Home » Governance » Political Opportunists Clutching At Straws [editorial]

INFORMATION, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo’s interview on BBC’s HARDtalk programme has excited some simple minds and generated a lot of copy for the media. Although a number of issues were raised and answered in the interview with BBC journalist Stephen Sackur, two stand out eminently — the Zanu-PF leadership succession and Gukurahundi.

There is no doubt that Prof Moyo acquitted himself very well on both questions. What surprised us was how social media commentators and misguided newspapers went agog about how Prof Moyo had supposedly “trashed” Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa as a future President of Zimbabwe. It was claimed Minister Moyo’s comments exposed deep-seated divisions in the revolutionary party.

Our view is that if there are divisions in the ruling Zanu-PF party they certainly do not have anything to do with the said interview that we reproduce in full elsewhere in this issue.

Sackur insinuated in his questions that VP Mnangagwa was President Mugabe’s “heir apparent” the way Prince Charles is regarded in the United Kingdom. But Zimbabwe is a republic, not a monarchy. Political leaders in Zimbabwe assume office through an electoral process, not by inheritance or anointment.

This is what Prof Moyo said of VP Mnangagwa in his own words: “He is a Vice President of the country, one of the two appointed by the President to assist him to implement the President’s agenda related to his pledges to the electorate.”

That is the plain truth. It is a truth VP Mnangagwa is fully aware of. It is a truth resident in both the party and national constitutions. Both constitutions spell out that leaders come to power through elections. What power would President Mugabe use to anoint VP Mnangagwa, or anyone for that matter, to succeed him as President outside constitutional provisions?

On several occasions President Mugabe himself has had to respond to this illogical question. How does repeating this otherwise self-evident constitutional provision translate into divisions in Zanu-PF besides exposing the mischief of those who pray daily to see Zanu-PF reduced to rubble like their foreign-sponsored petty project, the MDC-T?

Mischief because Prof Moyo NEVER said VP Mnangagwa could never become President of Zimbabwe, as insinuated by Sackur who slyly invoked the VP’s alleged grisly role in the Gukurahundi “madness”.

He said Minister Mnangagwa did not become “heir” to the Presidency by the mere fact of being VP, a fact based on the national constitution and that of the party.

The next President will be elected by the people after he is selected through party processes. He cannot be anointed at the instigation of a visiting British journalist.

Prof Moyo was equally eloquent on the issue of Gukurahundi which every political opportunist has now turned into a hobby horse whenever they want to win cheap votes in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces. He acknowledged that it was “a very dark period” of our history but that those intimately involved in negotiating, and signing of the Unity Accord of December 22 1987, had agreed that it was ultimately in the best interest of the nation to close that chapter and move on.

It was on that understanding that the late Father Zimbabwe, then Vice President Dr Joshua Nkomo joined the unity Government. It is a pity that there are people in this age who want to invoke the tribal or ethnic card for cheap political gain, without caring about the ramifications of their actions in the long-term.

If it were not for the fact that this ethnic poison is continually fed to successive generations, we would be happy to let those who indulge in it be. That not being the case, caution is in order: It is time to embrace national development policies and move on. There will never be a dispensation set up solely to leapfrog those nursing grievances inherited from Gukurahundi and have spurned the spirit of reconciliation. Such people will remain rich fodder for political opportunism.

Source : The Herald