Home » Governance » Worrying and Waiting for Zanu-PF Congress Aftermath

Too many events have been happening in Zanu-PF and I hope and pray that the post-congress period will be calmer and also a time to take stock.

Change is inevitable and even healthy, but change can be nightmarish for those being affected by it and do not know what the change means.

I was in my rural home recently and the ordinary folk hearing and following all these events in the Zanu-PF house are confused.

I think this is where communication plays a vital role in an organisation that has members right down to the grassroots level.

Zanu-PF needs to explain to its membership the aim and the expected outcome of the changes that are taking place. Failure to do so results in worry, fear and confusion.

Maybe when the congress has come and gone, and perhaps when the political dust has settled, Zanu-PF will tell my uncle what to make of the plumage that fell off when the partridge that got shot flew away.

Will the wounded partridge come back to the place it was shot? As Terry Pratchette in his book A Hat Full of Sky once noted, “Why do you go away?

So that you can come back.

So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colours. And the people there see you differently too.

Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

This takes me to the dry season in the savannah where the forest is dry and the trees are raising their twiggy fingers in surrender and in prayer.

The soil itself is as hot as a baking oven and the hibernating frogs and millipedes are dehydrated and dying in the ground’s intensive care unit.

The birds now only sing in the morning and the sharp shrill of cicadas in the shimmering heat pierces the land.

In the forest, the zebras are waiting for the rain and longing for green grass.

Where they are, the grass is finished and the rivers are dry.

Even the wind refuses to blow. Only the heat and restlessness abounds. The hyenas are laughing and the vultures are circling above.

Even the dung beetles no longer have the will to roll and push dung balls to their homes.

Death is stalking the zebras and they know for real that if the rain doesn’t fall, they will fall.

If they don’t cross the big river to go to the other side, they will perish mercilessly and miserably. So, cross the river they must.

The leader of the zebras calls his herd together.

He is looking pensive and says with a stern voice: “My people, at dawn tomorrow we are crossing over. We must get to the other side of the river if we are to survive. You know that this has been our life, crossing from the other side to here, and crossing back again. I have successfully led generations up and down, back and forth. I have survived hyena and lion attacks. I have seen new life in the little ones.

“I have also seen some sick and frail comrades die. Life is a sacrifice.

“Tomorrow, as I lead you across the river, remember that there are those standing here now who may not make it. The water in the river is not a threat. The water is very low and the current is weak. The danger we face are the many hungry crocodiles in the brown waters.

“Our crossing over is also their crossing over. They will snap, drag, drown and rip flesh. They will paint the river with our blood, but we must cross over.”

There is great silence as the Zebras listen to the galloping hooves of their hearts. To be or not to be, to cross or not to cross — either way death bares his wicked fangs.

The night is long, and the other side of the river beckons, singing beautiful songs that make the zebras feel like lovers separated by distance and absence, lovers waiting to embrace.

“And just before the night bids farewell, the zebras know that it is time.

“The leader sniffs the air, frets and takes the first step towards the mighty river. There is no need to cast divining bones or to consult oracles — this is what needs to be done.

“He has done this before and he is doing it again. The river knows him, and he knows the river. The crocodiles too know that he is the legendary storyteller of the group. He has seen it all and the reason why he tells stories is because “. . . only the story . . . can continue beyond the war and the warrior.

“It is the story that outlives the sound of war-drums and the exploits of brave fighters. It is the story . . . that saves our progeny from blundering like blind beggars into the spikes of the cactus fence. The story is our escort without it, we are blind. Does the blind man own his escort? No, neither do we own the story rather it is the story that owns us and directs us.” — Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah.

As the leader slowly walks towards the riverbank, the rest of the zebras follow silently. This morning, even their hooves are as silent as the paws of a stalking lion. The leader gets to the riverbank, and he pauses as if to say a prayer as well as to study the water for any movement. The water is as silent as a rock. The leader turns his head, as if to count the herd.

His eyes cannot see where the huge mass of black and white stripes ends, but his eyes can see the looks of those close to him. Their eyes are telling stories, and because he is a storyteller, he can understand the stories that they are telling.

They seem to be saying, “If you don’t lead us across, the hyenas, wild dogs and lions will finish us all off. If you don’t lead us across, you will have chosen to toast and eat the seeds that were meant for planting.”

The leader walks to the edge of the water with sudden and renewed energy. The water smells of mud, fish, dung and death. And as he studies the water before taking a plunge, he notices a movement. It is the crocodile chief.

The zebra leader knows that the river belongs to the crocodile. The crocodile takes no captives because the river is its faithful servant that brings him food. The crocodile emerges from the water without a splash and flashes a wicked smile. His yellow eyes are fixed on the leader of the zebras.

“It is a beautiful day, isn’t it?” The crocodile says with a grin.

“Indeed chief, it is a promising day,” answers the zebra leader.

“Have a drink!” The crocodile makes an offer.

“Not this early. We have been invited by our kinsmen across the river for a feast,” says the zebra leader.

Then the crocodile chief says, “You can always count on our generosity and kindness. I can help your people cross the river. I know the shallow parts.”

The zebra leader says, “If you let us pass through safely, you can also join us for the feast.”

The crocodile chief says, “Before we can help you cross, join us in a dancing contest. I challenge three of your best dancers to the contest. If your representatives are the best dancers, then we will give you free passage, but if they are not, you will have to pay a small toll gate fee.”

The zebras choose three great-looking dudes. They get into the water and soon start dancing with the crocodile and his subjects.

The crocodiles twist and turn, turn and twist while the zebras kick and gasp, gasp and kick. The zebras flock the riverbank to watch. Then the entertainment reporter from the Riveting River News screams and says, “I see blood!”

The crocodile chief says, “That is just blood on the dance floor. Can’t you see the dancing is intense?”

Suddenly, the dance is over and the crocodiles win. The three zebras are nowhere to be seen. The waters have become too red. At that very point, the zebra leader shouts to his group, “Let us cross. There are sacrifices that must be made on the altar of altruism.”

This is another chapter to the story of the crossing of the zebras.

Source : The Herald