Home » Governance » Masterstroke, What Masterstroke?

MY instinctive reaction was one of deacutejagrave vu: there we go again, political violence rears its head again.

If everything goes according to the Constitution, the next harmonised election is in 2018, a good four years away. Yet we are already launched into a war of recrimination, blood, tears and lies — enough a concoction to provide a destructive sideshow for a political party clutching at straws in its mortal internal combat on the one hand, and a nation in the throes of a liquidity strangulation on the other.

The story was about violence which broke out allegedly between supporters of MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and those of Zanu-PF in Epworth on Sunday.

This happened soon after Tsvangirai finished addressing a rally in the settlement.

Several supporters were injured on either side, something completely unnecessary. This is a phase of our political drama and character I thought we had passed. The period of the inclusive Government, so much maligned in the media then but now the key reference for so-called economic stability, tried to reduce political intolerance which resulted in very peaceful elections in July 2013. Who is resurrecting the demon now so many years away from the next election to achieve what purpose?

What is depressing is that this sad drama was rekindled by what should have been a non-event in the broader national scheme. But somehow some misguided Zanu-PF elements inaertently fell for a poorly set trap.

Tsvangirai had gone to Epworth as part of efforts to prove to those calling on him to step down that he still enjoys massive support at grassroots level.

He knows he faces a dire situation, not from Zanu-PF but from within, and the party is all but broke. Ordinarily he would be quietly trying to mobilise resources for his waterloo in 2018.

There are no pending elections any time soon and so his rally had nothing to do with Zanu-PF. It was purely an internal war, a show of strength against potential challengers.

But he got more than he could have dreamt of, far more, and he relished it. There were inter-party skirmishes soon after he left the venue of the rally involving his supporters and those from Zanu-PF, and he went for the kill, with an obliging media heavy in tow.

Tsvangirai made inflammatory attacks against Zanu-PF and its leadership to the media, well aware that this could inflame tempers and possibly result in more injuries. But that did not matter anymore he was happy to flaunt his feigned victimisation like a chastity belt, trying to wring the most capital out of the Epworth incident.

Now trying to nationalise the circus in his fractured party, Tsvangirai dragged in Zanu-PF, claimed the misguided skirmishes were designed to intimidate and scare him. He would not be intimidated, he declared. Zanu-PF would not stop his march to electoral victory in 2018. The skirmishes were the devilish schemes of those who wanted to stop his messiah-like mission. He singled out Zanu-PF Harare provincial chairman Ambassador Amos Midzi, calling him the godfather of the shadowy Chipangano, which Zanu-PF has publicly disowned.

This, from an ordinary member of the MDC-T, would not matter much. But it does when it is done by a man who wants to be president one day. While the rest of the nation is grappling with the current economic challenges, Tsvangirai wants to divert attention to an election whose date he has no power to influence and whose outcome he only equipped to dispute.

A serious leader would be concerned about the plight of ordinary people, not how far he is or who wants to stop his march to State House. A serious leader would be eager, should he win the elections, to inherit a functioning economy so that he can guide to higher productivity by bringing in fresh ideas. Here we have a man solely obsessed with power for its own sake the rest would be incidental.

For its part, one of the daily papers made sure Midzi’s protestations against Tsvangirai’s allegations were tucked safely away towards the very tail-end of the story where few would read it.

Tsvangirai’s claims were reported as if he had addressed a national election rally in which Zanu-PF would have a particular interest in fact the reportage favoured the familiar slant that the problems in the MDC-T, as always, were brewed in the Zanu-PF kitchen against an otherwise innocent party leader who was a darling of an unquestioning nationwide constituency.

Zanu-PF was the automatic villain regardless of what the police said.

While Tsvangirai’s melodramatics and hysterical accusations against Zanu-PF leaders could be excused, given what is going on in his party and his desperate wish for prosecution for his scurrilous attacks borne out of his delusions about personal persecution by Zanu-PF so that he can earn himself a potential martyr’s sympathy, one is baffled by the said daily paper’s unabashed, polarising partisanship at a time the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Professor Jonathan Moyo has gone out of his way to reduce media polarisation in the country and has just launched a nationwide inquiry on the state of the media in general and the welfare of journalists in particular.

The little information gleaned by IMPI so far is that Zimbabweans in general are fed up with media polarisation along political lines, lack of ethics and professionalism and irresponsible reporting.

It would be really unfortunate if journalists chose to spurn Professor Moyo’s efforts to restore the dignity of journalism in the country in pursuit of party agendas that serve to further divide and polarise Zimbabweans at a time we should all be searching for convergence in resolving our economic challenges.

It is foolhardy that a paper should gloat in a front page leader about how people’s suffering can be a boon for Tsvangirai in the next election. This is desperation of the worst sort. It short, while assuming that they are leading his campaign of hunger, they are exposing him and his party as a circumstantial man and momentary politician who has no ideology or agenda to gain state power but to gamble on a protest vote and pray each day that the economic situation deteriorates further to yield him more votes.

So 18 years on we are being told the MDC-T can’t fashion any useful policy of its own. All it banks on to win votes are likely blunders committed by Zanu-PF! And presumably those blunders include a failure to produce enough food as proof that the white man should have remained on “his farm” to feed incompetent Africans, and that the bogey of indigenisation will so scare potential investors that the policy would be scrapped altogether so foreigners can come in and loot our natural resources the way they have done since the dawn of slavery.

And this is held up as a masterstroke for Tsvangirai!

Zanu-PF for its part would do well not to provide the desperately needed straw. Zanu-PF is their dystopia. Already the groundwork is being laid to complain about violence in the next election, even if it means them going around insulting peaceful citizens who don’t support their cause.

The police should rise to the occasion, demonstrate their professionalism by dealing firmly with all those aiding and abetting these schemes.

Trying to undermine peace and retard national development can neither be a revolutionary act nor a sign of love for Zimbabwe.

Those who are interested in the country’s welfare and progress can never demonstrate that by engaging in acts of primitive violence in the name of the party.

Leave the MDC-T to fight its internal wars, and the police will deal with those who resort to physical violence, and they should not be allowed to export that culture nationwide in search of relevance.

Childish scapegoating about their every little internal problem has exposed the MDC-T as a party lacking policy, strategy and national programmes.

Source : The Herald