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Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye: Choices — Always choices

" I am about to tell you the secret to life , That the whole damn thing , is about decisions , the seemingly insignificant decisions , that clear the road , for monster track life-altering ones . Every path you take , leads to another choice , And some choices change everything , Every damn moment , for the rest of your life , hangs on them" ( Adapted from the movie --The Choice)

By Luke Tamborinyoka

The choices we make or fail to make in our lives determine who we become and oftentimes define and shape our destiny. Past choices are the determinants of today while today’s choices and decisions will certainly have a large bearing on the future.

Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye with Luke Batsirai Tamborinyoka
Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye with Luke Batsirai Tamborinyoka

In the week that Pretoria’s Constitutional Court sentenced former South Africa President Jacob Zuma to a 15-month jail term for his past actions, the matter may provide ample evidence yet that our current lived circumstances are determined by our past choices and decisions.

The cardinal lesson is that whatever our social station, the long arm of the law will always catch up with us beyond our tenure to demand that we account for our past choices and decisions. It is trite to state that choices and decisions are mutually inclusive.

Choices. Life is always about choices.

Indeed, Zuma now needs to make yet another choice on whether or not he will surrender himself to the police within the five-day window period given to him by his country’s highest court!

In the week that England’s national football team broke a 55-year jinx to defeat Germany at Wembley, it may all boil down to the decision and the choice of players that Germany’s coach Joachim Loew made, particularly the decision to include two veterans in his squad. The inclusion of Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels who fluffed their chances in the game may have ensured Germany’s first loss to England in a knock-out football tournament in a period spanning almost six decades!

It may have been about the choice of the players.

Choices. Always choices.

I am an avid reader. I am also passionate about writing and I am an ardent football fan. I watch movies but would not regard myself as addicted to them. But my 9-year old daughter, Lee-Anne Tapiwanashe, is a movies addict at whom I always shout to concentrate on her school work.

It was with her that I watched the movie The Choice whose preamble is the prologue to this week’s instalment. The movie’s theme made me reflect on the significance— nay the monumental life consequences—of the seemingly innocuous choices and decisions we make during our lifetimes. Another movie that my daughter coerced me to watch — Always a Bridesmaid —-makes the same point about the efficacy and utility of choice and that all our lives are a net product of the choices we make.

Choices. Always choices.

While it is true that in certain cases the decisions and choices made by others make and shape our destiny, in more instances it is the choices we make ourselves that determine who or what we eventually become. True, we can’t choose our parents, we have no power to determine the families we are born into, let alone our birth places and the countries in which we are born. But we can carve out new realities through the choices and decisions that we deliberately make ourselves.

Some may posit that history and background shape people either as individuals or as communities. But there are many instances where both individuals and communities have proven they are neither prisoners of their backgrounds nor hostages of their past.

Oprah Winfrey, Barack Hussein Obama and billionaire Bill Gates are epic examples that show that by dint of the choices they made and the sweat of their endeavours, they broke free of their past and lurched out of their own historical circumstances to chart novel paths for themselves, distinct from the parlous backgrounds in which they were born and bred.

The Asian Tigers and global power China provide pertinent examples that countries and communities too can prosper owing to the choices and decisions they make at leadership level to calcify from a situation of want to a position of growth and surplus. In our case as a country, at leadership level, we have taken a decision to become a kleptocracy—an entity in which thieves are in charge.

The cliché Life is what you make it is an apt summation of the fact that human lives and circumstances are the products of the deliberate choices and decisions that people make. Human choices breed the human condition! Zuma’s current predicament is a result of the choices and decisions he made in his life, including the decision to be contemptuous of court orders.

Choices. Always choices.

The key point to note is that our choices determine us and our lived circumstances: the spouses we choose and marry, the leaders we elect, the political parties to which we pledge our support, the religious faith we choose to be guided by, the cars we buy, the homes we construct or purchase and our wardrobes are all products of our personal choices. These choices in turn shape and determine who we are and help in the creation of our personal situations.

Choices. Always choices.

However, an exception must be added when it comes to choosing leaders of your choice. In some circumstances, such as our own, leaders you have not chosen can foist themselves on you. Your own choice can be rigged out while the choice preferred by the “system” can be forced down your stubborn throats. In our situation, captured institutions of the State can even breed leaders of political parties. In some cultures and religions here in Zimbabwe, even spouses are not products of individual preference. They are products of the parents’ preferences or the dreams— real or imagined—of the seer or the prophet at the church!

The utility of Choice–A Zimbabwean experience

Without bothering readers with too much detail on the background, we have all now seen that Constitutional clauses that were the choice of a sovereign people are at the mercy of the personal whims of the mighty and the powerful! Indeed, there are instances where our choice of the national governance charter that we even affirmed ourselves in a referendum don’t matter as that choice can be trampled upon by those who wield power and might.

But on the main, notwithstanding the exceptions, our choices trail our lives and impact on them in monumental ways. Retired General Constantino Guvheya Nyikadzino Chiwenga was the key player in the removal of former President Robert Mugabe in a coup in November 2017.

Consequent to Mugabe’s ouster, Chiwenga also spearheaded the return from exile of one Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa to take over as President. It was Chiwenga’s choice, with his largely military and political elite, that ED takes over the reins.

Today, through a contentious Constitutional amendment currently being challenged in court that seeks to remove the running-mate provision, it is clear that Chiwenga, Mnangagwa’s initial choice for Vice President, is now being targeted for sidelining by the same man who was his own Presidential choice in November 2017. The strident attempt to remove the running mate clause shows that Mnangagwa does not want to show his hand early that Chiwenga will not be his preferred choice for deputy in 2023.

Now that Chiwenga’s choice yesterday is today haunting him, having removed a fellow VP in a well-choreographed hatchet job, the retired military commander may well be regretting the choice he made or failed to make in 2017!

Chiwenga’s personal circumstances today are a product of the choices and the decisions he has made in the past. Indeed, his past choices, for better or for worse, have determined his current predicament. As they say in the phrase, the petard that hoists you is your own. Your own choices can devour you or limit the span of your leverage!

Choices. Always choices.

Some military generals have died in mysterious circumstances in the past year, probably done-in through a callous coup-proofing crusade. Yet the same generals who are no longer with us were solidly behind Mnangagwa in 2017. Maybe, just maybe, their current place in the loamy soils of Zimbabwe is a product and a direct consequence of what they presumed to be a prudent choice for President in November 2017 and in July 2018.

Choices. Always choices.

Mugabe chose and married Grace Marufu with whom he wed at a colorful ceremony in 1996. The same Grace, through her presumed crimes of omission and commission, may have hastened her husband’s demise in that fateful month of November 2017.

If Mugabe had not chosen Grace, if he had stuck with the then ailing Sally; or if he had married someone else, maybe his own colleagues would not have found any excuse to take the choice of violently removing him from office through a coup as they did in 2017.

The hubris and palpable frailties of Mugabe’s marital choice may have been preyed upon by those whose choice and ambition was always to occupy the lofty seat. For Mugabe, with the benefit of hindsight, it appears the adulterous marital choice of a married woman that he finally made after years of drooling at the array of cleavage that lined up at the typing pool in his own office turned out to be a dastardly choice that hastened his hounding from office.

Equally, it was Mugabe’s personal choice and decision to overstay in office, which choice ultimately eventuated a gargantuan crowd of many political colours that turned out in the streets in its collective keenness to see his back. The choice, nay the decision, to overstay in office caused a huge convergence that for different reasons was determined to see him out of office at all costs.

Choices. Always choices.

A choice is a not just a consequence of a decision. A decision is made after considering the choices or options available. Indeed, choices and decisions are mutually inclusive. The decision or choice to rig the 2018 election and to capture State institutions including the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the judiciary, has equally influenced today’s decision to extend my namesake Luke Malaba’s term.

In turn, Malaba was influential in the Bench’s choice to pronounce the ominous verdict that legalised Mnangagwa’s victory in the last election. Yesterday’s choice has influenced today’s choice and decision to extend Malaba’s term.

In 2023, Malaba will know what choice or verdict to deliver should a Presidential petition land before the Constitutional Court! Illegality begets illegality. The insistence on the illegal extension of Malaba’s term is designed to and will most certainly spawn illegality and illegitimacy upon this our nation.

Thokozani Khupe is living the consequence of her choices. She defied and disrespected the late icon Morgan Tsvangirai whose meetings she boycotted for almost a year until his demise in February 2018. She further made her choice to hang around with Douggie, who used an inquorate Congress and stolen money to place himself on the political dais at her expense. Today, Khupe must be regretting her choices, both to snub Tsvangirai and to assume mkoma Douggie was her staunch ally.

Equally, ED seems to have switched his choice for preferred surrogate. He has switched from Thoko to Douggie and the surrogates do not even know that this whole insidious game is not about them. It’s all about who at any given time the regime thinks is the most prudent choice and best best human arsenal to undermine Nelson Chamisa and the MDC Alliance.

The treacherous surrogates, both of them, will soon be dumped as it is now clear that they have dismally failed to decimate the people’s party. For both of them, their choice and decision to hobnob with the dictatorship has been their kiss of death as their political obituary is now a matter of public record. Indeed, their political choice to consort with this murderous, securocratic dictatorship has equally made the people to unequivocally make their choice on who truly represents their voice. In the court of public opinion, the verdict is clear on who really is the legitimate MDC.

Choices. Always choices.

At a personal level, I can say some of us have learnt from the best. Having spent a decade as Dr Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, I can confidently state that I learnt from the very best. For me, the choice is always clear. I will always shun privilege for principle. I will choose service and sacrifice over avarice and the primitive pursuit of politics as a commercial enterprise. Trinkets and trappings have never appealed to some of us. From Tsvangirai the doyen, we learnt that the politics we transact is never for ourselves but for the benefit of the people. It’s the people stupid

Whatever we see happening around us is a culmination and a reflection of rhe choices and decisions made in the past. We see people being chastened or hurt by the choices and decisions they have made.

The choice of tribesmen in both party and government, the appointment of murky and shady characters into key State institutions that Mnangagwa is pursuing with neither shame nor compunction will certainly haunt him in the very near future.

The decision and the choices being made today to villagise and Karangise both party and government, to bastardise the Constitution, to repress and violate innocent citizens, the transactional politics of purchasing opponents and buying treasures and jets while the people suffer, will tomorrow return to haunt the proponents. For tomorrow is another day.

The Nuremberg trials were a product of crimes, choices and decisions made many years earlier. People must learn to be careful about the choices they make today for they shall determine their circumstances tomorrow, just as today’s circumstances are built on the edifice of yesterday’s choices and decisions.

Choices. Always choices.

Douglas Togarasei Mwonzora has made his choice to be a purchased turncoat. He has made his choice to unmake a Constitution he led in its making. That he is now being chased away by ordinary people, as recently happened in Bindura, is the result of the wicked choice he has made to sup with the Devil. We know he has already lunched and broke his fast with the same heinous characters from Hades. But tomorrow, we shall definitely see the Waterloo to which his despicable choices today shall lead him.

In the bastardisation of the national Constitution, the irony is lost on Mnangagwa that it is him who famously–if not blasphemously–claimed that the voice of the people is the voice of God. And it is the people’s voice that he is now choking by making these unconstitutional amendments.

He is gagging the very voice of God. If the people are God as he said himself, then it is the Lord who made this Constitution and affirmed it in a referendum. And as they say in the cliche, what the Lord has put together, let no man tear asunder.

In yes, Mnangagwa’s choice of words yesterday is the very cross on which we can legitimately crucify him.

Tomorrow, will the tummied, avaricious lot on government face up to the consequences of the heinous choices and decisions they are making today? Only time will tell.

In yes, it will be our choice whether or not to jail them and throw away the keys!

As stated in the preamble to this piece, every moment of choice is a big event for choices have huge consequences. Seemingly innocuous decisions and choices made today breed monumental consequences tomorrow. Some choices change everything because every damn moment, for the rest of your life, hangs on them.

Choices. Always choices.

Luke Tamborinyoka is the Deputy Secretary for Presidential Affairs in the MDC Alliance led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa . You can interact with him on his Facebook page or on the twitter handle @ luke_tambo .