The entering of Dr Simba Makoni into the Presidential Race has generated a great deal of excitement. The equation is now more complex and whether you like it or not, the debate has been made wider. Certain factors still remain eg the rigging, the State-Sponsored Violence, the Propaganda and the related ZANU-PF mischief. The only difference is that Mugabe has a wider sphere to charge at and a greater battle to fight.
The people of Zimbabwe have a greater puzzle to solve and the analysts are now more confused than ever.
- Is Simba Makoni genuinely against ZANU-PF? What exactly is he against? What does he continue to support? Why does he not come out clearly and either start a new Movement or immediately join the existing Formations?
- What is his relationship to the existing Opposition Leaders, Tsvangirai, Mutambara and others? Does he communicate with them? Has he ever communicated with them? Is he prepared to communicate with them? Can anyone help these leaders to communicate?
- Which sector of the Zimbabwean society has he "destabilised" most by his arrival? Will Mugabe suffer most or is it Tsvangirai or is it Mutambara? Is Makoni serious or is he just making a point? What value, therefore, has he added by his announcement?
- With our experiences of the past 28 years and (more recently) of the past 8 years, what can we urgently do to get the best out of Dr Makoni's offer to lead Zimbabwe? In other words, what is Zimbabwe's best way forward?
WHAT LEADERSHIP DID ZIMBABWE HAVE UP TO NOW?
It must be made perfectly clear that Zimbabwe has never had a Democratic Leadership since its supposed Independence in 1980. Mr Robert Mugabe was regarded as some super-human even before 1980 and he controlled ZANU-PF and Zimbabwe as if it was his personal kite where no other input from any other source had any hope of being acknowledged.
The problems Zimbabwe faced were not really of bad judgement only. The greater problems were due to the fact that Zimbabweans were always taken for granted and were therefore not able to support and defend any decisions that the Executive President made.
With time, Zimbabweans then learnt to oppose even correct decisions made just out of frustration that they had been taken for lifeless dolls for too long and were therefore not going to stand with the man they saw as not respecting them and who was not seeing the value in consulting them before strategic decisions were made.
The decision to send troops into the DRC is a case in point. Without much detail, many Zimbabweans have never forgiven Robert Mugabe. Many believe the resources of the country bled to an extent where our present woes can be traced back to that point. Then Mugabe failed to fully convince his people that looting did not occur during that difficult period. Who knows how many soldiers were lost during that misadventure? Was the then Minister of Defence Moven Mahachi assassinated and was it because he was working on leads that Emmerson Mnanangwa was heavily involved in the looting of minerals in that war-torn country?
The issue is not only the rumours etc. The real issue is the lack of a Leader at the very top who could stand for truth, transparency and intergrity.
Robert Mugabe has always pretended to be vocal and firm only to let the Nation down when he was supposed to stand up to offer Leadership.
A typical example is the case in the formative years of Zimbabwe when Cabinet Ministers and Mrs Sally Mugabe were involved in corruption involving Cressida vehicles. Senior journalist Geoff Nyarota ran into serious problems when he exposed that scandal and we don't remember Mr Mugabe taking that investigation to its very logical conclusion. We only remember the strange death of Senior Minister Maurice Nyagumbo and up to now we don't know whether he committed suicide or the Intelligence Personnel actually forced him to drink a poisoned chalice at gun point.
I've written numerous articles eg "Is Robert Mugabe the Master-Assassin?" and "Appeal to all journalists and writers" and the links to those articles (among others) are available at www.finalpushzim.blogspot.com .
My argument therefore is: We have never had a transparent, democratic leadership in Zimbabwe.
We've had trickery, arrogance, corruption, propaganda, assassinations, patronage etc as our National Menu.
WHAT LEADERSHIP DOES ZIMBABWE NEED?
The entrance of Dr Simba Makoni (as everyone must be observing) has completely destabilised the Zim Political Landscape. This must lead us to seriously ask ourselves: What do we expect of those offering themselves to lead us?
Here are my humble suggestions:
- We need a simple human being first and foremost. We have not had a human being leading us since before 1980. We had a racist white before 1980 and a magician of sorts after 1980. A very senior respected writer and journalist by the name of Tanonoka Joseph Machenjera Whande once asked; "What kind of a person is Robert Mugabe? Why does he appear angry when others are relaxed and happy and why does he seem to get great joy when others are mourning and sad?" Interestingly, Robert Mugabe himself recently asked; "Do you really know me?" (at that Ceremony where a certain road was being named after him in Malawi.) Dear God, we need just a simple human being this time.
- We need someone who works with a team. We need someone who respects the team that he works with. We need someone who trusts the team that he works with. A President should be able to be out of the public eye for a long time while his team interacts with the Press, the General Public etc. The overall father of the Nation should not suffer from an inferiority complex which leads him/her to over-expose themselves like Robert Mugabe has done in the past 28 years. Mugabe is not respected! Mugabe is feared! What a tragedy!
- We need an honest person. We need someone we can depend on. We need someone who answers our questions. Tsvangirai has left lots of people wondering why Ms Lucia Matibenga was unceremoniously expelled from her position. Who today has the answers? Tsvangirai you have let us down in many respects. Thank God your other partners (now under Prof Mutambara) failed to endorse you as the single Presidential Candidate representing the two so-called factions. Let me leave this point at that for now there is another "kid on the block."
- We need a humble approachable person. We need journalists, bloggers, analysts etc to able to say: "I spoke to the President and he said this..." , " Yesterday I was with the President and he answered the following questions..." etc. We are tired of mysteries and unanswered and unanswerable questions. Tsvangirai began well (probably) but of late we were hearing murmours and grievances. Is Makoni like that, too we wonder?
- Last but not least, we need a person who gives others value and acknowledges the efforts and inputs of others. I will not belabour this point because I would destabilize the campaigns of some . The Zimbabwean Politics is such that if you criticise Tsvangirai, you lose a certain chunk of friends. If you criticise Mutambara, you similarly lose another chunk.
Oh come on Zimbabweans: its true Makoni was there when all evil was done by ZANU-PF. But can't we now have a single large team that unites to, at least, beat Robert Mugabe? Can't we have a leadership that comes from the widest spectrum to remove Robert Mugabe?
As a parting shot: Did you notice that Simba Makoni waited until after the MDC clearly showed complete failure to re-unite? Is there no signifance in that? On the other hand, does Makoni not attach any value in the work done so far by the two MDC formations?
Finally, is it completely wise for Makoni, Tsvangirai and Mutambara to offer themselves to the Zimbabwean peoples as separate entities? Who of them best offers the leadership Zimbabwe requires? As a collective, can they not between them offer the leadership we require?
Rev Mufaro Stig Hove.