Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye: “Emmercron”…. the uniquely Zimbabwean variant that potentially threatens our lives
As the world grapples with Omicron, a fresh Covid-19 variant the WHO has described as a strain of concern, so too has Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa’s sordid tenure marked the advent of a novel, repressive and murderous variant of notorious regimes almost in the category of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.
In the week that soccer legend Lionel Messi clinched his record-extending 7th Ballon D’or’, Mnangagwa’s “Emmercron” variant was clinching its own macabre human trophy when known Zanu PF thugs callously murdered Nyasha Zhambe in Gutu. Unsurprisingly, the known murderers have not been arrested.
Just like Omicron, the murderous and repressive variant that is Mr Mnangagwa has become a matter of serious concern to other sovereigns in the subregion, in Africa and in the broader international community
Omicron, the latest Covid-19 variant has been named after the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet. It has been the tradition of the World Health Organisation to name variants after letters of the Greek alphabet because they are easier to pronounce and to communicate. For lack of a better word and for the sole purpose of rhyme, I have decided to coin and invent a toxic variant that I have dubbed ” Emmercron “, a derivative from Mr Mnangagwa’s first name, to denote the political variant of his dispensation that has wreaked untold havoc in all all sectors of the economy.
As the world braces and configures how to stem Omicron, the Covid-19 variant that may hit our nation anytime now, “Emmercron”, the political variant, has been with us since the coup of November 2017. While “Robercron” , the Robert Mugabe variant the variant that preceded the current one was murderous and corrupt, the “Emmercron” variant that replaced it has proven to be even more callous and more corrupt so as to make Mugabe’s sordid tenure look like a Sunday Church service.
In fact, “Emmercron” has become a matter of serious regional concern to the extent that a freshly minted opposition party in South Africa has called for sterner measures by Pretoria and other countries in the subregion to contain the fledgling variant that continues to pose a serious threat to peace and stability not only in Zimbabwe but in the entire SADC and beyond.
“Emmercron” and Omicron bear several similarities. They are both novel variants in governance and epidemiology respectively. Both political and medical scientists are still engaged in intense scholarship to study and discover how much damage and loss of lives the two unprecedented strains could cause to their immediate geographical environment.
For Zimbabwe it’s a double tragedy because we are having to deal with the two variants simultaneously ie the political (Emmercron) and the medical (Omicron).
Both variants have caused travel red-lists. While Zimbabwe is part of the six countries that have been slapped with travel bans to mainland Europe and the UK in what UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres has referred to as a form of travel apartheid, the political variant (Emmercron) has engendered its own travel ban on the people’s President Advocate Nelson Chamisa.
Following his highly popular outreach programmes into Zimbabwe’s rural hinterland, Mnangagwa has used State security organs and Zanu-PF militia to issue a de facto travel ban on Nelson Chamisa’s rural forays, resulting in the young popular leader in some cases having to use a motorbike to travel through the mountains so as to evade ED’s dragnet.
Indeed, blocking your political opponent from traveling to meet the people in the countryside remains a crude form of travel apartheid!
Yes, in Zimbabwe, Chamisa is equally on a travel red-list. The regime’s unpronounced edict is that he must not engage in the politically and legally legitimate business to meet the people.
“Emmercron”, the toxic political variant of our time has set its own record and carved out its own dangerously unique space in several aspects of our lives. One could write a thesis on the astounding milestones that the “Emmercron” variant has achieved in its four-year blood-soaked tenure.
Tenets and deepening symptoms of the “Emmercron” variant
1 . Murder
The so-called Second Republic which in fact represents the more insidious second wave that is “Emmercron”, is far much more sinister than the First. The recent murder of Nyasha Zhambe in Gutu was not surprising as the “Emmercron” variant kicked off in bloody style in the coup of November 2017 in which several people were reportedly killed.
On 1 August 2018, barely 48 hours after pilfering an “electoral mandate”, rogue members of the security services killed Sylvia Maphosa (53), Gavin-Dean Charles (45), Ishmael Kumire (41), Robert Zhuwao (26), Jealous Chikandira (21) and Challenge Tauro (20). The Motlanthe Commission, a probe team appointed by none other than Mr Mnangagwa himself, concluded that the security services to which ED is the Commander–in-Chief, was liable for the murders. Three years later, Mnangagwa has simply ignored the recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators and to compensate the victims.
A further 19 people were again killed by elements of the country’s security services in January 2019. Yet again, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, an independent Constitutional Commission, held the State responsible for the murders.
This is not to mention the abductions and arbitrary arrests of journalists, civic activists and political activists such as Cecilia Chimbiri, Netsai Marova and Joannah Mamombe.
All in all, the more insidious “Emmercron” variant has left indelible footprints of blood and piles of corpses in its wake.
2 . Corruption
There has been massive corruption under this “Emmercron” wave, with the First Family and cronies of the ruling elite as the major players of these games of avarice and sleaze.
More disturbingly, all the reported cases of corruption where arrests had been made are now meeting a natural death in our captured courts. The corruption cases that began with so much noise as the regime sonorously claimed to be dealing with graft are now floundering. Only in the past week, Drax International was absolved of any blame and a lot of people that had been fingered in that case will now go scot free, including former Health Minister Obadiah Moyo who is Mnangagwa’s uncle.
3 . Reproduction and not production
There has generally been no investment in the productive sector in this wave of the “Emmercron” variant. . Industrial capacity utilisation has waned and there is over 90 percent unemployment in the country.
Instead of production, there has only been massive reproduction at the very apex of the State where Mr Mnangagwa is reported to officially have over 40 children.
Under this “Emmercron” political variant, a polity must prioritise and boost boost not the nation’s productive capacity but their own reproductive capacity. No wonder we all have seen Kembo “Morehard” texting about viagra while the pictures went far and wide of ED aboard a plane partaking to cow boots (mazondo).
It’s all about reproduction, reproduction and more reproduction.
4 . Sex scandals
Most of ED’s children are a product of unreported sex scandals, including tragic sex scandals-turned-sour such as those that resulted in a 2014 murder docket against ED in which his alleged girlfriend, a pastoress at Living Hope Ministries, died in mysterious circumstances at Shangani Court, off Princess Road near Divaris shopping centre in Belvedere, Harare.
In fact, sex scandals have become a Presidential religion. Mnangagwa’s own deputy, Kembo Mohadi, had to resign after it emerged that he was having sex with married women right inside the Presidential office, among other places.
5 . Cronyism , clanism and villagism
In February this year, this column named over 30 people that included Mnangagwa’s blood relatives, cronies, clansmen and clans women that he has appointed into key positions in Zanu-PF, in government and in quasi-State institutions.
Cronyism and nepotism have been the hallmark of the so-called Second Republic, with Kuda Tagwireyi, a key Mnangagwa ally a pivotal player in almost all the sectors of the country’s economy.
6 . Drinking
As the country sinks into the abyss, the elite have been partying and drinking. There were reports of massive Covid-19 superspreader parties held at the homes of several Cabinet Ministers and the political elite in violation of Covid-19 protocols at the height of the pandemic during last year’s festive season.
Drinking and merry-making, even amid a gargantuan national crisis, have characterised this regime. Only last week, a video of a highly inebriated ED found its way into the public domain.
7 . Unconstitutional Constitutional Amendments
A key tenet of our dangerous political variant has been unconstitutional Constitutional amendments, including the immoral extension of Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s tenure that has exhaustively been written about.
8 . Political masturbation
There has been a disturbing trend that I have previously branded a form of political maturation, in which ED and his regime have accorded crude favours to themselves and their immediate families.
For me, First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa tops the list of people whose appointments and recognition violate the tenets of prudent corporate governance protocols. How does a leader give medals and appoint his own wife to several positions of influence?
The First Lady is the patron of the Ministry of Health presided over by Mnangagwa’s own deputy, which in itself must raise more than just eyebrows. ED, during this year’s Heroes Day commemorations, accorded his wife a grand merit award and only 48 hours ago, we heard that our dear Auxilia had been elevated in the Zanu-PF politburo from a deputy secretary to the substantive position of Secretary for Environment and Tourism.
The Politburo has become a spousal retreat as both husband Chris and wife Monica Mutsvangwa clinched senior positions in the Politburo. Chris now speaks for the party while wife Monica speaks for the government. The regime’s combined communications strategy is now being developed and implemented from right inside the bedroom sheets of the Mutsvangwas. In between bedroom sessions, the totality of the Mnangagwa regime’s 2023 electoral campaign messages will be hitting our TV screens and radios!
Mugabe’s wife Grace was the Head of the Women’s League and perhaps the so-called new dispensation is not really new.
They say the more things change, the more they remain the same!
9 . Luxury amid poverty
Yet another tenet of the “Emmercron” variant is the unstinting pursuit of luxury, even amid grinding national poverty.
As the regime criminalises teachers’ unions for prudently representing their constituency whose salaries are grossly inadequate, Mr Mnangagwa has bought a US$18 million private jet for himself.
He has been hiring a private jet 10 000 kilometres away for domestic travel here in Zimbabwe, with the massive hiring cost burdened on the poor taxpayer. Hiring a plane from 10 000 kilometres away to fly you to Bulawayo, as Mr Mnangagwa has done in the past, just doesn’t make economic sense. My uncle calls it Kufambira chikwereti chepondo kuGweru (driving to Gweru to recover a US$2 debt). It is much like a man in my rural hood of Domboshava would hire a taxi from Mvuma to come and ferry him from Mverechena shopping centre to Chirodzero shopping centre, popularly known as the Showgrounds, a distance of just about seven kilometres in the same Domboshava locality.
In this piece, I have argued that while the world has gone agog with what could be the devastating effects of the new Covid-19 variant Omicron, there is an equally insidious regime variant that has gripped Zimbabwe and that equally needs to be tamed before its devastating effects take root.
The political variant gripping Zimbabwe that I branded “Emmercron” equally needs scientific research to fully understand and unpack it and to predetermine its full ramifications when it runs its full course. In this piece, I have highlighted a few tenets and unravelling symptoms of this dangerous political variant gripping our nation State.
Both Omicron and “Emmercron” pose the most important portent threat to our lives. Jointly and severally, each absolving the other, the two variants—the medical and the political— currently constitute an immediate danger to Zimbabweans. Both variants must be decidivdky dealt with. The challenge for the average Zimbabwean is that even if Omicron doesn’t want get to them, Emmercron is likely to affect them because of its vast tentacles that affect their daily lives in more ways than one. The only escape route from Emmercron is to register to vote, to mobilise the vote, to vote in our huge numbers and ultimately to defend our vote so that it counts.
The only robust way to deal with the dangerous “Emmercron” political variant is to institute a comprehensive electoral reform agenda that will ensure a return to legitimacy through a credible 2023 plebiscite. Only then can we achieve herd immunity against stolen elections and stop this criminal lot that is fleecing the country’s resources.
Indeed, we should stop this criminal lot dead in its tracks as it appears their avowed mission is to make Zimbabwe an upper middle kleptocracy by 2030. We have no option but to stop them.
# Ngaapinde Hake Mukomana ..
Luke Tamborinyoka is the Deputy Secretary for Presidential Affairs in the MDC Alliance led by the people’s President Advocate Nelson Chamisa. He is an award-winning journalist and a political scientist who won the Book Prize for best student when he graduated with a BSc (Hons) degree in Political Science at the University of Zimbabwe . You can interact with him on his Facebook page or on the twitter handle @ luke_tambo