Home » Governance » And What Name Could Be Given to 2014? [column]

“Those in England would recall that fore-running that congress Mr Morgan Tsvangirai took a fundraising junket. This was a much-hyped trip meant to be a tour de force. He was to give an earth- shattering address at Chatham House . . . this was ignored by all the British media houses.”

The first few years preceding our independence were given themes.

One recalls such themes like 1980 Year of the People’s Power (Gore Ramasimba EvanhuUmnyaka Wamandhla Abantu).

1981 was declared the Year of Consolidating People’s Power (Gore Rekutsigira Masimba Evanhu).

1982 Year of National Transformation, (Gore Rekushandura Zvinhu), this is the year when most places with colonial names had names changed. This was a process mired in controversy at times.

One recalls the town called Fort Victoria was named Nyanda then there was some kind of uproar and it ended up being called Masvingo.

Melsetter was initially called Mandidzudzure but eventually settled on Chimanimani. There are many places whose name transformation could only be achieved after a lot of presentations and meetings.

1983 was the Year of People’s Needs (Gore reGutsa Ruzhinji). This continued year after year when the national focus would be zoned on one aspect and theme.

Now that 2014 is winding down, what name or title would the nation retrospectively give it?

The Year of the Votes of No Confidence (VONC)? Maybe Year of Vice Presidents? The Year of the Mazoe Crush? The Year of Ideological Realignment? The year of the Thwarted Rebellion? There are so many names that come to mind.

The reader is left to their own genius to give us something catchy and appropriate.

What is clear is that all the themes above indicate that all the action was in Zanu-PF.

Little about the opposition except that there was something to do with a place called Mandel Training Centre, Tendai Biti, Sekai Holland and then something to do with Job Sikhala coming back into some fold and trying to make issues of Tendai Biti’s health.

It backfired of course.

Ah, but we forget, the MDC-T actually had a congress just a few weeks before the year end!

And we have already forgotten about it? If there is anything which suited the phrase “damp squib” then that probably wins the completion for the Damp Squib of the Year.

Those in England would recall that fore-running that congress Mr Morgan Tsvangirai took a fund-raising junket. This was a much hyped trip meant to be a tour de force. He was to give an earth-shattering address to the Royal Institute of International Affairs think- tank commonly known as Chatham House. Its role in the British establishment is well known. They are a think- tank which is partially run by the British foreign spying agency MI6. They shape British foreign policy. It is here our esteemed compatriot came and gave a very sophomoric performance which was very much about his self-deluded entitlement to State power in Zimbabwe. The purveyor of illegal regime made his tired sounding cry for help to gain same.

Patriotism makes one feel sorry for a fellow countryman of every political persuasion when they give such a car crash performance and self-destruct in a foreign land. Thankfully, this was wholly ignored by all the British media houses.

After his address he was again wholly ignored by fellow Zimbabweans who left him to loiter in the foyer with little interest from the attendees. His family members in the Diaspora came to the rescue.

His pale show came on the heels of the growing presence of Zanu-PF, which has taken the Diaspora and has established representatives in the UK covering Europe.

Zanu-PF cadres’ role has been to establish mobilise and set up party structures, lobby against sanctions on Zimbabwe, raise funds, articulate, publicise, explain and defend party policies, build investment linkages and joint ventures, assist the party with political research and policy development, counter the negative perception pandered against party and country amongst many other objectives.

By the time Tsvangirai visited the sands had shifted from under his feet. He was no longer the godfather of the Diaspora he thought he was. The Diaspora had responded very positively to the progressive message Zanu-PF was preaching.

They had established structures and were taking people’s views communicating these to Harare. The people’s views were simple. They wanted to be accepted and respected as a key constituent in the Zimbabwean discourse. They wanted to see a genuine political will to root out corruption from all economic and political systems in Zimbabwe.

They wanted a ministry that represented their interests as well as help to shape policy. They felt that their relationship with Zimbabwe was one-sided as it seemed to be about what the country can get out of its people in the Diaspora and not what it can also do for its Diaspora in return. They wanted this to be mutually beneficial. These were felt to be noble requests. They also wanted a Diaspora vote.

This was an interesting request because it was coming under the banner of enfranchising every Zimbabwean. Surprisingly every time there was a big Zanu-PF meeting in the UK, there was also a concerted effort by the same aocates to get Zanu-PF cadres deported from the country and the party banned.

This same attack continued including lately after congress. It was again established that there representations made to the British authorities to deny all those that attended Zanu-PF congress an entry back into the country. These are the same people that take themselves to be super-democrats and paragons of democratic virtue yet they do not want anybody else in the democratic space!

But we digress.

Back to the year that has been: we left our thread when we were trying to find a theme for the year.

After President Mugabe’s very successful visit to China the Zimbabwe story could well have been one of economic recovery and activities the same.

Add to that the coming of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of Russia for a mega platinum deal.

Ordinarily politics should drive economics and not to take precedence over it but there was a role reversal in 2014 – at least the latter half.

This is when the nation was immersed with the political intrigues that held the country in a thrall, which saw the ruling party cleaning its ranks of malcontents at lower and high levels.

The 6th Zanu-PF National People’s Congress sealed the sad fate of certain high-ranking officials, who are now ordinary card carrying members and the subsequent appointment of two Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangangwa and Phelekezela Mphoko.

Politics has drama. Economics is boring. People don’t want to talk about economics.

The dust is gradually setting on the politics and, interestingly, people’s focus is shifting on just how the economy pans out.

This is when they get jobs, they can afford a decent life as well as get a 13th cheque at the end of the year. Of course, in many cases the latter was delayed or deferred.

That has been year 2014.

Many people at home and in the Diaspora hope that 2015 will commence with Zisco now known as Zimsteel livening up and running in the Midlands again and Bulawayo’s industry, long dormant, stirring back to life.

In February the remaining European sanctions against the First Family should go. (But we still won’t hold our breath: we know who we are dealing with. Some people would never admit they were wrong.)

The nation hopes that we can build on the many positives from 2014 going forward into 2015 and have a little less politics and a lot more economics.

Zimbabwe has to continue to value our tried and tested allies from the East but still build bridges with every- one.

It has taken a lot of indomitability to stand up to our enemies. It will take a lot more bravery to extend the hand of friendship to them in 2015.

The writer is Zanu-PF UK chairman

Source : The Herald