Give us a break Jonathan Moyo

OPINION – Recent remarks by Jonathan Moyo in his contribution entitled “Biti’s ‘kiya-kiya’ performance treacherous” left me in a complete delirium of topsy-turvy.

The remarks do not only expose his political hypocrisy but also his remarkable ideological and political underdevelopment. The man hasn’t stopped being prone to foolish jokes. To be frank with you, there is nothing as saddening as watching what we thought before the year 2000 as our “best and brightest” among the populace failing to correctly read the national and international political climate. I am afraid; Jonathan has turned out to be more revolutionary than the revolutionary situation itself. A lot shall undoubtedly be depicted in the subsequent paragraphs.

You can very much imagine the difficult and arduous task that I had in preparing this contribution. This is so largely because Jonathan Moyo is a Professor, indeed a learned man and currently the one and only independent Member of Parliament in Zimbabwe. And yet I must also tell you that: “Do not let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was” (Richard L. Evans). I am not a mere observer of a process of change but also its maker. All we want is nothing but what political pundits have called ‘a paradigm shift from a commandist polity to a consensual or palaver polity’. Our only desire is to be governed well because the greatest thing in life is internal peace, external peace and global peace. Peace is the key ingredient to happiness. Peace within means peace without.

Freedom doesn’t just mean the absence of war in the context of guns and bullets. When many of our people go without decent meals; when children who need to be in school are not there; when people are still sharing drinking water with animals; it means we are yet to find that freedom.

Jonathan Moyo’s response to Finance Minister Biti’s mid-term budget review is based on the premise that principles of good governance and accountability require that Government officials be subjected to the strictest scrutiny for what they officially say or do in the name of the public. For this reason, Jonathan refers to Minister Biti’s speech as “…so manifestly treacherous, inflammatory and smacked of a sinister agenda”. Not only that, Moyo also accuses Biti of abusing the national budget by pushing a partisan agenda under what he called “…the false and irrelevant cover of the so-called Global Political Agreement signed by ZANU PF and the two MDC formations”. To be more exact, Moyo makes reference to “…the more dominant and inflammatory sub-text which formed the running political thread of his presentation and which was clearly anchored in his position and role as the Secretary General of the MDC-T with undisguised ambitions for higher”.

In other words, Moyo accuses Biti of intending to replace Morgan Tsvangirai as the President of the MDC. But hasn’t Biti been very clear on where he stands on this critical issue? I believe Biti is widely known and yet not clearly understood. When addressing about 15 000 people who turned up at the MDC’s 10th Anniversary Celebratory rally at Chipadze in Bindura on Sunday 14th June, 2009 Biti had this to say: “There is no going back. Morgan Richard Tsvangirai will win a free and fair election and we all know that Zimbabwe’s template is such that you become Prime Minister first before you become President”. Moyo’s accusations then should be treated with the contempt they deserve.

It’s quite strange to learn that Jonathan has all of a sudden become interested in the plight of the rural poor and the urban unemployed who make up the overwhelming majority in our country. He deliberately and wrongly accuses Minister Biti’s policies or lack thereof of reducing our lives to that of hunter-gatherers. Don’t be babyish Jonathan. Are you telling us that we only started experiencing this poverty 6 months ago when the Government of National Unity came into being? Isn’t it a decade long crisis? Where were you in 2000 Jonathan? Ko pa2002 waivepi nhaiwe Muzvinafundo/Where were you in the year 2002 Professor? We really wanted you to speak out against the arrogance of your boss Robert Mugabe in 2000, 2002, 2005 and recently pa2008 election. You can start doing that even now. It’s not too late ufunge! I honestly think you are blaming the wrong people.

You also make reference to “…a misguided pursuit of patronage in the apparent hope of currying favour with Minister Nelson Chamisa within the now raging MDC-T power struggles”. In response to this political nonsense, I would want to remind the learned Professor that in-fights within the movement are a given. They are a fact of political life, a part of the dynamic of human organization. In his “Struggles-within-the-struggle”, the late Professor Masipula Sithole wrote: “Where human beings are involved with one another and interact directly or indirectly, conflict, tension, and struggles are bound to exist and describe the relationships.

This is true in a family, be it consisting only of husband and wife; true in a church organization; in a school; in a social club; you name it. Contradictions are a given in social and political life”. The point I am labouring to make is that it is redundant on Jonathan Moyo’s part to tell us about the so-called now raging MDC-T’s power struggles. These are not unusual (if at all they are there because I am convinced this is Moyo’s figmentation of his own imagination).

And this one is the most ludicrous of all accusations. That Biti opened up “…floodgates for hostile foreign information into Zimbabwe by eliminating all customs duty on newspapers to specifically advantage the foreign printing and publication of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s American-sponsored glossy and controversial newsletter and the local distribution of a partisan newspaper based in Britain called The Zimbabwean, again for patronage purposes with everything to do with MDC-T internal power struggles”. I would want to bring to the fore the fact that the elimination of the rate of customs duty on newspapers isn’t at all a treacherous development. Information and its effective distribution is one of the pillars of democracy. Perchance this explains why Honourable Biti said that access to information is essential in the enhancement of decision-making in the global village.

And yet you ask: What the hell is the global village…? The fact that you quote “…enlightened and democratic…” countries like India as examples of countries which levy duty on newspapers means you can’t ignore what happens outside Zimbabwe and that is the global village that Minister Biti is talking about dear learned Professor. I don’t need to have a PhD in Public Administration from the University of Southern California to decipher this simple thing. In fact, my undergraduate qualification is adequate! I don’t really see and understand how the elimination of duty is a deliberate and irresponsible attack on our national security and a naked sabotage of our economic interests.

Instead, shouldn’t we be worried about the death threat that Minister Biti has received? Don’t tell me that you haven’t heard of a 9mm live bullet and a note accompanying the bullet. Be serious Jonathan. You had the opportunity to serve humanity in Zimbabwe but you squandered it. You behaved strangely and I would want to tell you in no uncertain terms that history will judge you harshly. You conspired with the octogenarian tyrant, Robert Mugabe, to destroy our beloved country. Don’t purport to be speaking for the people because each time you open your mouth you speak only for yourself. When Mugabe rigged the 2002 presidential plebiscite you told us that Harare was not Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe was not Harare. You were during that time the second most hated person in Zimbabwe after Robert Mugabe.

This is the truth and I will say it notwithstanding the consequences. There is no patriotism in lying about it. In fact, it is unpatriotic to lie about a national disaster or problem. It serves no national interest. Zimbabweans remember you as a political “spin-doctor” who was hired to map out ZANU PF’s political recovery plan when that party had declined to its lowest ebb. It’s you who prevented the complete political collapse of ZANU PF. But how did you do it dear Professor? Professor Sithole answered this question well. Jonathan “…had access to the instruments of violence and death…Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying Jonathan used violence and death. I am merely saying that the instruments of violence and death were accessible and they were used, as we all know”.

Need I say more? I will leave the discussion of the evil laws POSA and AIPPA for some other time. But know that Jonathan was behind them! It’s Jonathan, the learned Professor who deprived us of the much-needed freedom and relegated us to the status of things. So you see. Jonathan completely abandoned Paulo Freire’s noble conviction during his tenure as Minister of Information and Publicity (2000-2004). The conviction that: “It is only by working with the people that I can achieve anything authentic on their behalf”. As Rene Descartes puts it: “It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well”.

Tendai Biti, Wilf Mbanga and Morgan Tsvangirai whom you have attacked are people who have gone beyond a willingness to accommodate to change; they want to create change and to control the situation surrounding them because they have identified worthwhile things to do and they want to do these things. A God-relating, God-seeking, God-worshipping and God-conscious leadership is of inestimable value in the process of rapid and bewildering change. As for those who sent a bullet to Minister Biti please be warned that: “Human beings were made like God, so whoever murders one of them will be killed by someone else” (Genesis 9:6). I rest my case and I put it to you. Be blessed. BY MUTSA MURENJE NAIROBI, KENYA