His embarrassingly verbose and obscurantist articles keep us well supplied with the dark wishes and fears of the endangered and sinking tyranny in Harare, whose full time job now is to put up a pretence that all is well and good.
To sustain this ill-fated pretence, Manheru as the megaphone of the tyrant has to try and re-arrange the truth, manufacture reality and edit history. A sample of Manheru’s conspiring and conniving graffiti journalism was presented to us in a long one titled 2011: The year sanctions will go. A careful excavation into Manheru’s twisted syntax, pretentious diction and Chaucerian grammar gives away the real Mugabe , a frightened and pathetic genocidal offender whose prayer is that his enemies will forget their historical responsibility to drag him kicking and screaming to his long overdue political, electoral and indeed legal trial for sins and crimes against humanity.
Fear of exemplary politics
In describing the recent successful change of leadership from Professor Auther Mutambara to Professor Welshman Ncube, Manheru pretends to be unaffected by "political marginals" and leadership "midgets who cannot shut doors" in Zimbabwe. Unlike ZANUPF and MDCT who he suddenly calls the "two big boys" who are "movers and shakers" the Mutambara and Ncube MDC is conveniently collapsed by mythographer Manheru as a small political quantity that does not change the weather in Zimbabwean politics.
What infuriates Mugabe and irritates Manheru about this political good example, where leadership changes hands peacefully and in dignity is expressed by an African saying which holds that "an old lady becomes very uncomfortable when dry bones are mentioned." "Whenever change of leadership, successful elections and democratic processes are mentioned and demonstrated Mugabe loses sleep, because the very idea of passing on the leadership button and subjecting himself to democratic processes, for him is death. So disturbing this political good example is to Manheru and his freigthened boss that for the first time he comes close to admitting to the conspiracy of the "two big boys" that ZANUPF and MDC are in the uniformity of their historical purpose and political agenda.
Celebration of Tribalism
Comparable to Mugabe and Nathaniel Manheru is a Nigerian bird called Chi Chi dodo. This bird won himself a place in folklore by his ironic and dissembling behavior. When ChiChi dodo sees fresh human dung he complains and makes ugly chattering sounds. The following day he visits the dirt and sings most melodiously as he feeds fat on the worms that grow from the waste.Like ChiChi dodo With the left hand Manheru announces that he is "contemptuous of narrow tribal politics" and with the right hand celebrates that since Welshman Ncube is Ndebele when the elections come the vote count will be "Ndebele, shona, shona, shona, shona."In spite of his confessed contempt for tribal politics, Manheru finds nothing ironic or wrong with celebrating the tribal numerical advantage that is enjoyed by the "two big boys" against the hated Ndebele in Zimbabwean historical and political affairs.
Manheru’s and by logical extension Mugabe’s tribal and primitive behavior that is confirmed in the strange celebration of tribal politics must not surprise any discerning readers. The reason why Mugabe sent his soldiers to slaughter hundred of unarmed zipra cadres in Tanzanian camps and why he unleashed the gukurahundi genocide only against the Ndebele supporters of zapu was to forever crush the Ndebele and reduce them to fearful political underlings and perpetual deputies. Mugabe cannot escape blame for introducing tribalism into Zimbabwean politics and Manheru cannot fool anyone by pretending that Mugabe is against tribal politics.
That is why the "two big boys" continue to harvest underserved votes from Matabeleland; the Matabales continue to vote Mugabe out of fear. Out of hatred and anger with Mugabe some vote the other "big boy," Tsvangirai, yet in actuality "the two big boys" are together in their genocidal conspiracy against the troubled Matabales. In my view, this which Mugabe did in redesigning the Zimbabwean historical, political and electoral landscape against the Ndebele using genocide and tribal manslaughter, is a clear historical question to which his victims must have loud and clear practical answers about which I will write before I conclude this short article.
Fear and more fear
When Nathaniel Manheru surrenders objective and rational commentary to the rantings of psychobabble, more than ordinary incompetence is at play. More of the expression of fear and hatred is in the offing. The late chief Khayisa Ndiweni is suddenly dragged from the grave and ridiculed by Manheru and blamed for advising Welshman Ncube to stand for the presidency.
Cont Mhlanga does not only have his well-known and respected name deliberately misspelt as "Conte" to strengthen the mockery, but for his robust and enduring opposition to genocide Mhlanga is crucified by angry Manheru. This irrationality and unprovoked ridicule does not even tell half the story. The full explanation of the fear that haunts Mugabe and hatred that eats him up is that at last, the Ndebele that he crushed are befriending wisdom and taking up influential leadership positions.
For Mugabe, the fact that he will now be confronted by his true blood enemies that he slaughtered and injured rings the alarm bells that the Pinochet, Suharto, Pol pot, Idi Amin and Saddam Hussein scenarios might soon come knocking on the door. Mugabe is dead scared that soon he might be on a political and legal trial. It is this intense fear that reduces Nathaniel Manheru’s political commentary to what Zambian media scholar Francis Kasoma calls "grudge journalism" which distinguishes itself with disseminating hatred and servicing grudge than communicating any useful information. Manheru excels in inciting tribal hatred than supplying any useful insights.
The concerned reader might wonder exactly why in the form and content of his articles, Nathaniel Manheru chooses to confuse rather than communicate. Tendai Biti convincingly argued that it is a habit of the boys from the old school who try to display big mindedness and "superior intellect" by using verbose obscurantism instead of exalted clarity and poignant simplicity. I think there is more at play. What Manheru does not have in sense and substance he makes up for it with sound. It is a well understood literary antic of mediocre writers who hide behind rhythm and rhyme where reason is in want.
An example of Manheru’s pointless poetry is given by his eloquent blind denialism and vulgar attempt to edit history and re-arrange the truth to cushion the guilty regime in Harare from due censure. Methhuseli Moyo’s accurate, valid and important complaint about the slaughter of unarmed zipra cadres in Tanzania is met by Manheru’s poetic controversy without content "why borrow false anger to buttress your tribal sentiment" he waxes and questions why Methuseli is "asserting a shoot out between zanla and zipra" In Tanzania to perpetuate his "tribal" agenda.
First, all those who follow history will recall that what happened in Tanzania was not a "shootout" but a genocidal slaughter because zipra cadres were attacked unarmed. It is Nathaniel Manheru who should read history not Moyo, correct history I emphasize. Just how Methuseli Moyo’s anger against the slaughter of cadres who belonged to a political party to which he belongs and was born to becomes "borrowed" and "false anger" only Manheru’s twisted logic and slender analysis can explain.
What clouds Manheru’s judgment and dominates his increasingly difficult discourse is a blind denialism which is accompanied by a worrying wish by Mugabe that victims of his genocide will forgive and forget. This denialism is frequently expressed in the complaint about why victims of genocide want to "open old wounds." This is also strange logic because the wounds have never been healed or closed since the perpetrators have never confessed, apologized or compensated the bereaved and the injured. It is Manheru’s Mugabe who is always reminding Zimbabweans to keep long memory of the atrocities of the Rhodesian regime but selfishly invites us to forget recent genocide of his own handiwork.
Mugabe’s Dark wishes
Instead of convincing any serious reader that Mugabe is a new nice guy who bears goodies for Zimbabwe, Manheru helps discerning readers to glean indicators to the old tyrant’s new dark wishes for his victims. We are told that ZAPU, MDC and MLF will "vanish" as "outright winners" presumably the "two big boys" emerge victorious in the coming elections. Mugabe’s dark wish is that his true opponents, the victims of his genocide will "vanish’ and leave him to enjoy the soft and comfortable ‘opposition" of the other "big boy" who might as well boycott the election or make another of his welcome political blunders and give Mugabe another victory and political soft landing as Tsvangirai always does besides reminding the world that Mugabe is still his hero. This is not only Mugabe’s dark wish but also an unfortunate and hallucinatory dream because the victims of genocide will not suddenly become spectators who do nothing about their victimization by the "two big boys" who wish to get away with a stinking genocidal conspiracy.
There are telling words from Mutumwa Mawere, who recently has been screaming in ink about how Chinamasa has not been fair to him. "It is unfortunate that it is our silence that defines our generation. We have many cowards who refuse to express their outrage, leaving it only to victims to be the authors of their condition and circumstances."Says Mawere. Good words and deep observation of a victim. The victims of Mugabe’s genocide and manslaughter must look to no other for representation, support or sympathy, but they must rise to be the authors of their own freedom and justice. If they were killed as Ndebeles and not as Zimbabweans they must rise and fight back as Ndebeles. Away with the pompous nonsense of blaming victims of Mugabe’s tribalism for the tribalism they are only reacting to.
A saying goes that "if one’s only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail," and the temptation is always to want to hammer. Instead of giving Priscilla Misihairambwi’s article, The secrete fear: a Ndebele president, a convincing critique, in typical zanu pf labelling, Manheru just cries tribalism without substantiating the claim or giving a pound for pound response.
Nathaniel Manheru, as a once respected student of literature should be ashamed of being a producer of such sweeping statements and hasty generalisations. If he is to be a convincing communicator he cannot escape concrete and rigorous intellectual combat and surrender logical argument to cheap sophistry and charlatanry. Simplicism and naïveté have no room in serious political communication Nathaniel!
Writing about the slaughter of Aborigines in Australia, Colin Tarts states that "In acts of genocide there are three parties, the perpetrators, the victims and bystanders." These three parties are clearly defined In the Zimbabwean situation. The likes of Manheru are mouth pieces of the perpetrators whose job is to shepherd the hearts and the minds of the victims from any thoughts of justice and punishment for the perpetrators.
Both Tsvangirai and Mugabe affectionately called "the two big boys" by Manheru share in the guilt of gukurahundi and the desperate wish that the victims will suffer a memory loss of the genocide while the offenders walk scot free.
It is important therefore that those politicians who represent the victims must mobilise them village by village and inspire them with thoughts of justice. Even the international community must be sentitised to the pressing need that the crime of gukurahundi must be dealt with once and for all.
The genuine opponents to tyranny in Zimbabwe must unleash the historical, political and legal chargesheet against ZanuPf and MDCT "the two big boys" who have for so long taken the victims of genocide for granted. Meanwhile, Manheru must remain congratulated for keeping us informed of the Mugabe’s dark wishes for Zimbabwe so that his genuine opponents are forearmed to counter him.
Dinizulu Macaphulana is a Zimbabwean studying in Lesotho: he can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org