Down with ‘talibanisation’ of politics!

ZIMBABWEANS in general can take things in their stride. They can calmly deal with something unpleasant and not let it have a crushing effect on them.


So it’s good that some strong, principled voices are emerging to say we are not going to be part of the negativity which has hurt ordinary Zimbabweans as much as the State-sponsored political violence and the economic sanctions imposed by the West.

One such voice is United Kingdom-based Zimbabwean Brighton Musonza.

Last week, Musonza — who is avowedly pro-opposition, but level-headed about it — posted this on Facebook: “I have just seen an embarrassing video of one human rights activist, Dewa Mavhinga.

I am not there to judge him, but . . . the lies he is telling in that Press conference are unbelievable!

I know we are a polarised nation, but I think we need a new chapter that puts us in good stead in the international spectrum.

I am not sure which ‘widespread political violence and intimidation’ he is talking about. NGOs (non-governmental organisations) are a new threat to Zimbabwe because they have been captured by people who want Zimbabwe to have a bad image and use this to finance their jetset lifestyles. Unbelievable!”

Indeed, such blatant lies cannot go unchallenged.

This is the same Mavhinga I pointed out as a liar who claimed that there was a pall of gloom in the streets of Harare following the ouster of former President Robert Mugabe in November 2017 whereas it was the complete opposite as seen from the footage of the joyous celebrations as ordinary people mixed and mingled with soldiers in unprecedented scenes.

If anything, what happened was a combined military-parliamentary-people’s coup as all these three vital sectors of society were involved one way or another or complemented each other in the removal of Mugabe. Shame on you, Mavhinga, for stooping that low again.

And you begin to wonder about how many other damaging lies Mavhinga has told since this is the same individual who accompanied MDC Alliance principals Nelson Chamisa and Tendai Biti on their trip to meet the United States administration earlier this year.

It is incumbent upon Chamisa and Biti to freeze out Mavhinga.

And as individuals in our own right, we should beware of NGOs that are profiting from the prolongation of the people’s misery because of polarisation.

It cannot be more heartless and more cruel than that.

It cannot be more Machiavellian than that.

It amounts to insidious violence.

As if that is not bad enough, the media across the board has not covered itself in glory.

The media has become part of the problem, not the solution.

Instead of educating and informing, it has become a player for or against, losing its professionalism.

Piers Pigou, a senior consultant for Southern Africa for International Crisis Group (ICC), had this to say last week: “Zimbabwe needs to have a public broadcaster, not a State broadcaster.

But private media also needs to regulate itself better or face the prospect of a push for greater regulation.

The volume of untruths and distortions peddled in a context of rampant brown envelope journalism is getting out of hand.”

The credentials of ICC — focusing on political violence, security sector reform, and transitional justice (including access to information, reparations, investigations and prosecutions) — cannot be questioned, so this is a severe indictment more so on the private media which has always prided itself in upholding professional standards, but has fallen from that pinnacle.

Yes, who guards the guard when the media has become part of the problem, not the solution?

You can easily become friends with people you are supposed to be monitoring if you are not careful enough to maintain professional detachment or distance.

Many people are beginning to see that the real, effective solution, a solution which holds, lies in some form of amity and rapprochement between Zanu PF and MDC-T.

Politics is multi-faceted; it has many shades and many angles to it.

As is their democratic right of freedom of thought and opinion, many Zimbabweans are now seeing a real shift from the Zanu PF of old.

They are refusing to go along with politicians who are saying nothing has changed, who are saying Mugabe was better than President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

We should not turn facts into lies.

People are discerning enough to deduct that had Mnangagwa lost the power struggle in Zanu PF, these politicians would be saying Mnangagwa was better.

Let’s be serious: Mugabe is past his prime and time.

Let’s not flag a dead horse. Let’s not waste energy on a lost cause or unalterable situation.

After all, Afrobarometer’s opinion survey results, released last week, established that most Zimbabweans saw the military intervention that led to Mugabe’s resignation as either “the right thing to do” or “wrong but necessary”.

This intuitiveness, insightfulness, nuancedness and accommodativeness among the people is not factored in by academic careerists because they are contemptuous of the average person as the academic careerists lack the emotional intelligence to understand things outside their self-perpetuating bookish environment in which they operate like a mutual admiration society, reinforcing each other’s narrow views, stroking each other’s ego, routinely expressing considerable esteem and support for one another, sometimes to the point of exaggeration or pretense, and even jointly writing articles.

Musonza delivered this political masterstroke: “. . . colleagues — some of whom we have been together in the trenches for so long in pursuit of democracy — have become the least tolerant people in Zimbabwean politics.

Extremism is now a serious threat to Zimbabwe.

We need to root out this ‘talibanisation’ of our politics.

I used to be like this and so I know how bad it is.

There is a brain freeze that comes with being extreme in our political views.

You don’t think and you label everyone else not in sync with your extreme views as paid by Zanu PF to have an opposing view.

We are citizens first before we get emotionally tangled in our support of our parties and favoured candidates.”

It’s evident that things are steadily changing.

We are now seeing the beauty of political diversity across the country.

It’s now a vastly different situation. It has taken long to come this far.

It has not been sudden.

This is to remind cynical spectators both inside and outside Zimbabwe that it has not come easy.

And those targeting vendors’ leader Sten Zvorwadza for realigning with Mnangagwa are displaying political immaturity of the highest order like a childishly sulking adult crying for a mere sweet.

For heaven’s sake, Zimbabwe is not a one-party State! Whether Zvorwadza backs the right horse or not, it’s his right and privilege.

People are allowed to change their mind.

If Zvorwadza flips back to the opposition — as many others before him have done — it’s still his right and his privilege.

And these loudmouths need to be reminded that they labelled Biti and Welshman Ncube as sellouts after they fell out with the late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

May they also be reminded that on the eve of the 2013 general elections, they also alleged that Chamisa had been paid a cool $1 million by Mnangagwa to influence the election in favour of Zanu PF?

Now you are swearing by Chamisa’s name, but people are not fooled because they know your track record of irresponsible and dangerous buffoonery.

Down with this “talibanisation” of politics!

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