According to the Good Book, for everything there is a season. A time to mourn, and a time to celebrate. A time to plant, and a time to harvest. A time to feast, and a time to fast. While some fasting is protractedly long and enforced, as is the case in our beloved Zimbabwe, one has to have faith that the feasting will come
There are times however, possibly in between those polarities, when it is hard to see where things are. I would suggest that for the opposition forces in Zimbabwe, this is such a time. I honestly do not believe that we know where we are.
Is it time to consolidate in order to shake the baobab or to disintergrate? A time to unite under a progressive coalition or to snipe at each other? A time to learn lessons or to count our chickens before they hatch?
It seems as if we vacillate between the two. At one point we are talking about being in this together, and the next we are complaining about encroachment onto our turf and sabotaging genuine efforts to apply pressure on the regime.
At the time of writing, the day has dawned on 18 November 2016. This is the day when we should all be in the streets, protesting against the introduction (without constitutional legitimacy) of the phantom currency called Bond Notes. Movements born out of or attempting to grow from social media dubbed the planned demo #munhuwesekuroad.
Yet, no sooner had the event been announced than it started hitting roadblocks before munhu wese even got on the road. And that is a very long way before it has to contront the coercive and rrepressive might of the State on said streets.
First, you had Tajamuka, a constituent part of the intiative and one of the most recognisable names in the citizens’ movement, issuing a statement decrying encroachment by established political parties and disassociating itself from the planned protests. According to Tajamuka, political parties have no business getting involved in citizen protests, but should confine themselves to agitating for electoral reform through NERA. When they do, they are abandoning their ‘core business’.
Then you had Temba Mliswa, the new doyen of opposition politics, the guy whose election was so seismic that political parties are converging on Norton this weekend to go and congratulate him, you had him openly denigrating the planned protests on his way to kiss Kasukuwere’s ring. According to Mliswa, the protests against Bond Notes are ‘stupid’ since the unconstitutional introduction of this currency is good for the economy.
Oh, and by the way, despite audio evidence of Kasukuwere discussing rigging in the by-election that he just won, Monsignor Mliswa does not believe that Zanu PF has ever righed any elections – he should know, in 2008 he was a prominent Zanu PF official when we ran one such clean election (don’t worry Advocate Mahere, l saved my vomit bag from the flight).
Opposition political parties and the ZCTU gave long winded statements about how they “undetstand citizens’ frustrations” with Bond Notes but did not commit to bringing anyone kuroad. They are consulting their membership (presumably because the citizens asking to be led kuroad are not their members?) And they will soon have a ‘Mother of all Demos’ to bring down the regime. Not on 18 November when ideally munhu wese ari kuroad, but soon.
One day, after my mother got tired of the constant fighting amongst her children and the managerie of nieces and nephews that she collected and raised in our home, she got a stick. Not to beat anyone, bless her soul my mother never did learn that art. Instead, she broke this stick into about a dozen little pieces. She gave me one and told me to break it. I did it with gusto, and thought that was an easy test. Then she gave me all of them and told me to break them at once. I could not. For starters they couldn’t quite fit in my hands. None of us could break all sticks at once.
Now, l know my mum did not originate this test, but the lesson was clear. Individually, we are weak. But together, we are unbreakable. So, rather than engage in fights and arguments that divided us, she suggested it would be so much better if we stood together. There would be no bullies to torment us individually, and no weaknesses for anyone to exploit.
That lesson seems lost on our anti-Mugabe movements. Instead of seeing ourselves as being in one fight, we are sidetracked into fighting for space and in a race to impress donors. If we did not originate an idea, we will not be invoved in it and secretly undermine it. Yet the following day we are individually calling upon others to support our own individual plans.
We have lost sight of the prize: a democratic Zimbabwe by any means necessary, and focus instead on our position at the revolutionary control panel. If it is being led by Promise Sande or Mahere, it is not mine, seems to be a developing syndrome.
At a time when the enemy we are fighting mortgages our future without so much as a creditworthiness assessment, we make an issue over not being consulted about the timing of a demo that we claim we agree with. At a time when Zanu PF A keeps us sidetracked with their fake faction wars, Zanu PF is busy organising under Mai Mujuru and we are busy issuing statements about turf and consultations.
As our enemy deploys lackeys and clones to confuse and muddy the waters, we blindly prioritise celebrating with Mliswa while the same voters we hope to attract tomorrow languish and die in queues to rescue their hard earned money from the banks. And then we act confused when they do not go to vote for us tomorrow?
We are bamboozled by minutiae over consultation this and that yet fail to realise that if we were standing together, the regime would buckle and fall. Instead of #munhuwesekuroad we are busy doing #munhuwesekuNorton to celebrate with Hon Mliswa, just days after he was pictured holding hands with Kasukuwere behind the latter’s desk (handisati ndambonyengwawo zvangu but l somehow suspect that if l did, l would not be caught dead or alive in the guy’s office, let alone hold hands behind his table: just saying wo zvangu.)
So, in 2018, when he stands up after another stolen election and says the election was free and fair, are we going to recall the moment we betrayed the citizens in preference for a braai in Norton? Will we regret not standing with the mothers in the queues in favour of mixing it with Hon Mliswa? When the phantom currency takes flight and brings back those trillions, will we then recall that there was a chance on 18 November 2016 which we missed?
I hope not: because l hope the government of Robert Mugabe fails. Maybe not because munhu wese went kuroad, as that clearly seems unlikely. Rather, as the Good Book says, there is a time for everything. A time to suffer, and a time to rejoice. A time for pain, and a time for bliss. A time for tribulation, and a time for tranquility.
Even by the law of averages, I’ld say we are due some of that bliss and tranquility, don’t you?