I am big a fan of the intelligentsia, the technocrats and any other such class of people who have a strong technical and educational background who decide to dive head first into politics. Listening to intelligent people speak is a privilege, the way they approach a problem and define a logical and often sequential solution for the problem is admirable (The pragmatism is often up for debate). I have spent countless hours listening to Professor Jonathan Moyo, Professor Welshman Ncube, Professor Arthur Mutambara, Dr. Simba Makoni amongst others whenever I manage to fish their ideas from the internet. Dr. Nkosana Moyo belongs to that same intellectual class of politicians (If he can be labelled as such).
When Dr. Moyo left cabinet in 2001 after he had strong objections with how the country was being run, President Mugabe labelled him a coward and stated “I do not want ministers who are in the habit of running away. I want those I can call amadoda sibili [“real men”], people with spine……….Our revolution was not fought by cowards. If some of you are getting weak-kneed, tell us and we will continue with the struggle”.
For the 2018 elections, Dr. Moyo has put his hat into the ring and decided to wrestle the levers of power from the ZANU (PF) regime and create a Zimbabwe where a 2.2 million job count does not include washing my brother’s clothes. Having been more used to listening to Dr. Moyo’s ideas from an intellectual perspective on YouTube, I always thought he was more fit to be a senior bureaucrat or a minister of finance much like Donald Kaberuka of Rwanda, who served as the nation’s finance minister between 1997-2005.
One aspect of Zimbabwe’s current political landscape particularly in the opposition has been a failure by the intelligentsia to grab power within the opposition ranks. Few would argue that Morgan Tsvangirai is more strategically and intellectually adept than the likes of Arthur Mutambara, Welshman Ncube, Tendai Biti et al in the fight against ZANU (PF). But Uncle Morgan has maintained a vice grip on the levers of power and influence in the opposition ranks. I would love for someone to tell me a really logical reason about what makes MT stand out besides the fact that the people love him. As a faithful student to the teachings of Robert Green and Niccolo Machiavelli I would argue that his creation of 3 VP’s in the MDC is a way to remove a point of concentration to oppose him if the party ever decides to remove him. I would argue that the “Handiende” (I won’t leave) syndrome seems to be getting the better of him, he argues that Mugabe must go yet he has been at the apex of opposition politics since 1999 (when I was still in nursery school) A common reason amongst the folk who love him is “Ndiye akaita zvivindi” (He had the courage in other words he is “Indoda Sibili”) which is indeed true. In the past his lieutenants who have deserted the MDC (or kicked out depending on who writes that particular piece of history) have accused him of using violent tactics to get rid of opponents.
The violence and cult politics of the ruling party are public secrets which I shan’t delve into in an effort to keep this short. However the rise of lunacy in the ruling party is something that has to be mentioned. The choking of intelligentsia in the political discourse has resulted in the rise of blasphemous men such as Kudzanai Chipanga who equate the president to angels. It has resulted in intelligent men such as Psychology Maziwisa abandoning logic and common sense to spew hot air about how doing laundry is equivalent to a job created by ZANU (PF).
The above examples about the state of 2 of the biggest parties in Zimbabwe’s politics tell a story about our political culture, our political landscape and those who the masses are currently allowing to succeed in the current political framework. When Dr. Moyo came to UCT on 17 July 2017, I had hoped that beyond an intellectual discussion of the African and Zimbabwean problem he would discuss how he, as an intellectual and evidently exceptionally intelligent person, intends to navigate through the murky waters of Zimbabwean politics. How intends to beat the bullies at their own game and usher us into a new era of Zimbabwean politics where others of his intellectual strata have failed. Unfortunately I was not convinced but I was hopeful for the future given that many such people of his calibre are trying to change Africa through organisations such as AfDB etc. Perhaps starting at parliamentary level in a carefully chosen constituency like Advocate Fadzayi Mahere would have been more advisable for Dr. Moyo and it would have partially buffered him from the above mentioned. Maybe Robert Mugabe was right our politics is only fit for “amadoda sibili”.
In the future, I dream of a Zimbabwe where we shall debate ideas and policies during elections and not who spent more years fighting a bush war and who has more scars from ZRP baton sticks. I dream of a Zimbabwe where during elections the future shall be debated and not history analysed. I dream of a meritocratic Zimbabwe where people shall be judged by their work ethics and talents and not who they suck up to. For now that Zimbabwe is not upon us and 2018 is chance for us to map our way forward. In the words of a song sung during #FeesMustFall protests “Phambili ngechimurenga” (I suppose both the ruling and opposition parties can use that as an inspiration, whoever fits the shoe is free to wear it).
Written by Tafadzwa H C Kwaramba
On this day, Wednesday 19 July, in the year of our Lord 2017