By Tinomudaishe Chinyoka
Our politics is entering uncharted territory. In one day, a Presidential candidate wishes his putative opponent good luck in the coming elections and hopes that the campaign will be peaceful, and another unleashes his supporters on his political opponents resulting in several smashed heads and a number of people needing stitches.
You couldn’t make this up, but it’s true: the first is President ED Mnangagwa, who took to Twitter to congratulate his youthful opponent’s forced ascent to the MDC leadership. The second is of course “His Excellency the Ngwazi”, the Advocate, the Man of God, Dr Nero Himself or, as his supporters like to call him, Wamba dia Wamba.
The election itself will of course be a walkover, the boy is out of his depth. He is flailing, and the resort to violence and lies is meant to plug the ability and credibility gap: it won’t. I mean, you have to be spectacularly stupid to think that people will buy what you are selling when you claim: “the diamonds are not finished, God is just hiding them until l am President.” Like, dude, are you for real right now?
If your economic plan is “Trump offered me $15 billion,” and your qualification for the job is the nebulous “generational mandate” that you base on your being 40 years old, and your confidence about our prosperity under your Presidency is that “#Godisinit” then no Sir, there is no way you win an election. It’s a country, not a toy, the citizens know this and they are never going to trust their fate in the hands of such immaturity.
The challenge for us is, given how corky he is, will Chamisa accept defeat when (not if) he loses the Presidential election?
Because our country just cannot afford another contested election result. We need to be able to re-engage with the world following the events of the past and trust in our processes is key.
Reason would say he must lose: the boy talks about his victory in one breath, fixing the economy in 14 days in the next, building bullet trains in between and then anonymously “leaks” his misogynistic “shadow cabinet” showing the list of mostly men that will help him run the country (no Welshman, no Khupe, not even his new BFF Vimbai Musvaburi).
But we have heard this song before. In 2013, Morgan Tsvangirai (God rest his soul) spent Election Day talking up his chances on social media, then started singing a different tune when reality bit.
You go around promising bullet trains to people that just want to be able to withdraw their money from the bank and you wonder why they didn’t vote for you? There are pills for that sort of thing.
But Chamisa can’t do the same, surely. He cannot complain about an uneven playing field when he clearly has been given a mile-long leeway: he clearly incited violence in Buhera so much so that even his colleagues wanted him arrested, but the ZRP did not do anything. MDC goons sing of Wamba dia Wamba when they attack people, but he is not touched. MDC officials speak freely on the ZBC news, how can he cry of an uneven playing field?
Truth is there is no Zanu-PF to blame this time. Both President ED and the Zanu-PF chairperson Cde Muchinguri have repeatedly asked their members to shun violence. In fact, the only pre-election violence that we have witnessed is Chamisa’s so-called “Vanguard” — black-shirted young men following a short man with a God delusion, who thinks that the old people have ruined his country. . . if this reminds you of someone, you are right! Chilling.
As if traipsing all the way to the US to ask for sanctions was not enough, the boy deploys his lackeys to attack anyone that dares question the process and methods. Catriona Laing wears a Zimbabwe scarf to Downing Street to represent our country, and tell them that Zimbabwe is open for business and she gets attacked like she committed treason. Apparently, it’s a junta scarf? Do these people even know what “junta” means?
When you point to a certain Trudy Stevenson wearing West African dress as the (MDC-appointed) Ambassador to Senegal, you are called an “EDiot”. When you decry the unconstitutionality of the boy’s power grab you are called a Zanu-PF apologist and jealous of Nelson Wamba dia Wamba Chamisa.
They forget the wisdom of old: “Muchapembedza mimba yekiti seinokamwa mukaka,” because their whole project is a rejection of anyone and anything over 40. Wisdom, it seems, has no place in Wamba dia Wamba’s MDC.
In order to be President, constitutionally one needs to be over 40 years old. But listening to their rhetoric you would be forgiven for thinking that that is the only requirement. His apologists point to France’s Emmanuel Macron.
But they conveniently forget that Macron was a highly successful banker who had had very high office in cabinet before running for President. And crucially, he started his own party, rather than wait for two deaths in order to get ahead.
I am not suggesting that Dr Nero should start his own party, but I just think that one needs to have done something in life in order to be President. Or, better yet, to have made some mistakes and learnt from them. Experience is the best teacher. And being President is like professional sport, you don’t learn it by reading about it.
So the choice we are being given becomes clear as elections draw close: an excitable youngster, who thinks that this is all some generational joke and the presidency a toy, or a seasoned politician who has already started to show us how much potential we have as a people. It is a choice between a boy, whose blackshirt guards go around beating up old people and calling Ndebeles dissidents, and a man that has brought the true meaning of independence to our hearts after 37 years of hurt.
A choice between a toddler promising people bullet trains and a President who, upon being asked for laptops by a courageous young student on a school visit, delivered within weeks.
They will crucify me for saying this and l certainly won’t get on no bullet train to Ngundu, but, on the evidence of both candidates’ actions since November 18, 2017, #EDhasMyVote.