By Luke Batsirai Tamborinyoka
Last week, President Chamisa called on Zimbabweans to embark on 7 days of prayer before the party embarks on “decisive next steps.” Since then, Zanu PF has exhibited massive terror of the prospect of a peaceful and constitutional expression by the people of Zimbabwe.
President Chamisa did not even mention demonstrations and protests but the response from Zanu PF showed a fearful regime in terrorem of prayer and undefined “decisive next steps.”
And true, Zimbabweans have a right to protest peacefully if they so wish. No one can take away that right.
Cain Mathema and Victor Matemadanda, Zanu PF’s celebrated septuagenarians, emerged from the woodwork and spewed words they thoughts would make peaceful Zimbabweans flee from their Constitutional rights.
First it was Cain Mathema who said security agents were on high alert and threatened unspecified action on the MDC if ever the party exercises its Constitutional right to express itself peacefully.
Then it was the voluble but empty and content-free Victor Matemadanda threatening to unleash the army on peaceful demonstrators.
It must be stated that it is not the MDC that is mobilizing the people to protest against it. Zanu PF is already doing a good job on that. Through its sheer cluelessness and its incomparable efforts in encouraging and abetting a free-falling economy characterized by fuel, cash and power shortages as well as corruption, spiraling prices of basic commodities and low and inadequate salaries for civil servants, Zanu Pf has sufficiently mobilized the people to take decisive steps against it. .
The MDC cannot be accused of doing that which Zanu Pf is already doing—mobilizing people to protest!
Secondly, president Chamisa has only urged the nation to pray and has not even defined what the “decisive next steps” are going to be. Yet Zanu PF has already started having illusions about chaos and violence, traits which have never been part of the culture and character of the MDC. .
For the record, Zimbabweans have a Constitutional right to hold peaceful protests and demonstrations. The MDC, in terms of article 4.3 of its party constitution, is clear that it will always prosecute the democratic struggle in a peaceful, legal, non-violent and constitutional manner.
Zimbabweans will not be hounded away from their Constitutional right. They will not negotiate their rights with murderers who a year ago on August 1, 2018 callously shot dead innocent Zimbabweans. The known murderers have neither been named nor investigated, contrary even to the spirit of the self-serving Mothlante Commission report which demanded that action be taken against the culprits.
In January 2019, rogue soldiers in Matemadanda’s Defence ministry shot dead innocent Zimbabweans and instead of having the rogue soldiers arrested, the content-free deputy minister is threatening innocent Zimbabweans. The MDC has great respect for the men and soldiers in uniform, most of who, like the rest of us, are suffering under the yoke of a clueless regime.
They are in support of peaceful political pressure to encourage sincere and honest dialogue to resolve the crisis bedeviling the country. Our men and women in uniform are also suffering the same debilitating crisis and will not shoot their countrymen who are peacefully expressing themselves in terms of the country’s Constitution.
Victor Matemadanda, you can go to Hell.
You and your illegitimate master can go to Hell, for all we care.
As your name suggests, you can only be a victor in cutting logs in light of the Zanu PF-induced power outages. Beyond kutema danda for cooking and power in your own household during this energy and power crisis, you cannot hound us out of our democratic rights.
You may only be a victor in cutting logs but certainly not in maiming and callously murdering innocent Zimbabweans peacefully exercising their right to protest.
Threats will not work against a despondent people mired in a multi-layered crisis.
Threats will not work against the true people’s leadership.
Threats from sinful and murderous mortals will not work against a prayerful leadership that has committed themselves and the country to God.
Threats cannot stop an ordained hour. If anything, they can only embolden the people in their resolve for a peaceful solution to the challenges afflicting the nation.
The people’s leadership that emerged from the MDC Congress in Gweru has seen it all.
They will not run away from barely scarfed threats from a vanquished fellas who have the illusion that they Victors when they are simply the human personification of Dambudzo, the human and metaphorical suffering that has visited our land!
Victor Matemadanda, just take a glimpse of the people you are threatening. President Chamisa has been beaten and brutalized. He was beaten to pulp while on national assignment on his way to the airport and at the Save Zimbabwe prayer meeting in Highfield on March 11 3007.
He has neither flinched nor looked back.
He takes after our late icon, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai. A man who never flinched.
Vice President Welshman Ncube was at one time charged with treason during his many years in the democratic struggle.
He has neither flinched nor looked back.
Vice, vice President Hon Tendai Biti has faced treason charges for announcing both the 2008 and the 2018 election results.
He has neither flinched nor looked back.
Several years ago, vice president Lynnet Karenyi Kore was arrested and brutalized but she has continued to unstintingly prosecute the democratic struggle in Zimbabwe.
Hon Job. Sikhala has been arrested and tortured before and went on to found a centre for torture victims called CERETOV (Centre for the Rehabilitation for Torture Victims).
Sikhala is currently facing a treason charge but he has neither flinched nor looked back.
Hon. Happymore Chidziva has been harassed and brutalized before. Yet he has neither flinched nor looked back.
Hon. Charlton Hwende is facing a treason charge he remains unnerved. He has not looked back.
Hon. Morgen Komichi has faced serious charges before and spent many months in prison but he has neither flinched nor looked back.
Eleven years ago, I spent some six months in the D-class section of a notorious prison on trumped –up terrorism charges, sharing cells with murders, robbers and rapists. Yet I neither flinched nor looked back
Hon. Thabitha Khumalo, Obey Sithole, Jacob Mafumen Murisi Zwizwai and many other leaders in the party have been harassed and brutalized.
They have neither flinched nor looked back.
The men and women in the MDC’s standing committee, in the national executive, in the provinces and the ordinary Zimbabweans across the length and breadth of this country have been tortured and brutalized.
They have neither flinched not looked back.
Hon. David Coltart has an impeccable record of defending human rights in the country. He was one of the authors of Breaking the Silence: Building True Peace, a comprehensive report that detailed the Gukurahundi genocide in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces. In the 2000 election, his election agent, Patrick Nabanyama was abducted in front of his family and has not been seen since.
This is just a glimpse of the calibre that makes the MDC leadership today.
Many more of our leaders in the national executive and in the provinces have been borne the brunt of this violent regime. They have been arrested, tortured and brutalized.
Yet today, they stand ready to lead from the front in the “decisive next steps”, whatever they are.
The MDC has thought leaders—tried and tested peaceful men and women who have seen it all.
The people of Zimbabwe have collectively been brutalized and are prepared to “luke” deep into the retina of the eye of this ugly beast!
Remember we have not only “luke-d” into the eye of the beast before.
Jointly and severally, we have spent many months in prison but we have not balked nor retreated from peacefully prosecuting the democratic struggle.
We have entered the belly—and the very innards of the beast…and come out alive!
Some have died and irrigated this struggle with their blood. We owe it to them to complete it, albeit using peaceful, democratic and Constitutional means!
We fear not Cde Matemadanda!
The Lord we serve is a God of eternal goodness and mercy.
So I boldly say today bring it on, whatever it is, you lily-livered scoundrels!
Luke Batsirai Tamborinyoka is the Deputy National Spokesperson of the MDC. He is a multiple award-winning journalist and an ardent political scientist. You can interact with him on Facebook or on the twitter handle @luke_tambo.