Is Jonathan Moyo petrified by North Africa’s protests?

There are signs that fear rather than logic about the North Africa, Middle East and Gulf region (NAMEG) protests has gripped Mugabe’s propaganda machine. Judging by Jonathan Moyo’s latest installment ‘Zimbabwe not Tunisia or Egypt’ published on the Zimpapers and New Zimbabwe websites, one can see unconcealed trepidation of ‘what if it happens here’? Elsewhere he talks about vigilance being the order of the day. Is it that bad?

Shocking admission

As if to confirm what we have said before that since the jasmine revolutions, the regime’s spin-doctors are having nightmares, Jonathan Moyo makes a shocking admission when he says: ‘…there’s no national leadership in the Third or Developing World that has not been exercised by the geopolitical implications of the NAMEG protests and which has not pondered the possibility of those protests erupting at home at the slightest pretext. No doubt vigilance has become the order of the day all round.’ Hear hear! He might not be the only one sleeping with one eye open.

Treason

Occasionally in his article, Jonathan Moyo wears the Attorney General’s hat like when he warns ‘these hopeless would-be copycats, whose death wish is to be arrested at the Harare Gardens and be charged with treason…’ And Finance Minister Tendai Biti is not spared the tongue-lashing either for his ‘treasonous intent’ to audit the diamond money and helping in the drawing up of the sanctions list as well as for his ‘treasonous stance’ in his silence on what Moyo claims are missing millions of dollars for fuel.

Despite Jonathan Moyo’s obsession with treason, almost all Zimbabweans who have been accused of treason by the Robert Mugabe regime have been acquitted or had charges withdrawn. They include Dumiso Dabengwa, Lookout Masuku, Isaac Nyathi, Masala Sibanda, Nicholas Nkomo, Tshaka Moyo, Morgan Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti and Roy Bennett. Ndabaningi Sithole was convicted of a plot to kill Mugabe and was sentenced to 2 years however he did not plead guilty and died while awaiting appeal.

Realities of life

What Jonathan Moyo does not know is that what is mobilizing and radicalizing the people of Zimbabwe are not necessarily social networking sites and mobile phones, though instrumental, but everyday realities of life in the country. For example the reported stench of human waste and uncollected garbage at Shabanie Mine’s residential compound, cut-off water supplies, the plight of widows, the disabled and those living with HIV and Aids since the mine closed. ‘Underground, no mining has been taking place since September last year and the tunnels are flooded and electricity has been cut off owing to a ballooning debt accrued over the years’ (Zimbabwe Standard, 26/02/11). Some people have gone unpaid for two years, according to some reports. These are no conspiracy theories.

Practical problems like countrywide unemployment in the face of 75, 000 ghost workers exposed by auditors, the rising cost of living now said to be close to US$500 for a family of five against an average monthly income of US$150 while there is only 47% industrial capacity utilization and political violence are not imperialist fantasies.

What will drive the people to the streets is not the US or EU countries but hunger and misrule on their door-step. Foreign countries have no influence on the people in Shabanie, Domboramwari, Chitakatira, Mutapa, Magwegwe, Masvingo, Dangamvura, Zvishavane or Chegutu which is said be now resembling a ghost town.

The countries Moyo is relentlessly blaming for Zimbabwe’s problems are actually giving humanitarian and development aid which Zanu-pf allegedly grabs and distributes on partisan lines. These countries are very far away from Epworth, Porta Farm or Hopley Farm. Sadly in some parts of Harare there are reports of open sewage and disease outbreaks.

These are the real issues that are polarizing Zimbabwean society. Blame it on poor governance, poverty and corruption and not the US, EU or Britain. They have their own challenges to contend with. Fortunately, they don’t blame developing countries. Moyo should look closer to home at the widening gap between owners of fuel-guzzling 4-wheel drive vehicles and the hungry two feet travelers from Epworth who can’t afford US$2 a day for commuter omnibuses to the Gulf Complex to sell Kapenta on street corners.

When pro-democracy activists criticize Mugabe, Jonathan Moyo won’t have that but he once said that there are ‘compelling reasons why Mugabe must follow the constitutional exit door by resigning now’, therefore he should know better why the situation has not changed.

‘First, Mugabe is now leader of a shelf political party that exists only in name with those seemingly high numbers in parliament because, in real terms, the hearts and minds of the bulk of its members have ideologically emigrated to a new all-inclusive third way beyond current party boundaries, the so-called third force which is a people’s movement, such that Zanu-pf membership is now only for strategic survival purposes in practical and not ideological terms which are temporary,’ Moyo said (New Zimbabwe.com).

Tit-for-tat

In a typical tit-for tat, Robert Mugabe was quoted by the Chronicle as suggesting that Moyo had plotted a coup in his final days as information minister, meeting with senior military commanders and doing "terrible things". ‘When Moyo was privately confronted with evidence of his duplicity, the president said, "tears started flowing down his cheeks" (New Zimbabwe.com/pages/sky80.12440.html).

I just can’t imagine Jonathan Moyo crying !!!!

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London, zimanalysis2009@gmail.com