Jenni Williams Speaks On Infiltration in the MDC-T

I publish here a whole speech by Jenni Williams of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA). Her comments made on November 25, at a Small City Hall meeting convened by Bulawayo Agenda.

The theme for discussion was, “GNU at Crossroads,” an exciting topic which lined up three other speakers. These were lawyer, Kucaca Phulu, academic, Dr. Lawton Hikwa and activist, Effie Dlela Ncube.

Thank you very much, good evening everybody. I am glad to be with you this evening and to share with you some of the perspectives that we have in WOZA, as regards the GNU. Is it at the cross roads? Or is it dead? Should we be talking about which burial society we should be using? Should we be talking about bringing relatives and supporters? I am not sure whether we should be starting to look at that. But I think for me to conceptualise my perspective, I would want to first ask, is there any member of Zanu-PF here? Please can they identify themselves to me? Is there any one here from Zanu-PF? Sorry maybe I can’t see. Ok, there’s nobody here from Zanu-PF. I won’t ask any other political party because it seems you are already not interested in identifying yourselves to me.

Ok! First of all I would like us to just look at this political party that is called Zanu-PF. What are the strategies of this political party? How does it work? How can you find way to work with it to maneuver around it? First of all hear we hear many times, and I hear some of my colleagues saying Zanu-PF is dead and buried. They have no support.

But if one takes their time, liye emakhoneni, liyedhobha dhobha, ukuthi kuthwani emakhoneni (to listen to the grapevine), what is Zanu-PF doing? How is it doing? You will find there is a very sophisticated mobilisation strategy that has already started some months ago. You will find that already there is a process of telling people that when you vote we have serial numbers. We know who will vote, how you will vote. You will find that they already have structures in their communities. They know who is doing what, how they are doing it.

They are already extremely advanced. Even if an election were to be called within sixty days or ninety days they would be very relaxed at how they would now approach that. If you also look at the performance of Zanu-PF in the Government and I know some of these tricks, Mugabe never wanted to admit it but, they learnt these tricks from Ian Smith. And recently I had a friend who was advising me on some research that she was doing. In the early eighties a lot of the NGOs that were there, were being infiltrated by these new comrades, these new ministers, these new political commissars. And this strategy of infiltrating these NGOs, where you have a head, and in those instances quite often that head or that person was still a very light skinned person.

What they would do is they would come and make sure they infiltrate. They would be a Permanent Secretary who would be from the party. They would connect this one. They would connect that one, and very soon that person will be a mere figurehead there just to make sure they fundraise, and get funding and programmes for their organisation. But that person would be totally hemmed in by ZANU people, who would technically make the decisions, before the head even has an opportunity.

Or if the head thinks they have made a decision, that decision would be completely undermined. And this is the strategy that Zanu-PF began when they took power in the early eighties. And it’s a strategy that they have used to completely emasculate the MDCs who are in Government with it. It’s called HEMMING IN. People are hemmed in. Dear beloved Gordon Moyo, how is he going to make decisions, when he is not an implementer? He is a policy maker. Dear Morgan Tsvangirai, how is he going to be an implementer unless he has a whole team of implementers who will go and implement with him, which means he will not be hemmed in.

And I can go on and list. And there are many examples, which if you want to take a very candid look you will see. So for me we will try to debate on whether he is at crossroads or whether we should be calling it a burial society. But for me the major issue is … can anyone ever work ever with Zanu-PF? And who would that person be?

Number one, you would only be able to work if you are capable of understanding sophisticated mobilisation strategy. …We don’t seem to have those skills and we don’t want to learn those skills in civic society and even unfortunately in the MDC itself. The structures are a mess and honestly the embarrassment that we could have suffered this week, looking at some of the very senior people in the MDC what they have been doing and where they are spending their energy, is something unfortunate (Apparent reference to the recent MDC Director General, Toendepi Shonhe’s alleged sex scandal). But I will also make the other point that in that location, in that highly sophisticated politics of Zanu-PF and the unfortunate challenges and lack of policing of the opportunities of the MDC, where do we fit as the people of this country?

And I am in very polite company but those of you in the privacy of your home, when you go home tonight take a piece of paper and write down the word election. And instead of the L, just get the R and put it there. And then you will see the unfortunate thing that we have been having in Zimbabwe. And because we are having that thing, it does not result in any meaningful change for us as ordinary citizens, because it is not something about you and me. It’s something about someone’s by himself and their body part and perhaps someone would be observing the processes of that body part. So what is very important for us is to decide, do we want to be spectators in those processes? Or do we want to take that R and make it an L where we can be relevant and not feel someone is being rude in front of us? How are we to do that is by trying to push and the MDC and the other opposition forces can not do this alone.

If we continue to legitimise the processes, we are legitimising Zanu-PF, and we are making them remain in power. The other thing that I want to mention is quite often as we are debating this issue, we really should be debating and I would challenge Bulawayo Agenda. Let us have a frank talk about Zanu-PF succession processes, because actually the reason for this election that is coming is not necessarily about you and … me. It is about someone who is now becoming very old. And because he is becoming very old, he is becoming a problem to see how to market him.

And he is also becoming a very grave difficulty that God himself may find that we are not able to decide our own future and will want him to intervene and just put us out of our misery, and recruit Robert Mugabe to where ever in the skies that he should go. And so that is the current problem that we are facing is how do we make the opportunity of the age of Our Dear Leader an opportunity for you and me, not an opportunity for the people who will want to be the next Robert Mugabes in Zimbabwe. The way that we can do that, is first and foremost by demanding that we have a referendum.

We are very concerned that you might find at the Zanu-PF Congress in early December, Mugabe from that platform as Secretary, is it First Secretary of the Party, I never forget because there (are) too many titles, I end up losing track of which is which. But anyway when he is on that podium at the Zanu-PF Congress, you might find him firing the GNU from that platform. And if he does that, we already know that within ninety days we will now have an election process.

And if I am proven correct and I hope please, if you see me in the street and he didn’t do that please come and tell me, “You were wrong.” I will be very happy to hear that I was wrong. But if that happens, (those) are the signals for you to realise that I was telling you that this is an issue about the Dear Old Leader and not about you and me. But even so remember the Chinese or is it the Japanese word for crisis is also the same word for opportunity. And I think the challenge that we have as Zimbabweans is to take back this power, to take back the processes, make sure we have a referendum once you have the referendum, legitimise the elections, in large numbers so that the opportunity for them to rig is much less. But if we can get to that stage we need to be able to make incremental improvements to the democracy of this country. And what must remain our purpose as people is how we can make those small baby steps towards democratising our country and moving out from the worst and making an election the thing that we have in society. I think those are the major issues that I wanted to mention.

I think it’s unfortunate that we should be talking about healing because most of us are beginning to be very fearful. I know I spent the run-off period drinking the water at Chikurubi Prison and then shortly after I tasted the water at Khami Mlondolozi. I don’t want to be tasting any more prison water in this next period. But there is a definite way (that they will ensure fear will work). And I want us to realise this sophisticated party called Zanu-PF will also want to use your own brains against you. And there are many times that you will imagine the absolute worst.

You will kill yourself many times long before someone else has killed you, because you will be thinking the worst. And in this sophisticated machinery that Zanu-PF with their Chinese advisors, we have to realise that we can not make our minds, our imaginations, party to Zanu-PF’s terror campaign. And I am pleased to have used this platform to just plead with you, see how you will manage. Don’t spread rumours, let us face this next 2011 with determination and confidence because we must take back the power. Someone is getting very old and may God intervene. Thank you!