The Sunday Mail
Dr Obert Moses Mpofu
MY 54 political toddler years which are founded “On the Shoulders of Struggle” signify a journey of robust African revolutionary tutelage which has been vastly enabled by those national paternal and maternal figures who got involved in the liberation movement ahead of me.
I am forever indebted to their valour which virtuously set a precedent of sincere love for Zimbabwe. The self-reference to my autobiography, “On the Shoulders of Struggle: Memoirs of a Political Insider”, is relevant to the subject of discussion. It is in this book where I have declared that:
“I have always committed to submitting to the appointing authorities in any given stage of my gradual rise in politics. However, I am not a passive follower and leader. I respect those who are senior to me and those I am appointed to lead. In turn, I reciprocate respect, loyalty and honesty with the same virtues. Likewise, I have never belonged to a faction. I am loyal to all my leaders equally. I submit to mutual respect. I submit to qualitative social relationships. I respect everyone regardless of their ranks. These have been the cardinal values of my political existence (Mpofu 2020:19).”
The factional discursive capture of our politics has caused us to be entangled in self-worship and idolising individuals over revolutionary values. In the process, we have been disconnected from the core principles of our liberation and patriotism. This is dangerous because Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle like any other African nation has been the epicentre of collective memory. The liberation struggle as a terrain for our national being serves as a pivot of loyalty to the national question for the departed, the living and unborn revolutionaries.
What is this national question? The Deputy Chief Secretary for Presidential Communications, George Charamba (2018), sufficiently outlines the ontological currencies of the national question in his seminal post-Operation Restore Legacy instalment (The Sunday Mail, April 8, 2018):
“No National Question excludes or turns its back on core considerations of national liberation, national sovereignty and the national land issue. The three form a baseline triumvirate for the modern nation-state. Yet the key is to restate and reframe these three core issues within a proper, scientific grasp of socio-economic conditions obtaining in Zimbabwe, and at this stage in her evolution.”
Charamba highlights that no nation is oblivious of its development aspirations beyond the prism of history, economic liberation and sovereignty. This means that all service to the nation and its existential questions must be founded on these three fundamental pillars. Anything else is a taboo to the very essence of all political vocation. The revolutionary genesis of the nationalist movement and its contemporary pretext across Africa is founded on the consolidation of the liberation gains, presiding over sovereignty and the economy. Anything else — including factional appetites — is just but political tomfoolery.
But why this “Sermon on the Mount?”
A few days ago, some poor propaganda arsenal was indirectly pointed at me through my wife, Senator Sikhanyisiwe Mpofu, who is alleged to be overseeing errands of a faction in favour of Vice President and Second Secretary of ZANU PF, Retired General Dr Constantine Chiwenga. I don’t intend to speak out on her behalf, she is a leader in her own right and she will do so if need be. Again, this is not about coming to her defence, but this reflection intends to point out the crisis of idea contestation attempting to weave its way into the Party.
Therefore, it takes revolutionary counsel to address attempts to frustrate the revolution — and this instalment seeks to call out such mischief and restore the Party towards the path of unity of purpose.
According to the ghost script maker of this alleged faction code-named “Team 2”, other figures include “Lice Dube from Tsholotsho, Molly Mkandla from Hwange, Veronica Munkuli from Binga, Elizabeth Masuku from Umguza, Sithandazile Moyo from Tsholotsho (acting youth chairman), Stars Mathe (Nkayi South MP) and Dora Msimanga (incoming provincial Women’s League chairlady). Sithembubuhle Sibanda from Lupane, Tryphine Khumalo from Lupane, Namatama Ncube from Hwange and Priscah Utete (Hwange district)’’.
The above named are accused of positioning themselves for provincial leadership positions in the ZANU PF Women’s League in Matebeleland North. As it stands, one can narrowly consider this to be a petty mudslinging project to reconfigure power dynamics within the Matebeleland North province ZANU PF structures and the Women’s League in particular. However, the intentions of such a move must not be taken lightly as they signal a huge ideological cancer devouring the very existence of the Party. If left unattended this crisis may have a self-importing effect on other provinces. While there is a strong suspicion that this is an intra-party scam, we may be caught unaware that the enemy from outside is at work. This invites the need for a swift security check to arrest this criminality to both the Party and national constitutions respectively.
You wonder why such a malice exercise denigrates an entire Vice President of a Party to the indignity of being deconstructed to a factional warlord. It is a given that all political spaces are sites of power contestation. However, it becomes worrying when non-existent fissures within the Presidency become so imaginarily pronounced to validate a false reality for settling petty political scores at cell level. If ignored this cancer at the cell level escalates into a provincial wing of the Party — as is the case now in Matebeleland North province. That is dangerous and invites a rigorous inquiry that leaves no stone unturned. The very treasonous mischief or propaganda over-excitement instinct of wanting to divide a President from his constitutionally assigned deputies is atrociously inconsistent with the discipline which the ZANU PF of today borrows from the ZPRA and ZANLA values.
Such reckless and amateur politicking is not only ahistorically misplaced, but it assassinates the longevity of the Party and its revolutionary moral standing.
In the same measure of clumsiness, the Minister of Women Affairs, Cde Sithembiso Nyoni, who also hails from Matebeleland North, has been under attack through some backyard publisher. She is alleged to be harbouring ambitions of becoming Vice President and succeeding Cde Kembo Mohadi — a man already in office and giving some very sterling outputs in his mandate of running party affairs. Again, another member of the Presidium is being dragged through the mud and this time it appears as if a Minister in Cabinet has so much insubordination to the Vice President of her party.
By what yardstick are these imagined appointments made? It even becomes more disturbing when the tribal card is used to invent running mates of an occupied Vice Presidential post. Have we become so shallow to forget the Unity Accord and the fact that the Second Republic represents an ideological renewal of the national question?
By what sheer stroke of hallucination does one create a vacancy where there is no vacancy and if such a vacancy arises, have we chosen to selectively forget that the party constitution and tradition grant the President and First Secretary of ZANU PF the power to appoint?
Discipline Comrades Discipline!!!
Our problem, the African nationalist problem
We have been so absorbed in the politics of self-interest over national interest. We are ferociously energetic to emphasise the trivialities of personal interest beyond national desires.
It is usually people who lack servant leadership and have an unrestrained propensity for power who always manufacture skeletons and ghosts out of the living. In the same vein, they are committed to turning the living into skeletons.
When loosely imagined this constitutes witchcraft of a political character and form. Silence to the manifestation of this calamity only consecrates the assassination of the liberation agenda and its continuity. Silence in this regard is also a betrayal to our national liberation as a forward going and perennially growing process that should not be stagnated by puerile opportunism. The political growth of the Party cannot be allowed to suffer.
ZANU PF must strive for political growth which is attained through alignment with democratic forces and not myopic factional proclivities. We have a nation to develop and a party (ZANU PF) whose progression enormously depends on a strong social base. Factionalism does not guarantee the growth of the Party in any way.
The people in Matabeleland, Midlands, Mashonaland, Manicaland, Harare and Bulawayo metropolitan provinces have long endured the divisive construct of nationhood as a result of the ugly legacy of colonialism. When we further divide ourselves into factions — leaderless factions for that matter — we are exacerbating the division of our nation to the pleasure of neo-colonialism. Why should we reduce the unitary ethos of the nationalist movement to such self-haemorrhaging degeneration?
At this point, the nation should be unified towards the bigger goal of unity as espoused in Vision 2030. ZANU PF must be consolidating its power base for re-election in 2023.
Masibambaneni Sibemoya munye!
Let us unite and be in one accord!
Dr Obert Moses Mpofu is the ZANU PF Secretary for Administration in the Politburo.