As ‘Jesus Mnangagwa’ stumbles: will Temba Mliswa stand up for King Lobengula Khumalo, women and ethnic minorities?

By Tafi Mhaka

Temba Mliswa has positioned himself as a clean, independent politician who supports humanitarian causes, economic progress, transparency and a zero tolerance approach to corruption.

Temba Mliswa
Temba Mliswa

In the brilliant and wildly imaginative mind of the former rugby coach and fitness enthusiast, everyone – women, war veterans and youths included, should live well.

And an always abrasive Mliswa, who has been shrieking to high Heaven with gushing praise for President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Twitter, has stopped a few syllables short of acknowledging how Ngwena could be the second coming of Jesus Christ the Almighty Lord.

Of course, Bla Temba: after 100 delightful and Bobby Gushungo free days in power, Ngwena could well be the Messiah everyone’s been praying for since 1980. Our scarf-wearing Jesus Mnangagwa is certainly offering good tidings and the hungry, unemployed and often disappointed masses suffering from destitution and extended cash shortages will not have to wear used Gucci, H&M and Calvin Klein underwear donated by Doctor G this Easter holiday, thanks to the one and only Rapid Fire Chiwenga.

Yes, our people have been saved from the Blue Roof antics of Bobby “Handiende” Gushungo and resident Blue Roof / UZ academic, Doctor G, and truly golden times await the land of Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi.

Heaven on earth and everlasting salvation shall be delivered on NRZ wagons, locomotives and coaches commissioned by Jesus Mnangagwa himself. So let us all sing and rejoice, for the land of King Mzilikazi and King Lobengula shall experience profound happiness and sugarcoated joy under Jesus Mnangagwa.

But Bla Temba hasn’t deliberated on what should happen when a South African-born and educated prince lands on these shores fresh from Johannesburg and eager to claim his Ndebele throne and become the first ever post-independence, Zimbabwean monarch to rule a kingdom.

‘King’ Bulelani Lobengula Khumalo was probably feasting on finger-licking good Kentucky Fried Chicken hot wings this weekend in the heart of Bulawayo CBD, while waiting on everyone to acknowledge him, but unsuspecting subjects such as Hon. Mliswa and Comrade Victor Matemadanda, two passionate personalities who have subjective views on Jessie Majome, Doctor G and everything that passes as vaguely newsworthy in Zimboland, have not said a word about the newly found prince.

Even Jesus Mnangagwa, who is ever busy on Facebook posting photographs from Davos and Kinshasa and feel-good gobbledygook about free and fair elections when the ZBC and Zimpapers have not been reformed, hasn’t had time to comment on this kingly dispute or bow before the ‘king’ in Bulawayo.

Yet, the Ndebele people have spoken; and to quote the mercurial Jesus Mnangagwa, who has been naming dropping our Heavenly Father like Pastor TB Joshua on money-spinning pay per view, evangelical TV and jet-set Bla Pfidza on WhatsApp, the people – the voice of God – have spoken loud and clear and chosen Prince Bulelani Lobengula Khumalo to become king of the Ndebele nation.

Now, Zimbabwe will have a substantial king. Unlike bootlicking, shady, Isuzu-double cab-driving chiefs who worship Jesus Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF and resemble paid up congregants in a Pentecostal church overflowing with exaggerated miracles, Prince Bulelani Lobengula Khumalo has royal blood coursing through his veins: he is the real McCoy.

Who ever said chiefs and kings are equal before God or African gods, anyway? Who ever said all men and women are born equal before God, traditional gods or the law of the land when our very own Jesus Mnangagwa hasn’t asked Bobby Gushungo where the US dollars to build the multi-million Blue Roof mansion and money to buy the R45 million Sandhurst in Johannesburg came from?

Show us receipts and proof of income: show us the money, Bobby Gushungo. Show us everyone’s wrong about you before somebody snatches that house from Doctor G and leaves her shacked up in Chikurubi Maximum Prison.  

Bobby Gushungo should be flush with embarrassment and not suspect cash or silly and dangerous ambitions of an unlikely, stunning comeback. If Umdala Wethu returned from the land of the silent ancestors and found an old, annoyed and disgraced Bobby Gushungo living large in Helensvale and planning a comeback, while 90% of the population is jobless and hungry for economic change, would he cry for his beloved people and shout: “I told you so, this man’s no Marxist-Leninist?”

Would Umdala Wethu, upon reading the resignation letter Brigadier-General Ambrose Mutinhiri (retired) wrote to Jacob Mudenda, the Speaker of Parliament, tear apart his Zanu-PF membership card from 1987, abandon the Unity Accord and join hands with Dumiso Dabengwa and his old colleagues who reconvened ZAPU, or throw in his lot with the New Patriotic Front (NFP)?

Would ‘old man Josh’ support the crowning of the chosen, special one from South Africa in Matabeleland? Would Umdala Wethu back Nelson Chamisa or Thokozani Khupe in the acrimonious MDC leadership tussle that is threatening to establish a tribal divide in MDC-T and help resolve a whole laundry list of tribal hostilities that await resolutions?

For 37 years Bobby Gushungo lived like a king, but never quite ruled his people, and pretended the Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP), and the concerns they represent, didn’t exist. But the Ndebele people have a king-in-waiting who needs official recognition and this is a serious development for everyone, including the fresh prince of Norton. 

Mliswa, who has no kind words for Bobby Gushungo and Doctor G, bragged on Twitter about how he had held a meeting with women in Hwange last week. However, I wonder if Bla Temba thinks women like Dr Chipo Dendere, have the right to speak on the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act and economic sanctions, without being bullied in the media and being called idiots?

Bla Temba blew his top off when a meeting at Ziscosteel commenced without him and ended up sharing a strange and scientific evaluation on why female members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy refused to accompany him into a meeting in Redcliff.

Bla Temba said: “As a committee, we are united, but I wouldn’t know why they (female MPs) did not attend, you know we are at that period of the month where most women might not be comfortable to do some activities because of hormonal issues.”

Seriously, man?

This is the same Mliswa who advised the world: “I’ve a mum, sisters, daughters etc. whom I respect too much to degrade”.

How chauvinistic is this Bla Temba?

You can do better. So can Zimbabwe.

Although hope springs eternal for the realisation of an inclusive and multicultural society with minimal divisions, resistance from conservative sections, with opposing racial, ethnic and gender attitudes, remains stronger than ever.

We keep fighting rowdy and unbecoming wars and elbowing out racial and ethnic minorities from crucial spaces.  

We keep stifling female ambition to lead the nation in different respects and insulting womanhood like Bla Themba did.  

We keep postponing important conversations on ethnicity and drifting further apart.

But, in the words of Samora Machel: “For the nation to live, the tribe must die.”

Better yet, for the nation to live and thrive, must the cults of destructive religious and political worship, as well as gender discrimination, end for good, before sweet glory, a solid unity of purpose and shared prosperity come knocking on the door of the motherland?