Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye: There’s blood on the horizon
Firstly, I want to tender my most profuse apologies to the avid readers of this column who have missed their literary weekly diet for the past fortnight. The reason for the non-availability of the column is that while I was engaging in my civic and community responsibility of assisting virgin voters from Zimbiru to the voter registration centre in my rural hood of Domboshava on Saturday 28 February 2022, all my phone, treasured electronic gadgets and other personal effects were stolen in suspicious circumstances at Chirodzero shopping centre. This affected the production of the column in the past two weeks. Once again, my sincerest apologies, dear readers.
Now back to this week’s business.
As the nation still reels in shock following the callous murder of Mboneni Ncube after which there appears to be no further development in terms of punitive measures on the culprits, there are tangible tell-tale signs that Zanu PF appears to be ready to unleash its merchants of death in what looks set to be a very violent 2023 election.
As Zanu PF appears to have no answer to the traction of the newly-formed CCC movement and the # Ngaapinde Hake Mukomana mantra that has taken the country by storm, Zanu PF is quacking about Nelson Chamisa’s rising national popularity. His huge rallies across the country have shaken the regime to the core. Given the very real prospect of them losing the next plebiscite, Zanu PF appears set to relapse into their natural default setting of violence.
For ED has a strange, witchly affinity for murder and corpses, given his penchant to exhume dead bodies, the huge monies poured into making a single statue as well as his hilarity about officially opening mortuaries, which he says are very cold. He has even further gone to bizarre heights of giving away prizes to the first family to use the frigid mortuary cold rooms he would have officially opened.
The recent brazen arrest and torture of innocent citizens for wearing yellow apparel, the callous murder of Nyasha Zhambe by the regime a few months ago all point to a deliberate pattern—a blood-smeared pattern.
In fact, so used are we to the news of State-sanctioned murders under Mnangagwa that Zhambe now appears forgotten, hidden in the rising flotsam of copses under ED’s brutal and bloody legacy of violence.
Never mind the self-serving mantra that this is a new dispensation. Zimbabweans and the world are under no illusion as to the bloody political moment that is now upon us. Informed by the political moment around us, it is clear there is blood on the horizon in the imminence of the watershed 2023 plebiscite that is almost upon us.
Tracing the bloody footprints
In tracing Mnangagwa’s blood-soaked footprints, one does not even have to start with Gukurahundi, where Mnangagwa played a huge part as Mugabe’s henchman during that genocide of the 1980s. We can even afford to skip the many others that were murdered during his tenuous years as State Security Minister. The case of Rashiwe Guzha comes to mind. We could equally skip the blood spilled in 2008 by military generals he deployed to keep Mugabe in office in the run-up to the contrived run-off poll.
We may choose to start with the coup that ushered him into office in November 2017. Forget the narrative that it was a bloodless coup. There are reports of bodyguards and CIO agents who were murdered all in a bid to foist him into office in those heady days. Of course Constantino Chiwenga and others played a more prominent role as Mnangagwa himself had fled into forced exile.
On 1 August 2018, barely 48 hours after his controversial election into office, the army, to which Mr Mnangagwa is Commander-In-Chief, brutally killed innocent citizens in downtown Harare. The six are Challenge Tauro (20) of Chitamba Farm in Mazowe, Jealous Chikandira (21) of New Muzinda stands, Hatcliffe, Robert Zhuwawo (26) of 1675 Overspill, Epworth, Harare, Ishmael Kumire (41). of 3 Courtney Street, Ballantyne Park, Harare, Gavin Dean Charles (45), of 7 St Kitts Road, Arcadia and Sylvia Maphosa (53) of 619 Southway, Prospect, Waterfalls.
Some of these victims had families and left behind suffering children who are struggling to go to school because the government has failed to provide compensation in line with the recommendations of a probe team that Mr Mnangagwa himself set up.
I particularly know the state of the family left behind by Ishmael Kumire who hailed from Matope village in my rural hood of Domboshava. I have assisted the family several times in my own small way. Mukudzei, one of the orphans left behind by Kumire, was my daughter Lee-Anne’s classmate at Santa Heights primary school. I have visited the family several times and I can testify to the sad legacy occassioned by those brutal murders.
As Commander-in-Chief, Mr Mnangagwa was vicariously if not directly responsible for those murders. It is telling that he has not taken any action against the perpetrators, let alone spoken about the gruesome murders.
In January 2019, the military again killed people and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission held the State liable for the murders.
This is not to mention the many people who have died of pure neglect in our public hospitals simply because Mr Mnangagwa’s government is ignoring the genuine concerns of the doctors and other health staff. Actually, the health sector started pleading for better working conditions well before the teachers joined in and there has been a huge carnage in our public health institutions.
This is simply a killing regime.
The abductions of Dr Peter Magombeyi as well as the trio of Cecilia Chimbiri, Netsai Marova and Joannah Mamombe all points to vintage Mnangagwa. A man for whom nothing, including human life, can stand as an impediment in his crusade to retain power at all costs.
I have since talked about Mboneni Ncube and Zhambe who all seem to point to the gravitation towards a very violent election in 2023. The traction of the citizens champion Nelson Chamisa and his CCC movement has caused massive trepidation in State corridors and nudged the regime towards its natural default-setting of violence.
One does not need any spiritual spectacles. Even with the mortal eye, all indications seem to point to a bloody election in the horizon.
I have written in a previous instalment that Zanu PF is caught up in a time warp. They are completely out of place in this brave digital age. They are like an old Remington typewriter in an internet cafe.
They do not seem to be aware that times have changed and that you don’t have to bludgeon people anymore for them to love you. Not withstanding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the world has largely moved from hard power to soft power. This is the age of persuasion and not coercion. The world has moved from harm to charm and from the sword to the utility of the word. The ED regime’s resort to murder and violence to the piranha instinct for pangas and machetes is simply out of place in modern Statecraft, in this era of the blog and twitter universe.
A Warning to the World
The regime has drenched itself in human blood since it foisted itself on the people in November 2017. The State-sanctioned murders and abductions have not led to the world and our African brothers and sisters taking a particularly strong stand against tyranny.
The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) remains a noble principle in international affairs, notwithstanding the excesses of the big powers and the abuse of the veto power as the big boys protect friends and vilify adversaries. The Responsibility to Protect principle is now part of the AU charter through Article 4 (h) which now exhorts African states to intervene in a fellow African country in respect of “grave circumstances.” And the state- sanctioned murders in Zimbabwe constitute a grave circumstance warranting intervention.
Sadly, our fellow Africans have chosen to fold their hands and watch while the regime in Harare runs amok, killing and repressing innocent citizens. There has not even been a whimper from our continental and regional institutions since the brutal murders started taking place.
The R2P remains a principle of utility in the modern era. In the words of Eve Massingham (2009), the R2P effectively makes a promise to the world’s citizens that when their own governments fail them, the international community will intervene to protect them.
The world must not renege on that solemn promise, particularly in Zimbabwe on the eve of what is likely to be a very violent 2023 election. What has happened so far is a warning to the world to be vigilant with respect to the blood in the horizon in Harare.
I see blood on the horizon as we inch towards 2023. And this piece is not in any way intended to frighten my fellow citizens but to embolden them.
Fellow citizens, whatever they throw at us, we are almost there. It is only in the darkest of nights that one can clearly see the stars.
Zimbabweans are a heroic people and let the oppressors stand warned of the tenacity and resilience of this country’s citizens. By their sheer monopoly of the instruments of violence, the regime may think they will win this contest against the citizens. Hell No. They wont.
One may dominate the play but lose the contest all the same. The regime should learn not to underestimate the Nelsons of this world.
On Tuesday night, the unheralded Benfica coach Nelson Verissimo mounted a football master act when his Portuguese club knocked out the highly fancied Ajax Amsterdam to progress to the quarter finals of the Champions League. Ajax Amsterdam had dominated the play but were knocked out right before their shell-shocked home fans.
Zimbabweans are a determined people. They will choose not to see the blood in the horizon but the bright, sparkling stars in the twilight. Indeed, 2023 is the year of the citizens.
Zimbabweans have a stoic tenacity when it comes to fighting repression and domination. Their history tells us so.They are a determined citizenry, much like the resolute Atletico Madrid team that knocked out the Red Devils from the Champions League. For Machester United are the Zanu PF of world football, given their strident wane from their once-lofty standards.
Yet the Zimbabwean citizenry remains determined, like Atletico Madrid whose coach Diego Simeone said were a team that would dive into a swimming pool, regardless of whether there is water inside or not.
Even if they kill us, the citizens are determined to swim in their own blood to victory.
The citizens shall win. The citizens are sovereign. And the citizens are heroes.
Luke Tamborinyoka is a multiple award – winning journalist and political scientist . He is a citizen from Domboshava and is the deputy champion for Presidential Affairs in the Citizens Coalition for Change ( CCC ). You can interact with Tamborinyoka through his Facebook page or via his twitter handle @ luke – tambo.