MNANGAGWA AND MUGABE TIED TOGETHER BY #MUGABISM.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have written and made videos about how President Mnangagwa must be careful not to sellout the country to the west that is offering him its hand in a reengagement process.
On closer analysis I have realized that even if Mnangagwa wanted to sell out, the self interests and ideological positions of the negotiating parties are irreconcilably opposed, making it almost impossible for them to reach any tenable compromise.
The two sides are too steeped in ideological poles underpinned by diametrically opposed motives that it’s just impossible for them to find common ground without one or both standing the chance of losing big in their ideological positions and historical standing.
This is a classic clash of western neo-liberal imperial interests, set-up against black nationalism, equality and emancipation, where stakes are high on both sides because the results of this contest will reverberate into the future of global race relations.
The simple sequence goes as follows: Robert Mugabe was removed from the Presidency by ZANU PF internecine fighting, and the west has quickly jumped onto this development to generate a narrative that his ousting was due to the failure of his ideology and Zimbabwe falling into a failed state. Obviously for those whose opinions are educated enough to matter, nothing could be further from the truth as his removal had little to do with his ideological position which still effectively stands.
Mugabism as it maybe called was a putting into practice the long standing Garvey, Fanon and Malcom X aspirations of oppressed black masses rising up, casting away their fear, turning the savagery of their masters against them in an orgy of violence to overthrow the colonial grip on Africa in a reenactment of [an African] Dien Bien Phu. This leads to the capitulation of the colonial state, with the masses taking control of their factors of production, developing black minds through education & up-skilling to turn these minds into an African workforce capable of creating its own institutions, building its own nations and raising itself out of obscurity and charting its own destiny.
Mugabism is still alive and well in Zimbabwe, the greater body Afrique and its diasporas because what Mugabe achieved has brought to life the long festering dream of many a leader of the black movement who died striving for it.
Leaving Whawha after serving a ten year prison sentence, Mugabe was not cowered into submission, but, instead he rose stronger and valiant to bring together a splintered party [Zanu] and Zanla [military wing], galvanizing them to march on, kill white soldiers and bring an advanced Rhodesian military machine to near annihilation. Enjoined by the fear of the indignity of having the bodies of white civilians dragged through the streets of Salisbury after total defeat of the Rhodesians by natives, the British called for negotiations and armistice in Switzerland and Lancaster.
A puffed up Mugabe, buoyant from an unlikely victory against the mighty Rhodesians went to the negotiations, stubbornly resisting to give in to any terms that did not include the return of ancestral land back to black Zimbabweans with mother Britain paying for the compensation of her scion, for Africans to own the land in which they were enslaved. Eventually the British government relented and the Zimbabwe liberation front alliance left Lancaster having given the giant negotiator of the Treaties of Versailles and Potsdam a bloody nose, as she had betrayed her kith and keen in a small but significant jewel of the empire.
Friend of The Queen Building A New Nation
With this victory and no reparations, ZANU Pf under the stewardship of Mugabism forged on to build a formidable nation in relation to the little resources they had. The quest to educate Zimbabweans began in earnest, taking over a country with only 4000 black graduates, 200 secondary schools -60% of which were white- 1200 primary schools, and a literacy rate of under 35%. ZANU went on a huge school, road, bridge and teacher training college building exercise. Using the District Development Fund and instituting a food for work citizen initiative, the new government with the help of the communities was able to achieve the remarkable feat of building 2600 primary schools, 1200 secondary & high schools, more than 15 tertiary institutions, four universities, creating 500 000 graduates and lifting the literacy rate to 89% (the highest in Africa according to the UN) in a 20yr period from 1980-2000.
All in this while Margret Thatcher drew closer to this enigma called Robert, facilitating for the queen to knight him, hoping to charm him into absconding the foolhardy ambitions that he and his comrades had brooked as young terrorists in the bush. Nevertheless, true to form an adamant Mugabe pushed on with developing his people and the two phases of land redistribution as outlined in the Lancester House agreement. In many ways Mugabe played the British at their own game by accepting to be knight of the queen, while still serving the interests of his people before those of the British people and the Queen.
In this move Robert was clear that he was Mugabe the leader of Zimbabwe and not Rhodes the servant of the crown. The man had once again defied the mighty empire in commitment to his people and ideology and this continued insolence could not be tolerated.
The Fall Of A Knight
By this time the British were growing weary of this formidable little savage who dared to challenge the might of the empire at every turn, so they began the scramble to deligitimize this recalcitrant savage from the colonies. Albeit, Mugabeism as the reincarnation of Garvism had began in earnest. It’s because of this epoch that Mugabe ignited the African psyche to create a new paradigm which has stood undefeated and put him out of favor with the west, pulling ZANU Pf with him under the same blanket..
Mnangagwa The Sitting Duck?
Fast forward to 2017, the western excitement at the removal of the menace Mugabe led it to hastily humble itself and offer a friendly hand to the incoming ZANU PF incumbent. In turn the incumbent in a stroke of master brinksmanship, accepted the hand of friendship and made the right proposals to appease his progenitor’s erstwhile foes. In the euphoria, to the west Mugabe had fallen and and an “anyone but Mugabe” policy was adopted to reign in colony. Mnangagwa played along, making the right noises, offering concessions that were surely a reversal of Mugabe policy pillars, while asking for very little in return.
Surely the progression would be simple: the west would ask a desperate Mnangagwa to fulfill all that he promised including him giving full electoral reforms, conducting free and fair elections with western observers in late 2018 and Zimbabwe would be set to rejoin the common wealth in a straight jacket.
Mnangagwa Makes His Play
It all looked like a pretty simple arrangement to return colony to empire, until one begins to look closer at the small demand made by Mnangagwa to initiate his neo-colonial transition. With Zimbabwe being a country in economic difficulties, all he is asking for is the reopening of international trade relations to facilitate foreign financial investment in Zimbabwe, normalization of relations with multi-lateral lending institutions so that Zimbabwe can have its credit lines reopened and the reopening of western markets for Zimbabwean goods. That’s all he is asking for and that will just require the little issue of removing the legal hurdle: US ZDERA, UK and EU sanctions on Zimbabwe, and Mnangagwa will have the motive to sell to his people and reverse Mugabeism, deliver on the concessions and deliver colony as promised. A pretty fair deal, right? Not quite, Mnangagwa’s proposed concessions and request are reminiscent of Mugabe’s shrewdness in taking the knee for the knighthood.
The west was counting on simply lulling Mnangagwa into a false sense of security since convincing him that he is a man they can do business with. However, concurrently they were conjuring up Mnangagwa’s past ghosts by subliminally using mainstream media to append subtle references to Gukurahundi, Godfrey Majonga, Muramba Tsvina, 2008 electoral fraud, 2008 election violence and the 2017 coup that they have not yet called a coup. All in the while reassuring him that if he delivers economic policy and electoral reforms, credible elections in 2018, all will be forgotten and investment will flow into Zimbabwe.
Understanding An Enemy
The biggest problem however is Mnangagwa has been around the block a few times to understand his nemisis and pay attention to what is not said more than the rhetoric. The willy statesman has seen this game of brinksmanship before with Gaddaffi who fell for European reengagement puffery and eventually paid with his life.
As lieutenant to Mugabe he understands well that the west still want to even the score between Mugabism and neo-liberalism, and if he was to give electoral reforms, while his government and party are on a sanctions back-foot steering a sinking ship, he is merely handing over an electoral victory to the opposition. Mnangagwa is also fully aware that he is dispensable once he undertakes electoral reforms that guarantee the American objective spelt out in ZDERA Act: assisting Zimbabweans to effect a democratic change of government [to purge Zimbabwe and the world once and for all of Mugabism].
With this Mnangagwa is not likely to initiate committing political harakiri by giving away his only bargaining chip: electoral reforms, unless the west show goodwill first by giving him the tools he needs to fix the economy. It’s a pretty fair request if only giving Mnangagwa capital was not going to be an on goal for the west in it giving the capital to sustain Mugabism.
Elections for Money
By removing sanctions on Zimbabwe, Mnangagwa is likely to make some significant policy changes that will pull a significant number of gluttonous, jingoistic American and European investors, looking forward to sinking their teeth as first movers, into this mineral rich cherry with an educated and principled workforce. In turn he will also push for lines of credit which he is likely to put to good use by picking low hanging fruit and taking the path of least resistance in fixing Zimbabwe. As is predictable, a lot will be invested into agriculture to ensure another bumper harvest to consolidate food security, while pushing up Zimbabwe’s GDP. Meanwhile in negotiations with foreign investors he will offer attractive incentives for investment into agro-processing to kick start industry, while lucrative contracts for the upgrading of roads, hospitals and water sanitation facilities will be given in short course and funded by development debt and proceeds of the parastatal fire sale.
By the time we get to elections in late 2018, some noticeable progress will be discernible in Zimbabwe and as people who haven’t seen much development in the country for a while, any small change in facilities or service delivery will be noticeable. This is very likely to win the hearts and minds of desperate Zimbabweans adequately to potentially give ZANU PF a genuine win over the opposition under a reformed free and fair electoral dispensation observed by western observers.
Neo-liberalism Must Win
This latter outcome is an untenable result for the west because it will give a clear victory to Mugabism.
• First and foremost it would immediately prove that Mugabe was right when he was saying for the past few years that illegal western sanctions and not him or corruption where the reasons why Zimbabwe’s economy was stagnant.
• It would also clearly show that the west has been the cause of civilian suffering in Zimbabwe because of a personal vendetta against Mugabe.
• It would also be a message to the rest of Africa and the third world that Zimbabwe’s struggle was genuine and eventually won by a Mugabe lieutenant when the west removed sanctions in desperation to reengage Zimbabwe because the west needs Zimbabwe/Africa more than Zimbabwe/Africa needs them.
• It will also illustrate educated black Zimbabweans/Africans [educated by Mugabe] in a free and fair market without western neo-colonial manipulation, are capable of developing their economies under liberation parties like ZANU Pf.
• This would then be deduced to mean that ZANU Pf will rule for another term and possibly a few more inchingotonga ichingotonga ichingotonga as Mnangagwa predicted in true Mugabism brinksmanship.
• The same message would obviously be a shot in the arm for other liberation’s parties like ANC hoping to carry out radical economic transformation.
This leaves our two parties in positions that are diametrically opposed in a irreconcilable impasse.
All in the while China is watching from the side lines hoping to counter any genuine western offers *As I take my seat on the sidelines*
Rutendo Matinyarare is a marketing and brand strategist at Frontline Studio