Light on Zanu (PF)'s Road To Damascus?

MDC continued to show leadership at home and in the region as splinter parties splintered even further and Zanu (PF) claimed to have seen a new light – with vice-president Joice Mujuru claiming that President Robert Mugabe doesn't know about on-going violence, and Dr Mavis Chidzonga saying “whites should be given land”.

Meanwhile House of Assembly Speaker, MDC chairman Lovemore Moyo was elected chairman of the SADC Parliamentary Forum – a first in Zimbabwe’s 30-year-membership of SADC – same Moyo whose election Jonathan Moyo went to the Supreme Court to try and nullify. We hope he has paid the court costs!

At home the MDC’s diligent MPs successfully steered through the House amendments to the Public Order and Security Act, a Rhodesia Front law which Zanu re-branded POSA to continue suppressing the very freedom that Zimbabweans had fought for.

Meanwhile Dumiso Dabengwa, who sabotaged the MDC’s march to power in the 2008, is now left holding an empty can as his Zapu splinters into fractious sects, and the splinter MDC-M threatens to splinter even further – with Secretary General Welshman Ncube and Legal Affairs Secretary David Coltart, singing from two completely different hymn books.

Meanwhile co-saboteur, Dr Simba Makoni, succeeded in wrestling his party from the other opportunists who helped him to form it just a few months before the 2008 Presidential election.

Unfortunately it seems that it is now only him and his wife still supporting the Mavambo/Kusile project – having wasted a lot of energy and condemned Zimbabwe to another five years of Zanu (PF) rule. Judgment day is coming.

But the most interesting news or media stunt must be Dr Mavis Chidzonga and Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s reported charm offensive with businessmen in which we hope they were not misquoted.

Chidzonga is quoted as saying “Give the whites land. I have a PhD in Agriculture but it is just theory. I now live next door to whites and I have learnt a lot (of good farming) from them.”

Chidzonga who led a violent mob and policemen to take over Idaho Farm during the chaotic seizure of land from white commercial farmers, now says, give whites land to farm because they should not be discriminated against!

“What are we doing to those people who are willing to come to us and farm? If there is a Zimbabwean who wants to farm, no matter what race, let them be given the opportunity,” she said to the business community.

And, not to be beaten in game, Mrs Mujuru, said, Zanu PF was sick and tired of “sleeping with one eye open” because it had made too many enemies. It was prepared to transform from a feared to a respected and popular party.

“Things change and Zanu PF can change,” she was quoted as saying adding that Robert Mugabe ended up being hated by ordinary Zimbabweans who blamed him for things that he knew nothing about – “for crimes done in his name but without his sanction or even knowledge.”

“Most people think that Mugabe knows everything, but the truth is he doesn’t know. His lieutenants don’t tell him everything,” she said, adding that the leadership was now determined to give Zanu PF a human face.More of Mujuru at Business Seminar  

As the leader of the lieutenants, maybe she could lead the way in informing Mugabe about what Jabulani Sibanda is doing in Masvingo, about all the military bases in Manicaland, and youths being recruited and being told that they have been recruited into the army, when in fact they have been recruited into militia, and reporting back what Gushungo would have said.

Meanwhile she has to contend to the doublespeak coming out of Zanu (PF) . She might draw some strength from knowing that within Zanu (PF) there are people who think she has what it takes to challenge Mugabe’s retrogressive policies, and she might want to prove that she is not afraid to do so. The road to Mutare beckons.

The MDC immediately responded by saying Mai Mujuru’s statements are half the answer, unless they are backed by action to bring perpetrators of violence to book and to open a new page of political tolerance.

“The MDC has taken note of VP Mujuru’s regrets but maintains that as long as violence remains the only Zanu PF campaign tool, with the accompanying impunity it offers to its supporters who murder, maim and brutalise the people, such statements reflect nothing other media stunts.”

What is now left is the repeal of other retrogressive laws that curtail people’s freedoms to bring meaning to the exercise of democracy and citizens’ rights – Jonathan Moyo’s AIPPA, the Broadcasting Services Act, and the Censorship and Entertainment Act – must be repealed as a matter of urgency, said the MDC.

“The harassment of journalists, content creators and artists is an affront to creativity and national oversight. We deplore the incessant onslaught on the media by Zanu PF and the police who are still under a nostalgic grime that Zimbabwe must remain a failed state under a dictatorship.”

Said the MDC, Zimbabweans now dread an election in which Zanu PF takes part because of its policy of violence.

Since the 1980 election, Zanu PF had plunged thousands of families into mourning after loved ones were killed for proffering a differing opinion; Gukurahundi is a matter of public record, with a generational impact that it created since then.

In the 1990 election Patrick Kombayi, a Gweru businessman and a candidate for the Zimbabwe Unity Movement, almost paid the ultimate price after he was shot and badly maimed by a Zanu PF youth leader Kizito Chivamba and CIO operative Elias Kanengoni.

Although the two were convicted and sentenced to jail, Mugabe quickly pardoned them before justice was realised; Kombayi’s early death was clearly attributable to those injuries.

In 2000, in its forlorn attempt to ward-off an emerging challenge from the MDC, Zanu (PF) claimed the lives of dozens of innocent lives, including Tichaona Chiminya, Talent Mabika, Trymore Midzi, Patrick Nabanyama and David Stevens, and left thousands of hapless villagers homeless and displaced.

All MDC legislators and candidates in that election faced violence in one form or another. Mugabe and Zanu PF once again granted the perpetrators a blanket pardon, even though these cases and the supporting evidence, including judicial orders, are well documented and Zanu PF could help cleanse themselves by directing the Attorney General to act professionally and bring finality to these murders.

The aftermath of 29 March 2008 requires no further debate as it was recorded; a spate of state-sponsored abductions of dozens of MDC officials and civil society activists that saw the needless incarceration of a two-year old, Nigel Mutemagawu, for 76 days in the name of Mugabe and Zanu PF.

The events baffled many Zimbabweans who, at the time Mugabe appended his signature on the GPA, thought Zanu PF had turned a new leaf.

In particular, Mugabe and Zanu PF had committed themselves to strive to create an environment of tolerance and respect for the people, Zanu PF soon tossed off that pledge and launched Operation Chimumumu when COPAC launched the Constitutional outreach programme.

This militarised operation, designed to perpetuate a war psychosis, grossly interfered with a purely civilian exercise to a point where it threw the programme into turmoil. At the moment, ordained Zanu PF officials are causing untold suffering openly and in the party’s name everywhere in the country without any sanction from Mugabe, the party leader, and in defiance of both local and international opinion, advice and the law.

Apart from the widely published forays of rogues like Jabulani Sibanda, only last weekend Simon Khaya-Moyo, the Zanu PF national chairman urged the country security forces to crash journalists who criticize them.

“In some countries if you criticise security forces you won’t last a day you will be crashed, killed and destroyed,” Khaya-Moyo told Zanu PF supporters in Umguza. “I warn journalists in the private media to stop this, because it won’t be tolerated and we will hunt them and kill them. You hear them talk about press freedom. What press freedom?”

Said the MDC: “Against the above background, the MDC finds Mujuru’s latest utterances, as reported in the media, as half the answer. The party finds it hard to take Zanu PF’s non-violent conversion seriously.

“Zanu PF is still far from passing the national test as genuine outlets for inclusion, peace, tolerance and pluralism. As the situation stands today, Zimbabweans can never be hoodwinked and lulled into believing that Zanu PF has become a latter saint and a born again political player until there is practical action to show repentance.”

Moyo said of his tenure as SADC Parliamentary Forum chair, he would be guided by the 3 C’s – continuity, consolidation and commitment. May he indeed, and also as chairman of the MDC. – Changezimbabwe