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Letter from America: Mnangagwa: Be bold and daring!

By Ken Mufuka

I work for stern taskmasters, and sometimes, I am told what to write. When last I talked to Chris Mutsvangwa, he remembered me from days of old and immediately told me off.

Christopher Mutsvangwa (centre) speaks during a press conference in Harare. (Photograph: Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images)
Christopher Mutsvangwa (centre) speaks during a press conference in Harare. (Photograph: Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images)

“Ken, musoro wako wakazara mvura. (Your head is full of water.),” Mutsvangwa said. I did not deny the accusation, but replied in the following manner: “Great master, I am only the lowliest of the saints, and my claim to your accommodation is that I have been faithful.”

Let me give our readers my qualification. The great Joshua Nkomo used to stop by an Indian shop in Kwekwe owned by the Naran Brothers. I worked for one of the Naran Brothers; Chimimba was his nickname. The brain behind the company was Dhaki and it was Dhaki that Nkomo visited. My job was to take Nkomo through the dark corridors of Chimimba’s store into the back where he would make telephone calls while I guarded the door for intruders.

Of course I carried Nkomo’s bag. The Narans called me “schoolboy!” I was very proud to be trusted by the Narans as well as to carry the big man’s bag and even more to guard the door while he spoke, introducing himself as “Joshua Nkomo speaking.” I was exhilarated to see a black man with such confidence and clarity in the English language.

Later on, I was to carry his bag once more in the West Indies, as a representative of the Patriotic Front. I understood then that Nkomo was probably making secret calls at the Narans and that I had been a witness to the genesis of the nationalist movement.

When I repeated this story to Professor Stephen Chan, OBE, of London University School of African and Oriental Studies, he too confessed to have had a similar experience of carrying Nkomo’s bag and recognised that both of us had walked in the shadow of greatness. I was then invited to launch my book: Life and Times  of Robert Mugabe: Dream Betrayed, at London’s Centre for African Studies in
February.

My instructions are to express my thoughts on Zimbabwe’s new government and its attitude towards Gukurahundi. For lack of space, allow me to proceed in a direct manner.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been placed by a confluence of events in a place in history where he can achieve greatness or monumental failure. Greatness never comes to the faint hearted. His attempt to sabotage a railway engine at the age of 16 was a bold and brave act.

Some thought it was an act of madness. That same courage and boldness he showed in 1964, is now called for; the future belongs to those who dare. It is the same advice I gave before he was dismissed from government in November 2017.

The G40 opponents have raised the issue of legality. That issue can be easily disposed of. If we keep to the narrative that the overthrow of an oppressive and disgusting government was intended to save God’s children from further prolonged suffering, then it was a good thing. To wish, as Jonathan Moyo wishes, that we return to an a priori position is to hope that God’s children return to Egyptland (black English).

We, therefore, need not delay ourselves on that score any longer. The second issue is significant. Professor Jonathan Moyo and Brother Patrick Zhuwao have taken out a copyright on the phrase “Gukurahundi and terrorist junta” (pronounced hunta).

Further, these two brothers have challenged the economic reforms which have taken the form of a cleansing exercise of looters.

Precisely, the complaint is that the cleansing is a fake mirage intended to “ensure the entrenchment of a kleptocracy and institutionalise the primitive accumulation ethos of ideologically vacuous coup conspirators and terrorist junta”.

If, as I suspect Brother ED is modeling himself after Chairman Deng Xiaoping, cleansing is necessary for the transformation of an economy into an efficient engine in the service of the generality. But, as Sister Fay Chung has detailed in a learned article, cleansing alone without civilisation is not enough.

A policy paper, well thought out and approved by government, is necessary. A one man band is not enough. It is a return to one centre of power under Robert Mugabe.

The real cleansing, therefore, should start with Mugabeism, a feeling by such speculative political entrepreneurs as Sydney Gata, who feel that the State owes them an opulent living.

Mugabeism also implies those ululating women and the hangers’ on  whose speech is expedient rather than honest. There is a very simple solution to Gukurahundi. ED must reach his Nikita Khrushchev moment at once rather than later. After Soviet leader Joseph Stalin died, his right hand man, Nikita Khrushchev (1955), exposed the Gulag concentration camp scandals. Surely, Khrushchev’s opponents said that he was Stalin’s enforcer. That same argument also applied to Saint Paul.

Bantu scholars say that Chimurenga and Gukurahundi are vile spirits that originated in the Congo —murenga-renga (a mad man). Norwegians experienced similar unaccounted for madness among their sailor explorers, namely going berserk (beserkers).

Yes, Brother Chris, every family has skeletons in their cabinets. We must say the word — Gukuranhundi-beserkers — we were possessed by a mad wind.

Say the word — chimurenga-renga — the spirit of madness associated with a bat. If we don’t say the word, Zhuwao and Moyo will double their copyright insurance policies. Greatness does not come to the faint hearted. Be bold and courageous. Financial Gazette