A new old creature emerges

An enduring fascination of science and science fiction is time travel.

Much time and money has been invested in it, both as a scientific pursuit as well as an entertainment initiative within the realms of cinema and literature.

Its allure lies in mankind’s twin yearnings of being able to undo an undesirable past and to get a look at the future so as to be better prepared for it.

The unimaginative reality, though, is that we live in the here and now: we cannot revise the past (regardless of numerous attempts at revisionist history); we cannot go into the future and return to the present to prepare for it.

The closest we get to time travel is learning from the past to understand how it shapes the present and how it can serve as a barometer to anticipate what may or may not happen in the future.

One of the things the past tells us is that towards election time, all over the world, all manner of strange political animals crawl out of the woodwork, demanding to be taken seriously.

Well, we cannot wish away chancers, we cannot disqualify charlatans, and we cannot legally regulate political idiocy. That is how democracy works.

The beauty of the democratic process is that all chancers, charlatans and political idiots get their opportunity to display how inadequate they are to the electorate. After that they can crawl back into whatever holes they call home in between elections.

We are told that for the 2018 elections, we could have more than 70 political parties scrambling for a piece of the pie in Zimbabwe. Some of them will go it alone. Others will form alliances and coalitions. Ultimately, essentially, only one will emerge the winner.

God bless them — serious contenders, charlatans, chancers, political idiots and all. Among the scores of participants could be an old new creature whose paternity does not speak well of its pedigree.

It is the bastard child of a discredited brand of politics that for years divided Zimbabwe as it sowed seeds of hatred that culminated in at least two attempts on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s life in just the past year.

This new old creature seeks to turn the hands of time, to take Zimbabwe back to a past it is desperately trying to distance itself from.

No invocation of pillars of our nationhood in the names of Cdes Joshua Nkomo, Simon Muzenda and Herbert Chitepo, among others, can whitewash the ugly politics that this new old creature stands for. There is a reason why tens of thousands of Zimbabweans took to the streets in November 2017 to demand a new order. Asking the majority of Zimbabweans to now place their futures in the hands of political characters who abused them with impunity not so long ago is no different from asking a rapist to counsel his victim, or — for example – asking Jonathan Moyo to once again have the keys to the Zimdef safe.

There is a reason why Sadc, the African Union, China, Russia, the European Union, the United States and indeed the rest of the world have all embraced the new order that Zimbabweans demanded in November 2017.

Asking Sadc, the AU and any other international organisation or polity to look at these soiled political characters as legitimate state actors, just a week after the continental bloc welcomed President Mnangagwa as the internationally recognised leader of Zimbabwe, is an attempt at science fiction.

There is no time machine, more so for those who would want to make an unsavoury past our future.

Zimbabwe and the rest of the world may not be able to indulge in time travel, but we certainly have memories.

We have memories of charlatans who looted State resources and hid their misdeeds behind the skirts of a shrill First Lady.

We have memories of charlatans who fought democracy long and hard, dodging Zanu-PF’s own internal electoral systems to “co-opt” leaders and hound anyone who had the temerity to speak about constitutionalism.

We have memories of charlatans who chased away investment so that they could plunder wealth while clothing their nefariousness in the emperor’s new robes of “indigenisation”.

But we are not shackled by our memories. Rather, we are enlightened by them. Which is why Zimbabwe is moving forward, has moved forward.

VaMugabe is no longer President of the Republic. The criminals that surrounded him no longer have the institutional power to insult a nation and kill its common man dreams of food security, employment, equality and equity, shelter, health, education and the possibility of upward mobility without having to first make Faustian bargains with political devils.

Our focus as a nation should be on how to make agriculture work again, on ensuring our minerals benefit the majority and not a few charlatans, on building infrastructure fit for the 21st century, on delivering safe drinking water and access to good health and education services.

Politically, the work continues towards holding democratic, free and fair elections.

Already, civil society organisations are openly accessing support to strengthen their operations in a manner that the charlatans of yore would never have countenanced.

Let the new old political creature participate in these free and fair elections.

It will be a humbling experience for them, because Zimbabweans will not allow them to drag us back to the past.

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