggage of half a century, they will become the stupid party.