By Luke Tamborinyoka
They say when a lion wants to eat its cubs or fellow lions, it starts by accusing them of smelling like goats. Similarly, we have always known that when Zanu PF wants to crack down on formidable opponents going about their legitimate political business, it first accuses them of banditry, terrorism or dissidentry, as they did to Joshua Nkomo’s ZAPU in the 1980s as a pretext for the mindless blood-letting in which over 20 000 innocent citizens were brutally murdered.
Early this week, it was deja vu when we heard the imbecilic State Security Minister Owen Mudah Ncube, aka Touchbomber, making sensational claims that the people’s project—the MDC Alliance led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa—was smuggling guns into the country as part of a grand plot to unseat the government.
No balderdash will ever beat these wild claims made with no evidence whatsoever to back the baseless and highly defamatory rant. No wonder they wheeled out an imbecile to make these outrageous and outlandish claims as no person of average intelligence would agree to sitting before clicking cameras to embarrass themselves in this manner.
Indeed, only a certified idiot in the mould of Mudah Ncube would make such claims that are not backed by any shred of evidence whatsoever. Everyone is still wondering: Surely, when a whole government, even an illegitimate one, wheels out its State Security Minister to make such grave, damning allegations, the claims ought to be backed by cogent evidence and subsequent arrests of the culprits.
But Hell No. These serious allegations of treasonous conduct against Nelson Chamisa and the MDC Alliance were not backed by a single grain of evidence. Why are we as the MDC Alliance leadership still roaming scot-free if there was any grain of truth in these voluble but empty and baseless allegations?
For the record, the MDC Alliance can never be a bandit movement or a terrorist organisation in the very country where it controls 28 out of 32 urban local authorities. We have incredible support among Zimbabweans and can never be a terrorist outfit in a country where our brand is so deeply embedded in the national psyche.
Moreover, Article 4 of our party Constitution clearly and unequivocally defines the character and culture of the MDC Alliance. We unambiguously pledge in our Constitution to prosecute our struggle in a Constitutional, democratic, peaceful and non-violent manner.
We in the MDC Alliance are not in the primitive and barbaric business of prosecuting our politics using guns, catapults and knobkerries. We are different from Zanu PF because we are a modern, digital party with thought leadership. We perfectly understand that in today’s world of smart and soft power, the coercive instruments of raw power can never win people to one’s cause.
If anything, it alienates them. We are living in the modern age of persuasion and not coercion, charm and not harm, the pun and not the gun, the word (diplomacy) and not the sword. We have always charmed and not harmed people into supporting our cause and that is why it was always a gargantuan lie to accuse us of smuggling guns into the country. We have always stuck to our totemic belief in democratic change.
If anything, terrorism and banditry are the preserve of the State in this country especially for this Dispensation that was borne out of the condign power of guns and military prowess. While citizens in other jurisdictions are fearful of terrorist outfits such as Boko Haram, ISIS or Al Shabaab, in Zimbabwe it is nowhere else but government that remains the true haven of heinous, gun-totting terrorists who maim and murder at will with no recourse whatsoever for the victims.
Owen Mudah Ncube could only have been talking about the government when he spoke about people who bring guns into the country to maim and kill at will; no wonder his press conference was not accompanied by any arrests. Government could not arrest itself as it is the terrorist outfit that used guns to violently remove a leader in exactly the same way they are denying there is a crisis in the country because they are the crisis unto themselves!
A peek into the regime’s record will show that real terrorists and bandits who bring guns in the country to take over power and to harm citizens are in government.
First it was Gukurahundi when the State made similar sensational claims against ZAPU and planted an assortment of weaponry on ZAPU properties to justify a senseless crackdown that led to the callous murder of innocent citizens.
This is the same government which in 1990 unleashed State security agents Kizito Chivamba and Elias Kanengoni to pump six bullets into the groin of Patrick Kombayi. Though Chivamba and Kanengoni were found guilty of attempted murder and duly convicted, they were granted Presidential clemency and got pardoned for their heinous acts.
It is important to state that Emmerson Mnangagwa was always a key henchman in all these unbridled acts of State-sponsored terrorism. It is ironic that this man with a blood-soaked legacy himself can have the temerity and claim the high moral ground to accuse anyone of banditry and terrorism, moreso if the allegations are false.
Indeed, in Zimbabwe, it is the State itself that has always been the true haven of callous, gun-totting bandits and terrorists. On 26 April 2000, State security agent Joseph Mwale and a war veteran, one Tom Kainos Kitsiyatota Zimunya, brutally murdered MDC activists Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya at Murambinda growth point in Buhera. Nothing ever happened to these known culprits because their gruesome act was State-sanctioned.
It is the terrorists and bandits in government who on 11 March 2007 beat to pulp the iconic Morgan Tsvangirai and other party leaders right inside Machipisa police in a horrific act of State-sanctioned violence that pricked the conscience of the world and led to the formation of an inclusive government in February 2009. On the same day, just a few feet in front of me, I saw the police brazenly gunning to death one Gift Tandare, an MDC activist as we all fled the melee of State-instigated brutality. May his soul rest in peace.
The State is always in the business of making unfounded allegations of banditry against innocent individuals and institutions. A few months ago, the State made wild claims that some civic activists had received military training outside the country, allegations which collapsed like a deck of cards in the courts of law.
In 2007, I spent some three months manacled in leg irons in the D-class section of a notorious prison in the country on trumped-up banditry and terrorism charges, which later spectacularly collapsed. Ironically, while my colleagues and I were facing these charges of terrorism, it was the State itself that engaged in brutal acts of terror when we were tortured, assaulted and left for dead without food, water or medical treatment for three unforgettable days in the infamous room 93 of the Law and Order section at Harare Central Police station.
On Saturday, 31 March 2007, when magistrate Gloria Takundwa remanded us in hospital so that we could first receive treatment before we could appear before her the following Monday, gun-totting State Security agents stormed the Avenues Clinic in the witchly hours of midnight, violently plucked intravenous tubes the medical staff had put on us and forcibly took us to prison outside the direction of the court. Barely weeks after our three months stint in prison, State security agents trekked down and brutally murdered my colleagues Tonderai Ndira and Better Chokururama, among several others.
The point I am making is that in spite of the wild allegations of banditry government may make against anyone, it has always been the State that is the true haven of bandits and terrorists. The August 1 2018 murders, the January 2019 brutalities and the gothic treatment of the trio of Cecilia Chimbiri, Netsai Marova and Joannah Mamombe are all testimony to the fact that we have a piranha regime that makes wild, unfounded allegations against others to deflect attention from its own wanton and wicked practices.
The context of Owen Ncube’s wild allegations is very clear. The regime can sense that the end is nigh. The country has hit plumbing depths of penury and suffering. Schools failed to open on Monday because the teachers are on strike for very legitimate reasons.
The health services sector has been in limbo for over a year now as doctors and other medical personnel are on strike. The groundswell of public discontent is growing and the streetification of the people’s anger is imminent.
What better way to justify the militarization and securitization of the countryside than this ruse that the MDC Alliance has become a terrorist organisation and is smuggling guns into the country to effect regime change! Muda’s hallucinations and fictitious narrative are simply a vacuous and hollow rant meant to justify repression in the countryside .
Thank God Zimbabweans can see through this ruse. After all, they are the same people who know that their party’s open palm symbol depicts and reflects that we are a party of nonviolence, nay an institution that carries no bayonet, bow or arrow to harm anyone. We move only within the sanctified ambit of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
“Hatina bakatwa , Hatina _ _uta nemuseve
Tofamba naJesu , tofamba _ __naJesu chete”
Luke Tamborinyoka is the Deputy Secretary for Presidential Affairs in the MDC Alliance led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa . He is a multiple award-winning journalist who was once elected and served as the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists.
Tamborinyoka also served as spokesperson for almost 10 years to the country’s democracy icon, Morgan Tsvangirai, until the latter’s death in 2018.
He is an ardent political scientist who won the Book Prize for Best Student when he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Political Science at the University of Zimbabwe.
You can interact with him on Facebook or _on_ the twitter handle @ luke_tambo .