Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye: ED and the cult movement around him
There is a growing cultism around the name and person of Emmerson Mnangagwa. The cult movement has relegated even his party Zanu PF to the periphery. To all intents and purposes, if the huge cult movement is anything to go by, then the 2023 polls are not about his party but the person of ED, never mind the overwhelming evidence of his underwhelming incompetence that is cutting across all sectors of the economy.
The cult movement has come in all shapes and shades: Teachers for ED, Mahwindi for ED, Nurses for ED, Doctors for ED, Mahure for ED, Vendors for ED, Magistrates for ED, University Students for ED, Bachelors for ED, Spinsters for ED, Hairdressers for ED, Drunkards for ED, you name them.
There is even a growing rumour that amid this world football fiesta currently taking place in Qatar, plans are afoot to christian something called World Cup for ED !
It’s all part of the laughable craze and cultism around the most incompetent leader that Zimbabwe will ever see!
There is a streak of fawning cultism across the country.
Generally speaking, cultism refers to a situation in which a religious or a political leader is deliberately seen as an idol or an idealised hero, even as a worshipful figure worthy of respect, admiration or veneration. Cultism has largely found currency in politics and religion and is built and fanned by people through excessive hero-worshipping.
The media, in our case the ZBC and the public print media especially The Herald , have become the major tool for the invention, sustenance and celebration of Emmerson Mnangagwa’s personality cult.
It was the late renowned journalist Willie Dzawanda Musarurwa, in a stinging editorial in The Sunday Mail , who wrote that a psychophantic press which showers government leaders with undeserved, worshipful adulation is as good as Judas Iscariot. It eventually betrays those that it flatters and lulls them into a stupor of complacence and a false sense of infallibility.
Ahead of a watershed election that he is set to lose dismally, his party has shamefully allowed his battered personality to dwarf everyone and everything else, including the party itself.
That’s what losers do when they see defeat staring them in the face. They personalise and make the whole contest only about themselves.
There have been other personalised and “presidentialised” programmes: The Presidential farm input scheme, the Presidential wheat programme, the Presidential goat scheme, the Presidential poultry scheme and other laughable presidentialised nomenclature.
Yet the reality, we have seen around us are Presidential, crater-like potholes, Presidential corruption, Presidential darkness (due to long power outages) and Presidential incompetence. That’s what we have seen obtaining on the ground.
Oh yes, we have seen in our communities Potholes for ED, Rugged roads for ED and Darkness for ED. Given Zanu PF’s murders of innocent citizens such as Nyasha Zhambe, Mboneni Ncube and Moreblessings Ali amomg many others, everyone knows that there exists a hatchet job team that in essence deserves the moniker Murderers for ED !
Cult movements may portray a false picture of invincibility but they are often a cover-up for glaring weaknesses. The creation of cult movements is often the crowning folly of unpopular tyrants in their last hours on the political stage.
They may have been rear-licked but Idi Dada Amin, Mobutu Sese Seko, Kamuzu Banda and Robert Mugabe still met their fate. The cultism created around their names failed to protect them when destiny beckoned.
The focus on the self has no place in our African context. Anything that focuses on the self has no place in Africa. For we are a collective people that puts more value on the community and not on an individual.
I agree with professor Arthur Mutambara that Abraham Maslow was wrong by putting a premium on self actualisation at the expense of collective actualisation. That is why those of us in the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) have chosen to put the the community and the citizen—and not anyone else—at the epicentre of all our politics.
At a personal level, and despite the fact that it has gone viral across the length and breadth of the country, the dictum Ngaapinde Hake Mukomana Is not fully reflective of the fulsome and wholesome collective stampede that will overwhelm the main entrance into a truly democratic dispensation in 2023. .
We are an African political institution that places more value in the community, nay in the collective. Fine, Mukomana, may be the sole popular repository of national hope, but we have also communitised and citizenised the “entrance.”
The collective must “enter.” And that is why for me, Asingeneni, or Ngatipindei , is of more political utility. It is the latter aphorism, the communitised entrance, that collective dictum, that is in sync with the key African tenet of our political institution.
ED’s (in)famous statement: 2030 ndichange ndiripo (I will still be there in 2030) could have been instructive of a dictator who wants to amend the Constitution to go beyond the two-term limit. The citizens will definitely stop him next year but he appears geared to die in office.
Early this week, we saw an attempt by Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to surreptitiously give himself a seventh term in office. Like ED, he unleashed his own unique ” Doctors for Museveni ‘ that put up a laughable stunt in Uganda.
Clad in their medical regalia and led by their union President Dr Samuel Odomg Oledo, a group of doctors from the Uganda Medical Association knelt before Museveni and pleaded with him to run for a seventh term.
It will come as no surprise one day to see the clowns that constitute “Doctors for ED” making the same plea locally.
In Kampala, after kneeling before Museveni, the doctors’ leader, obviously reading a planted script, said:
“Help us and contest again in 2026 and take us ahead as you secure our future . We want Uganda to reach where God expects us to be .”
So much for Africa’s leaders and their cult brigades.
Museveni, 78, has been in power since 1986. There is no age and term limt in Uganda’s Constitution which means Museveni could run again for a seventh term!
Only yesterday, Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo was sworn in for his sixth term as President. Even in this brave 21st century—and urged on by sonorous cultist brigades urging them to extend their trinities—there remains a huge appetite by our African leaders to die in office.
Locally, the ED cult movement is in overdrive. Like a typical dictatorship, ED, his wife and a cult movement outside party structures have become the centrifugal force of his 2023 campaign.
In an unprecedented move ED’s he wife has pilfered her husband’s power and was even allocated funding in the recent national budget statement. Like a State actor, she has even engaged in bilateral talks with the governments of Iran and Japan.
In a previous column, I posited that executive authority is not sexually transmitted. I warned that this will not end well. Hazviperi mushe izvi . Petticoat diplomacy has never served Zanu PF leaders well. We saw it with Grace and Mr Robert Mugabe. Time will vindicate me on that one.
ED’s growing cultism being driven by parallel structures outside his own party is a recipe for disaster. It is also a message of serious ructions within his own party amd the lack of faith in the party to drive his 2023 election campaign.
Hence the resort to a sonorous cult movement in the black market, well outside the formal party structures.
Now we hear some teachers failed to collect their children’s Grade 7 results. He had promised he would pay fees for teachers’ children and he has failed to meet his own promise. He promised free primary education in 2018 and he did not deliver. He promised to power the whole nation with electricity but is threatening to remove the nation’s households from the national power grid.
He promisED. He failED.
But next year, the citizens of this country are determined. It will be Citizens coalescing to Exterminate Dictatorship (ED). Citizens for Eliminatimg Dictatorship (ED). Citizens for Extinguishing Dictatorship (ED).
Citizens for ED! Citizens for Ending Dictastorship (ED).
Luke Tamborinyoka, a citizen from Domboshava, is a journalist by profession and an ardent political scientist. He is a change champion in the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) where he is the interim deputy champion for Presidential Affairs. You can interact with him via his Facebook page or his twitter handle @ luke_tambo.