Zimbabwe seems to be basking in the comfort of good governance promises. It cannot be denied that, since the formation of the new establishment, there appears to be better things on the horizon. But, it seems there is pressure for the new administration to first address the Gukurahundi and other disturbances, before tackling free and fair elections?
ZANU PF appears secretive, as guided by so many unknowns. The rank and file of ordinary supporters, cannot give justifiable reasons for supporting a party with unquestionable record of violent activities. To an independent onlooker, it is a mystery that ZANU PF supporters remain committed to a party—having done so badly; politically, economically, socially and morally?
Even the new administration, can be viewed as unpredictable, as long as carrying the name ZANU PF. There is something that remains enigmatic about the party called ZANU PF. The current President, while appearing as doing well—is also not averse with praising a man, having been removed from power unceremoniously?
President Munangagwa is on record, having told the world that the former president was iconic. This, obviously, cannot be the same tune depicting hundreds of thousands of those marching in support of what the army had done to remove him? Apparently, the Mugabe supporters are gifted with seeing value in a man that everyone else identify as despotic?
Nevertheless, the new administration needs to come to terms with Gukurahundi, before everything else, if their envisaged programs could be realized. There are those who blame ZANU PF, for appearing as operating covertly. Not many can appreciate the developments that led to the unseating of the former President?
There are three possible questions; inadequately answered, concerning the cause of Army intervention. Was this a coup—driven by power hungry people—toppling a constitutionally established authority, or not?
Or, is it true that the army intervened, after observing clear miss-governance, potentially threatening to harm ordinary Zimbabweans? Was the coup simply driven by a factional dispute that had nothing to do with the ordinary populace, but the interests of a click in that party?
These three questions invite anxiety, leading to the question of legitimacy on the current establishment. However, the opposition—unable to deal with Mugabe, as a leader who clearly violated the constitution willy-nilly—the army intervention was a blessing in disguise. To question what the army did is like questioning the legitimacy of those who fought Rhodesia Front in the armed struggle.
This is just as it is well-documented that people marched in their hundreds of thousands to show support of what the army had done. Whether the so-called G40 grouping have a case or not—what is certain is that Zimbabweans had become fed-up with Mugabe’s leadership. However, genuine questions, despite good intentions of the new government, concern issues of past violence?
Most Zimbabweans consider the current rulers as having been co-perpetrators of Gukurahundi activities—operating under the rejected former president Mugabe. To buy back their integrity, these leaders need to show their sincerity, by first addressing the Gukurahundi problem. Former President Mugabe could have done that, after having obtained unity accord with PF ZAPU.
However, I personally understand the reason why Mugabe could not apologise. This is as I appreciate that ordinary humans are caught up in a trap, to do with the curse of humanity, called pride. Very few people understand how dangerous and harmful pride is to humanity.
The reason being that pride is viewed as wisdom, by most people, yet pride is just a symbol of stupidity. While wisdom is found in humility, the majority of the people consider humility as a sign of stupidity—even among Christians.
A careful analysis of our challenges in Zimbabwe have been associated with failure to distinguish the fact that pride is a label of stupidity. Only in humility is wisdom found, but proud people remain stuck in associating humility with stupidity. The sad reality is that proud people appeal to most people; also stuck in assuming that a proud person deserves admiration, than a humble person.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has displayed—in many ways—being wiser than the former President. But President Mnangagwa’s biggest test could be on how he handles the Gukurahundi issue. If successfully handled, the issue of Gukurahundi could be the determining factor on how President Mnangagwa fares in the next election.
The Gukurahundi can be classified as the most difficult obstacle in the political life of President Mnangagwa. But, it is on the question of how he successfully handles Gukurahundi that could see him riding on iconic crest. What the President will do to appease those who lost their loved ones, through the stupidity of Gukurahundi, will be decisive. The Gukurahundi debacle was driven by pride, more than most people assume it was driven by a tribal conflict between Shonas and Ndebeles.
A careful analysis reveals that Zimbabwe is adorned with two major languages, Shona and Ndebele, rather than two major tribes. A language does not necessary represent a tribal background of an individual. This is just as English language does not necessarily describe a racial background of the individual concerned.
In Zimbabwe, only fools would assume having no relatives from either Shona-speaking or Ndebele-speaking people. Historically, the two languages were adopted from either of the two tribes. But, currently, those languages themselves have got little to do with the tribal backgrounds of either language speakers.
Historians can assert to the fact that Gukurahundi was triggered by a despotic decision to establish a one party state, more than tribal differences. Of course, tribalism was used, in order to incite confused supporters towards eliminating those viewed as threat against one party state. However, there cannot be benefits derived from a one party state, except despotism.
President Mnagwagwa stands or falls, according to how he handles the Gukurahundi issue. If Mnangagwa’s current political overtures are not just window-dressing, he stands a better chance of winning the support, even from the victims of Gukurahundi. This is notwithstanding his involvement in what the former President later described as the moment of madness.
It is true that President Mnangagwa has many enemies, among the so-called G40, including the victims of Gukurahundi. But the Gukurahundi victims could be turned over to become friends, if wisdom derived in humility, can be taken advantage of. Nelson Mandela can be used as classic symbol of wisdom derived from humility.
I could have been one of those, polarized against President Mnangagwa, but have since become attracted to his style of leadership. I am almost convinced that it is possible for the President to win more friends, especially if he could carefully handle the Gukurahundi issue.
This is as long as he continues to show a distinct departure from his predecessor’s style of leadership. I find it not difficult to forgive a person who changes to do the right thing, despite his mistakes, inscribed in the Gukurahundi history. President Mnangagwa could do well—when applying what was taught by Jesus Christ—facilitating the desired national healing—hoping he understands it:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.”(Matthew 5:38-40) (NIV).
Of course, these are regarded as foolish words by those of this world. But these are the wisest words that our new President can take advantage of. If hoping to overwhelmingly win in the next election. He may also need to effectively weed out criminals that surround him. Munangagwa could certainly do well, when not discarding Jesus’ words, as if imprudent.
My appeal is for Zimbabweans to appreciate that this may not yet be the right time for opposition politics. If President Munangagwa is sincere in what he intends doing for this country, he needs to be given the opportunity to correct the mistakes of ZANU PF. I go along with the idea that what is good for this country is that elections should be suspended for the time being.
Zimbabweans are not yet ready for free and fair elections. Mnangagwa appears as following the path that will heal this country from the follies of the past. Whether true or false, it has been hinted that the War Veterans have also advocated for the opposition to be supportive of the current establishment? This, to me, is necessary for the country not to slide into anarchy. Let us first give Mnangagwa some chance to sort out what prevails in Gukurahundi history, before elections.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99