By Tafadzwa Mugwadi
It is Monday February 3, 2020 and I see two esteemed comrades getting into the Media Centre in Harare.
They arrive in five-minute intervals, much to the excitement of the who-is-who in the media industry, of course excluding myself.
Having arrived earlier, I chat with Dr Pedzisai Ruhanya, a scholar and writer in politics of the media and of course if you want, an avid sympathiser to the opposition party led by Nelson Chamisa.
He provokes a chat in his usual humour and tells me “hell you Tuboy, I thought you are some fundi in politics? How come you are here to endorse this rubbish, organised by a duo that is inept to the extent of volunteering to dig own political graves?
“I have studied ZANU PF and I am pretty sure your colleagues are gathered here to write their political obituary. How come you are letting them proceed with this circus?”
Normally, I should have given him a giggle, but this time it was difficult to propose, let alone fulfil.
An initial so-called “naming and shaming” attempt in 2019 had regrettable repercussions as the same “namers” and “shamers” emerged at a rally organised by one of the named and shamed Cde Tinodaishe Machakaire in Hwedza exonerating him from the allegations they had levelled against him.
They claimed to have cleared him, but Cde Machakaire reminded them that only the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the courts of law could lawfully do so.
This incident escaped the noses of media gurus and headline makers, but it exposed the so-called namers and shamers who ended up getting beaten in their own game.
Henrietta Rushwaya would later on accuse the same “namers” and “shamers” of trying to blackmail her.
There is no doubt that corruption has become an albatross around society’s neck and needs to be nipped in the bud.
But how much sense does it make for a Politburo member to convene a Press conference alongside a Central Committee member to speak on hearsay?
After saying that they had removed party jackets, and were now representing themselves, at what point then did they redeem the vacant jackets?
It is unheard of, that senior leaders of the party can stoop so low and whatever they intended to achieve remains a guess.
A leader of the party must walk along the path of the collective, and speak for the collective with due diligence rather than selfish interests.
I must say this is the story of Tsenengamu and Matutu’s recent Press conference which has all, but claimed their careers as leaders or position holders depending on where your sympathies lie.
Will they rise again? Your guess is as good as mine.
The fundamental issue which the public must be disabused of, both within and outside the party is that the trio was reprimanded for speaking against corruption.
This is a deliberate fallacy being spread by naysayers and hypocrites. The fact of the matter is that the trio was reprimanded for violating party regulations.
Cdes Matutu and Togarepi were Politburo members as well as Central Committee members of the party.
Cde Tsenengamu was a Central Committee member as Political Commissar of the Youth League. This illustrates that they were strategically positioned to raise their issues with the leadership at every level, but they could not do so for whatever reason.
They could not be allowed to hang loose by emerging at Press conferences to soil people’s names without sufficient investigations and research.
Relying on hearsay and bus-stop discussions that so-and-so is corrupt has never been the best way to fight corruption.
They should have exhausted procedures within the party, raising their allegations.
Honestly, it does not leave the party in good standing to see its senior comrades or businesspeople being harassed through Press conferences that lack substance.
Assuming those people whose names were thrown around decide to sue the reprimanded comrades for defamation, who would stand in to mobilise the youth for the party when their leaders become regular visitors to the courts?
It must be spelt out clearly that the reason why the three were suspended and demoted was because they held the Press conference having removed party jackets at least according to themselves.
The question now is, how does one abdicate a position of responsibility to violate party procedure and protocol then attempt to assume the same jackets as at and when it is convenient?
This approach would set a bad precedent in the party and Government and should not have gone unpunished.
A position of authority and responsibility is given on the basis of trust and certainly, the comrades in question betrayed that trust and therefore had no reason to attend the Politburo meeting itself.
The moment they removed the jackets, comrades ready to serve the party picked them up and certainly, the party’s revolutionary wagon will not be derailed because of the two or three.
Thirdly, this was not their first time to violate procedure.
They had done so before and pointed fingers at Zanu PF secretary for Administration Cde Obert Mpofu, among others, and were challenged to give the evidence to ZACC.
At least according to Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo, the head of ZACC, they were still to do so since the first Press conference.
That smacks of dishonesty.
In the mind of an ordinary thinker, the duo or trio represents an agenda which is yet to be established.
It must be clear that at every level of leadership in the party, everyone has condemned corruption and vowed to fight it, including the party’s First Secretary and President, Cde Mnangagwa.
No one has been reprimanded for voicing against corruption including this writer who abhors corruption in all its forms and manifestations.
Using an approach that is mis-informed by dragging people’s names without checking on the veracity of allegations levelled against them is uncouth.
Going forward, there is no doubt that this Youth League has been reprimanded by the President for being lethargic, weak and lacking traction.
It has failed to mobilise and galvanise the constituency of youths according to their mandate.
The Youth League is equally full of comrades who have no traction to the contemporary aspirations of young people because the comrades are old with an average age of 39 years.
The organ has become so weak and unpopular both within and without.
It’s high time the party leadership introspects beyond the reprimand of the trio and consider other strategies provided for in the party’s constitution to reconfigure the Youth League towards restoring and reinvigorating vibrancy.
Tafadzwa Mugwadi is a former student leader and member of the ruling Zanu PF party