The pole turtle of Zimbabwean politics

By Sindisiwe Mkandla

Imagine walking in a forest one day and coming up against a turtle precariously balancing on top of a fence pole. As you look closely to the frantically flipping poor animal, you genuinely know that:

The turtle didn’t get to that position on its own volition.

It’s not natural for a turtle to be climb a pole

The turtle will not get anything done as long as it remains on top of the pole

Only a cruel person would hang a turtle like that

In your heart of hearts you know the best thing to do to help the poor pole turtle is just to drop the damn animal to the ground and let it find its way into the waters.

Zimbabwean politics is full of pole turtles.  These “leaders” are leading only because they have been thrust into the leadership summit chair. As you observe these pseudo leaders struggle with simple intra party democracy, you can be sure they are naturally not meant for that chair.

In his book “the pedagogy of the oppressed” Freire clearly puts it out that most revolutionists who seek to “free people” from tyrant rule do so not to obliterate the tyranny system in governance but so that they can be the tyrants themselves. In short they envy the leadership tendencies of the dictators.

With 34 years’ experience as a ZanuPF Minister and 10 years as VP of the nation, it would be folly to expect Dr. J Mujuru to be any different from Mr. R Mugabe. She has been too close to him so much that she exudes Mugabe in all aspects.

Between Mugabe and Mujuru, the only difference between the two, besides the gender and age difference, is that the former is at least an astute dictator.

Mugabe has an abysmal delegation and leadership skills. Unfortunately this plaque seems to be afflicting poor Mujuru as well.

Watching Mujuru “lead” her NPP party (former ZimPF) one can only ascertain that she is just a pole turtle of Zimbabwean Politics. It’s clear she did not get to lead through her own hard work but was thrust there by individuals who harbour sinister motives.

May I take you back to 2004, the year she regrettably became the VP of the party and government.  Remember she was used as a spermicide to occlude Mnangagwa’s rise to second office in the land. She was used to block Mnangagwa not because she was a better thinker but because of her ignorance on issues of governance.

While in government, Mujuru was on a sabbatical of basic reasoning owing largely to Mugabe’s weakness and failure to delegate.  She was overshadowed by Mugabe.  In short she was just a mentally absent VP. Agreed she was present on paper, but it’s now clear that since 2004 it seems Mugabe ran this country alone, with no VP.

These people who put Mujuru to be VP knew she was only a place holder to be replaced when the right time came. Following the demise of her husband, Mujuru was kicked out of ZanuPF in 2014. With the way she was verbally “victimized and embarrassed” by Grace Mugabe (the exact culprit who thrust her up the pole in 2004), people were very sympathetic towards a “poor widow”.

This aspect of “poor widow victim” was then mistaken for solid political support. Her silence during the “Grace tornado” was mistaken for strength and vision. It was on the basis of these false assumptions that she was then approached to lead ZimPF initially (and now NPP).

In all honesty, do you think Mugabe would still be president now if Jonathan Moyo had been a ZanuPF Vice president for even a month? No! Which is why Moyo will never be allowed to be VP as long as we have leaders who think leadership is sexually transmitted.

Now Mujuru is clutching at straws as ZimPF (or is it NPP) and Mugabe is no longer there to shadow and pull her with a walking cane. She seems not certain on what exactly she is supposed to do.  She has failed to hold a simple congress for her party since 2015 February. She seems to be awaiting a catastrophe to happen in ZanuPF and then be called back. That will be the day ZanuPF would live to regret.

She seems not sure on the use of a constitution in governance. Recently her NPP party held elections, when her favourite people could not get positions she envisioned, she nullified the elections (just like ZanuPF in Masvingo). But contrary to ZanuPF, she decided to remove democratically elected people and replace them with her own handpicked friends and stooges.

Since her ill-advised move, defections have been the order of the day in NPP.  The once vibrant South African branch is no more. Bit by bit, the little support left in the Zimbabwe is dwindling as pioneers of her party are leaving NPP with the same reason: UNDEMOCRATIC PRACTISES BY MUJURU AND HER LEADERSHIP.

For the past two weeks since she removed the democratically elected leadership replacing it with losing candidates aligned to a Sipepa-Mavhaire cabal rooted in its anti-Cuthbert Ncube rhetoric, over 45 elected provincial leaders have resigned from the party. To save face, this cabal has seen it prudent to “nominate him back to his position” at national level.

Country wide, day in day out the party is being hit by defections to MDC, ZanuPF, and BAZ amongst other parties. Mujuru has all but shown to Zimbabwe that she doesn’t respect her own constitution, what more of the country.

If she cannot sort out her own NPP intra party problems, imagine her solving the Mozambique-Dlakama problem. It’s impossible to even imagine.

If she cannot listen to a few followers in her party, imagine her listening to 14 million Zimbabweans. It doesn’t work.

This is the same person we want to thrust into leading the coalition of opposition parties come 2018, this is the same person who wants to be president of Zimbabwe. Tsvangirai, Nkosana Moyo, Biti, Chamisa, Khupe, Welshman and others, we trust you to lead us into a better nation, don’t force Mujuru down our throats.

The day Mujuru becomes the president of Zimbabwe is the day you shall agree with impious Chipanga that Mugabe was an angel. That is the day you will realize that Mugabe’s tyrant rule was a heaven on earth.

Mujuru is just but a turtle pole. She is just failure waiting to explode and destroy the prospect of us ever removing ZanuPF. She is ensconced in her misconception that leadership of the country is her birth right alone.

She is just thrust in that leadership chair by someone who knows she will drown herself in her own vomit. She may flip all she wants, but she can’t help herself. Proper leadership is foreign to her.

The best thing we can do for her poor soul is to remove her from the pole and put her to the ground, in retirement home or somewhere where she will do what she knows best: Admire and sleep.

No need to replace an ageing Mugabe with a younger female version of Gushungo.