By Luke Tamborinyoka
This week, a frothing Zanu PF through Home Affairs minister Cain Mathema came out guns blazing, spewing wild threats against the people if ever they seek to exercise their constitutional right to hold peaceful demonstrations.
Like the biblical Cain who killed his brother Abel for mere jealousy, the ambassador of violence threatened “decisive action” against the people.
And when Zanu PF ideologues talk of decisive action, we know they mean unleashing rogue soldiers on innocent civilians, as they did on August 1 2019 and January 2019.
Like his biblical namesake, Cain is jealousy of the blessing of a massive following with which God favoured the MDC.
Indeed, Cain is prepared to kill innocent Zimbabweans if ever they exercise their constitutional right to hold peaceful protests.
Let Cain get this very clear. We the people are already in the season of protests and we will not relent. The right to demonstrate is our Constitutional right and we will not beg for our rights from anyone, not even our Cain, notwithstanding his biblical penchant for blood.
The season has started and the people are keen to make a sonorous statement to this illegitimate and kleptocratic dictatorship that pilfered the people’s will in the last election.
We have made the point and will make it again, ad infinitum, ad nauseam. Mnangagwa stole the last election and he is an illegitimate leader. The crisis we are facing as a country emanates from the crisis of legitimacy, arising out of the stolen plebiscite of July 31 2018. All the national grievances we are currently facing are just but symptoms of a deeper, underlying crisis of legitimacy.
Seeking to address the economic crisis without addressing the deeper and structural political crisis is akin to tinkering with symptoms and not with the direct cause of our sorry national predicament.
As the late lyrical icon Oliver Mtukudzi would say, Wongorora chikonzero chaita musoro uteme (Seek to cure the underlying problem and not the symptom).
And the underlying problem is the crisis of legitimacy stemming from the vicious cycle of stolen elections.
And Cain had the audacity to claim that abductions, arbitrary arrests and intimidation of innocent citizens are all stage-managed acts.
No Cain, it is Emmerson’s electoral victory in 2018 that was stage-managed. And it is that dramatized victory that has brought us to where we are today as a nation!
They may think they are succeeding in proscribing the demonstrations but the groundswell is gathering up! These proscriptions have instead become inadvertent foreplay that will trigger a massive people’s statement when the time comes!
That the whole establishment is talking about the people’s demonstrations goes to show the traction that the issue has gathered even within the beast!
The politburo, Cabinet Ministers, war veterans, the Zanu PF Youth League—-indeed everyone in Zanu PF is talking about the people’s protests!
That traction is in itself positive news!
That is the essence of effective communication when your opponent gets into your message box and begins to discuss your issues. It tells you that the MDC is driving the agenda and as an agenda item, the people’s protests have become the topical issue, even in the Zanu PF corridors of stolen power.
The people have legitimate grievances that only a people’s government can address.
And even the most ardent Zanu PF zealot knows that the country is itching for peaceful, non-violent action.
They know they have failed to solve the people’s grievances.
They know they are illegitimate.
They know the people want the government they voted for in the last election.
Never mind the verdict of the Constitutional Court. As we have always argued, legality is not legitimacy, just as the apartheid government was perfectly legal even as it was immoral and illegitimate.
Ian Smith’s government was legal but it was illegitimate.
So spare us this legality nonsense.
Indeed, no gun or truncheon can stop an idea whose time has come.
In what could probably pass as the quote of the century, even the police themselves in their prohibition orders acknowledge that the people are facing hardships, the very same reason for which they ironically seek to bar the ordinary citizens from exercising their constitutional rights.
Said the police in their infamous prohibition orders: “Ordinary citizens in the country are experiencing hardships so any call for the demonstrations might be taken advantage of by the already agitated citizens.”
For God’s sake, the very fact that citizens are agitated must be the very same reason for which they must be allowed to peacefully exercise their Constitutional right so that those in charge become aware of the grievances behind their agitation!
So Cain, hold your breath. We perfectly understand the fears of pilferers who have taken refuge in an illegitimate crumbling edifice.
As one unpopular tyrant once said: My realm is like a worm-eaten house, if one piece collapses, no one can tell how much of it will fall!
But those from whom the vote was pilfered have their own democratic rights, which they are keen to exercise in a peaceful and non-violent manner in line with the dictates of the supreme charter of the land.
As we stand on the cusp of the 20th anniversary of the people’s movement, the people are ready to define their own destiny.
Just watch the people’s space!
I rest my case.
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.