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Mr Ian Smith predicted Gukurahundi......


"Time for cool heads to prevail in Zimbabwe" by Tanonoka Joseph Whande

PERSECUTION, violence, pestilence, corruption, plague, economic breakdown and death of all kinds and causes - yes, you find all that in Zimbabwe today.

And you also find it in Chapter 6 of the Book of Revelation. While I grapple with trying to understand it, the little that I comprehend leaves me immobilized, frightened and utterly defeated.

Admittedly, Chapter 6 of the Book of Revelation was prophetic in respect of our country of Zimbabwe in that it talks about these negative outcomes as “represented and delivered” by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The above list from Revelation is exactly what we have in Zimbabwe today; complete with four contestants, each claiming to be the long awaited savior of the nation.

I am horrified that we have to hold an election under such circumstances and still believe that they will, somehow, be free and fair.

I am not at all happy about these elections. Zimbabwe is trying to build on loose soil. The situation does not allow for such important an exercise to be undertaken.
What is the use of running faster if we are going in the wrong direction?

COSATU spokesman, Patrick Craven, told SWRadioAfrica on Wednesday that no one can claim not to know by now, that SADC is facing a serious problem arising from the political and socio-economic crisis facing Zimbabwe.

“With the Zimbabwe elections to be held on 29th March, what stands out clear is that the conditions for elections militate against free and fair elections,” Craven said.

We hardly have anything appetizing on the ballot to choose from. Mugabe is a non-starter. His record terrifies humanity.

He talks about experience yet being president requires neither experience nor education.
Africa has seen people, from bus drivers to medical doctors become presidents.

From illiterates, lawyers and carpenters to peasants and boy soldiers, they all have taken their turn with African countries. Even schoolteachers, rebels without any causes, farmers and ex-convicts became presidents. Anyone can do it. From army generals, murderers and embezzlers to poets, bishops and, ah, even my own brethren, journalists! They have all ruled an African country at one time or other.

The job of being president does not need academic qualifications. If one claims experience in running a country, they have overstayed their welcome already.
It’s safe to say post-high school education can be an added disadvantage. Why waste time going to school when you can be president?
Mugabe has had 28 years to disgrace himself while destroying the country and the people. His selfishness has provided criminal elements to commit crimes in his name. Even our war veterans, people we should revere, have been abused, starved, made destitute and hijacked by Mugabe.
We no longer have any economy. We have the land but cannot feed ourselves. Our education has become a laughing-stock. What we have are 28 years of disaster, misery and mayhem, not to mention deaths and corruption.

If I were Mugabe, I would go underground, never to show my face again. But the old man wants to hang around to finish off what remains of the population.

Mugabe’s negative impact on Zimbabwe is a matter of public record. While it is to take Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to represent the four powers of Strife, War, Famine and Death, Mugabe has achieved the carnage all by himself, single-handedly. History will never forgive us should we leave him in State House for an extra hour after the expiry of his current term.

Meanwhile, had it been much earlier than 2008, I would have been the first to embrace Simba Makoni, just like I did when I embraced Edgar Tekere when he challenged dictator Mugabe in 1990.

Edgar “Two-boy” Tekere summoned the courage and conviction to challenge Mugabe for the presidency at a time when Mugabe was at his strongest, back in 1990. Tekere led the nation in resisting Mugabe’s intentions of turning the country into a one-party state. He formed an opposition party, the Zimbabwe Unity Movement and challenged Muugabe and Zanu-PF at the polls.

“A one-party state was never one of the founding principles of Zanu-PF,” Tekere said at the time. “Experience in Africa has shown that it brought the evils of nepotism, corruption and inefficiency,”

Then he disappeared and up to this day, many believe that he was used, albeit willingly, as an electoral decoy to help Mugabe to be re-elected. This suspicion was strengthened by the fact that he, of all people known to have opposed Mugabe, is the only one who was left well alone with quite a degree of freedom to say whatever he liked, often commenting favourably on opposition politicians with no consequences or repercussions.

Now, standing on the podium with Makoni, his and Mugabe’s protégé, Tekere told Zimbabweans last Sunday, “I am appointing myself principal campaigner for Mugabe’s downfall.”

If that week-old statement were true, why did he not assist others, like the MDC, to topple Mugabe in 2002? Was he afraid that he and Zanu-PF would lose control of the situation unlike in the Simba Makoni case where old Zanu-PF stalwarts are in control of the young man’s progress?

And this is why I am most concerned about Makoni. Who really is he? Why does he love Zanu-PF so much that he cannot say anything negative about it, in spite of the many atrocities it has committed?

Is it expediency so that he might confuse and benefit from Zanu-PF’s structures in both rural and urban areas? Why is he bringing to us not only failed politicians but many who failed to distinguish themselves before? What really does the nation gain from people such as Ibbo Mandaza or those “Zanu-PF heavyweights” rumoured to be privately backing him?

Like I have said so many times before, I would have gladly embraced Makoni but his loyalties, friends and history intimidate me. I feel like I am still in the Zanu-PF dungeon. If only he could distinguish himself apart from Mugabe and the notorious Zanu-PF.
If only he could prove his independence from Zanu-PF. If only he could show what is different about himself.
Surely, the likes of Tekere, former army man Vitalis Zvinavashe, former CIO operative and party leader Margaret Dongo, politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa, and those other Zanu-PF fat cats who are afraid to publicly back Makoni, can’t be good for us. Mandaza, nostalgic of his old Zanu-PF ways, has already started to threaten the media in anticipation of running Zimbabwe. How revolting!
Some people urge me to offer an alternative to what we have. That is hardly my responsibility. Zimbabweans are not fools. Criticising a candidate is my way of vetting the man out since people will discuss both my writing and the candidate. This, hopefully, will result in the strengthening of their support for the candidate or in their turning to another one. Perhaps they will opt for neither.
I offer my opinions to provoke debate. It is also true that, today what’s on offer is below par. However, what I can assure those who are urging me to stand by one man is that none of them really impresses me. Zimbabwe is too good for them and clearly the nation deserves better yet we have to do something under the circumstances. We are hungry for change and that might prove to be our undoing.

Zimbabweans cannot keep on running. We will just have to stop and confront the seven-headed demons or else we stand to lose our country. Have Zimbabweans sunk so low that we are insulted by Mugabe for 28 years and remain powerless to chuck him away?

I will not be able to vote myself; thanks to Robert Mugabe and his paranoia towards those in the so-called Diaspora!

“We in Africa are used to not having free elections,” said a forlorn Lawal Salihu, of Kaduna State, Nigeria, on the BBC. “My country is suffering from the same illness (that of rigged elections like in Zimbabwe). May God bless Africa?”


(Tanonoka Joseph Whande is a Botswana-based Zimbabwean writer,)