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Zanu PF should listen to Manheru

By Courage Shumba

There is a columnist named Nathaniel Manheru. He writes for the Zimbabwe Herald. His column is published each Saturday. 

Presidential spokesman George Charamba
Presidential spokesman George Charamba rumoured to be Nathaniel Manheru

To be honest, I do not care about the speculation over who he is or is not, suffice to say he reveals a loyalty and proximity to the highest decision makers of our land: in our present times. In any case he,like any Zimbabwean should be free to write, shout, sing whatever he wants if our independence comes with any genuine freedom for everyone.

If I was a politician, I would sit, read and heed the alarm bells going off in the writings of this panicky securocrat.

Manheru wants and aims for the phrase “regime change” to sound like dirty words. He desperately attempts,aspires and fails to create a justification for the madness of the regime in power in so far as it has destroyed the hope and livelihoods of my people, young and old. His arguments start and stop on an spineless assumption that regime change is an external idea.

Manheru forgets one laughable remark by Ian Douglas Smith, then Rhodesian Prime Minister, when he retorted that Black Rhodesians, as they were then called, were the happiest Africans on the continent. At that very time, many of them were in training camps,being prepared for his removal by our then freedom fighter leadership.

Smith’s calculation was that regime change was a far fetched foreign idea sponsored by adversaries and anarchists from elsewhere not anything that can be comprehended by passive locals or brewed by their mishap,sorrowful experiences and circumstances. How do Zimbabweans,today, feel about home when South Africa and Botswana is not as bad, yet run by Africans like us?Is it man or is it nature ?

Smith failed to relate the nature of his government and its policies to the strain it placed on the recipient locals. He looked for external causes when his own actions justified and intensified the need for regime change from within the population..

Manheru knows that things will only get worse for his party hence the froth on his mouth shouting down the celebrations within his party. The rest of the thieving lot think the game is over. They see the fall of MDC T and Tsvangirai as synonymous with victory over opposition in all its forms.

But Manheru sees far. Perhaps his ordained gift. Perhaps a paranoia. He knows that the infighting in Zanu PF will split the party into fragments and splinter movements of all sorts of tribes and elements of incapacities.

He knows the extravaganza of those in power is being watched from the terraces of the young, poor, unemployed and hungry. He knows that in five years thousands upon thousands of determined voters who vote by facebook and you-tube campaigns will come to the polls.

And in twelve years Zanu PF will all be but a dream.Perhaps that will leave just MDC and the New NCA grappling for office without either party constantly seeking to claim and undermine the sacrifices of the liberation struggle as Zanu PF does for its own political survival.

You can appreciate why Manheru wants to go back to the roots and founding ideals of the liberating party but he finds himself deserted and alone, too hopeful to admit, too arrogant to quit, too impractical for him to join anybody else except some formation from within the establishment.

He knows that if Dabengwa can leave,as did Makoni, and authority can be challenged as did by Zvobgo and Mavhaire then without a holding centre in Mugabe Zanu PF will degenerate and disintegrate like an unfertilised ovum.

He knows that personal interest, money and not the citizen is now at the heart of characters within Zanu PF leadership. He knows that for as long as this brand of Zanu PF is in power the citizen is in trouble: and Nikuv Projects may well set up base in Zimbabwe for as long as Zanu PF wants to rule.

His dilemma is that he wants his party to retain power at all costs which may include doing so at the cost of good governance and legitimacy.He sincerely wants to regain the trust and affection of the voter which can only be secured through a 360 degree change of attitude from being a thieving rentseeking dictatorship and militaristic autocracy to a more civilian, honest, accountable government.He wittingly admits any mental misadventures of returning a one party state are misguided and illusionary.

Manheru is embarrassed to wait for another episode of humiliating mock trials at Sadc and AU conferences to put house in order and respect the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe, not only in connection with elections also in respect of the many difficult days they live/survive in between them.

Manheru knows that it is not for liberators to sink this low, to die a death by a thousand blows, all just to hold on to power for fear of retribution or for prestige or to hold on to ill gotten wealth.

And on this point: far from being a decisive and inspiring leader, Morgan Tsvangirai does not possess a post Mugabe policy that promises and aspires for the delivery of a “moving on programme” without which the actual transfer of power no matter who the victors are is difficult.

But Tsvangirai is now a by gone.Perhaps it is time for Biti, and being not in that particular camp of the opposition I leave it to them, my point being that our opposition needs to have a post Mugabe policy of handling sensitivities,security,apprehension,fear and panic which the current regime associates with regime change.

Regime change does not require retribution, acts of vengeance,triumphalism or the ICC. Regime change,in our circumstances should be a delicate,honourable, in-house arrangement between those moving out and those coming in.

And about regime change, here is what Mugabe’s camp can expect from a new opposition government that has interests of the nation at heart. Regime change means greater accountability and transparency in the activities and programmes of government.

Regime change means fair and just distribution of resources and access to wealth and opportunity without prejudice to race,political affiliation, tribe,sex or origins. That does not mean such an opposition will dispossess black farming communities who have gained under the usually chaotic land redistribution. It will mean ensuring that the ownership is fair and can be justified in terms of public benefit,production and utilisation.

A government of my choice can not be seen to be backtracking into the pre-2000 land ownership patterns. Nor can it be seen to be physically going back to replacing the new farmers with the white ones before them.

My choice of government would invest in empowering the farmers by deploying skills and technology,as well as building access to markets and investment portifolio’s to enable profitability and diversification.

My government of choice would seek clarity on multiple farm ownership and the basis of that trend against prevailing and arising needs. My government of choice would be seen persuading towards a one man one farm principle to ensure that the distribution of land in our country is fair and justifiable.

There is nothing in me that is persuaded to bring back white farmers by that description alone, nor white miners, nor white grocers, nor white manufacturers. My instinct would be to make the Zimbabwean the winner in whatever deal that is signed or endorsed within our borders for all its races/shades.

What Manheru asks for from Zanu PF is a government for the people. He is being ambitious. He says,so to quote, calling for change from within,and if it comes,why not celebrate and reinforce it.

“Zanu-PF has absolutely nothing to gain from senseless rules, malicious rules of double application, of entrapment. A Party of national liberation, it has no business being actuated by base thoughts or impulses, no business vindictively chasing little boys right back to their mothers’ cradling breasts.

A Party of struggle should never chase demeaning arguments, pursue mean altercations that hold it up to ridicule, indeed that rob it of its dignity and aura as a maker of our Nation. And of course a great Party must yield great thoughts, great ideas that lead.” He adds

“And then a key point which many seek to duck: it is in its moments of undisputed and indisputable ascendancy and triumph that Zanu-PF is always at its worst and most fallible. It becomes reckless, very reckless. It becomes insolent, very insolent. It becomes indifferent to the people, most indifferent.

It becomes unthinking, most unthinking.

Indeed, it begins to pursue little, ignoble goals, all of them unrelated to its original winning grand plans. Yes, it begins to chase and pursue fleeing rats when its house is on fire.

What Manheru should tell his people is that the recipe for winning elections, affection and honour is creation of employment, respect for human rights, accountability in access to and distribution of wealth and resources, offering better choices (more television channels,radio stations, less propaganda based media) investment in hospital and transport infrastructure, robust energy policy, initiatives to open democratic space ( more televised/radio public debate).

Our people do not really care about the colour of the cat. They worry about a cat that just lies all day whilst mice deplete our granary. Oppositions do not all come from the west,nor do they originate from there, they usually are started by some waywardness inside the home,some duplicity,some counterproductivity, some self centredness that is irrational and unacceptable which the aggriever knows too well needs to be challenged.

Zanu PF must listen to its people and stop making excuses !They must listen to Manheru about their indifference and work on that one!

Courage Shumba is a former student leader at the University of Zimbabwe

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