Shall it be the ballot or the butt . . . sorry, the bedroom?
The MDC-T leader has been away, will be away for a whole week, and his mouth-man says we should not force his boss to stay in the country while President Mugabe is allowed to be out of the country at will.
Was the President not in Iran recently for the Non-Aligned Movement, added Mwonzora, sounding like a man who has lost charge of both mind and mouth.
We all sound like we are wrongly and wrongfully asking the Prime Minister to stay at home, indeed to stay closer to the country he is so desirous of ruling! Staying in the country now seems like a heavy burden on our Prime Minister.
And for Mwonzora, the whole matter reduces to a tit tat! It is about evening out of foreign fixtures, evening out numerically, which is why attending a 120 country-strong NAM is comparable to attending a convention of a party in America, albeit a governing party -- for now! In my world such
"answers" betray acute pressure, something very important in an election season.
How spokesmen handle themselves, how they handle enquiries, provide abundant hints on the politics they represent, and of course on how stable and hopeful these politics are organisationally. Especially in an election year.
So long a letter.....
And Mwonzora wades deeper into mud and mire. The Prime Minister's presence in the county, we are told, need not matter given that the Prime Minister has written to the President to present the MDC-T view on the draft constitution.
For that reason, meetings of principals have thus become superfluous! Until now I didn't know that the Prime Minister stays in the country solely for the Monday meetings of principals? Well, even if I believed he did, what is happening in the courts while the Prime Minister is so far away from home, suggests factors much more than the principals' indaba beckons him home, speedily too! And someone must be kind enough to tell Luke that writs are not answered by spokespersons however educated those spokespersons think they are. They are handled by lawyers.
Or are we about to witness a second phase in spectacular bungling? Someone must still tell Douglas Mwonzora that the Prime Minister did not go to the US because he had written to the President on the COPAC draft; rather, he wrote to the President so he could go to the US, comfortably riding on fumes of a false sense of met diligence!
The story of the torn garment
I think I agree with Dr Lovemore Madhuku when he dismisses the current debate on Zanu (PF) changes as unenlightened. Of course it is very costly to agree with him. Costly to him.
What with the headline which says Madhuku on same side with Zanu (PF)!
For Manheru to ideationally proclaim kindred status with Madhuku is to repeat a bad name flung on an unwanted dog. Such repetition gets the dog hanged!
That notwithstanding, Madhuku is right, just as he is in respect of the likelihood of the recognition of the constitutional status quo as a way out of the current impasse on the draft constitution.
And I notice those so wont to scheming the surface, scheming the surface so eruditely, think we have a constitutional crisis already.
Well, we don't.
There is a constitution in place and in operation. It has not been voided, in part or wholly. It obtains, which is what makes the COPAC draft something of a spare dress.
A poor one at that! Much worse one claimed by three quarrelsome coxcombs, each pulling it to their side, each in the end holding a torn piece. Too big, says one, bemoaning the tragic covering of her sexy thighs that must show to tempt.
Too small, says the other, pointing to the exposed dissection line standing the bum apart from the thigh.
Too many, too much, says yet another, wondering why impi-like, dressing is not just a matter of patch between two veinous thighs, a patch dropping from the waist and broad enough to cover one's manhood, narrow enough not to bother about other parts. And because the ware is now torn, all shall go back to their old garment, one happily, two sulkily.
The changes they will not discuss
The issues raised by Zanu (PF) deserve reiteration. They relate to goals and ideals of the liberation struggle, how these should define the ethos of our law, personality, governance and all-round delivery.
They relate to granting constitutional power on all Zimbabweans over the exploitation of the country's natural resources.
They relate to making social rights justiciable, an issue which must be read together with Zanu (PF)'s bid to make empowerment a constitutional requirement.
They relate to homosexuality, stressing even constitutional silence on it amount to its condonation.
It is a worry validated by Eddie Cross who made it clear the MDC-T is for gay rights, amazingly claiming 10 percent of "our" people are gay. He did not semantically delimit that possessive pronoun "our", although one could surmise that the referent was MDC-T supporters! The Zanu (PF) changes relate to citizenship, insisting that dual citizenship must and should be disallowed.
The MDC formations appear to have a problem with that position, leaving one wondering what percentage of "our" people are affected by this issue. And of course wondering what colour that concern is, if you get what I mean! Zanu (PF) changes are for a strong executive, something quite consistent with its push for elective presidency, for appointed dual vice-presidency.
Zanu (PF) changes reject devolution in word, deed and in spirit. They want decentralisation and will go to war for anything to the contrary. That strong view ties up neatly with the party's advocacy of a unitary state.
Handcuffed by neo-liberal straps
These, in my view, are the main changes which Zanu (PF) has proposed, changes which while definitely weighty if contradicted, hardly pass for a re-writing of the COPAC draft.
What may have been re-written are those key concerns which the MDC formations may have been warned upon pain of death to mind and defend by their masters.
And of course their masters have downgraded their expectations on what the formations may bring home: the formations cannot gain power, which is why they have to play an opposition role on constitution-making so those interests that have vested over time, over history, can, South Africa-like, find security in an effete State hamstrung by a neo-liberal constitution and constitutional dispensation.
These are the issues that Madhuku wants discussed, but which the two MDC formations would rather parody than dissect.
And because they cannot discuss these, the thrust of the two MDCs has been to create an attitude around the notion of changes to the COPAC draft which is now being given the halo of commandments from the Immanent One, God.
Implicitly, that apotheosises that drafters, or places somewhere just below Godliness, possibly conferring on them Moses-like status.
Meanwhile these Moseses, or even Beings above him, are pleading their sheer humanity, their sheer frailty and mortality. We erred, they say.
We rigged the people's wishes, they confess, rigged them on grounds of expertise and best practices.
But like Shakespeare's Caliban before two shipwrecked drunks - Stephano and Trinculo - the two insist COPAC drafters are real gods - infallible - favouring them with drops of celestial waters, threatening them with "ague" and other pestilences should they fail to deliver on designated chores. Majome will not have the national report published for comparison. It's not authorised by the GPA, she says with a girlish face, backside strutting!
Political continental drift
Let us digest this whole position for what it does to everyone.
Fundamentally, you cannot miss the mighty centrifugal force at work, an outward force that has moved the whole body politic away from politics of a negotiated stasis, to a new, higher level conceived by electoral processes.
A few weeks back, weeks before the COPAC draft was out, the debate gripping the nation was on whether to go or not to go for elections. That debate, it seems, has been resolved conclusively, ironically the Zanu (PF) way, without a sanctioning Zuma or his minions.
I thought for once we were headed for a constitutional crisis, one occasioned by democrats who would not have elections at any cost, and were seeking SADC backing on such a baffling stance. But no, the two formations have been made to jump over that one -- inadvertently as Zanu (PF) cleverly pricks new portions on their sensitive body both to transfer pain from old wounds, and to create fresh worries that make the haver forgetful of old, unresolved ones, that makes the pricked one focus elsewhere.
So in complete wonderment, the issue of moving speedily towards elections has been resolved, surreptitiously. Zanu (PF) has made the weather, so to speak.
The possible scenarios
Secondly, three scenarios arise from the present deadlock on the COPAC draft.
First, a deadlock may be declared, but I notice both MDC formations who appeared about to do so, have stepped back. I guarantee with my precious life that nothing in the so-called Tsvangirai letter to the President comes any closer to declaring a deadlock.
And I notice that Ncube, after childish fulminations, has now calmed down, and has decided to press for his inclusion in meetings to principals.
That is a new reckoning, and I bet my last cent, Gushungo had nothing to do with it!
Welshman knows what I mean and, for my readers, get a clue from the fact that the two met, with one of them walking away with ashen-white lips! Secondly, the two formations could acquiesce to the demands of Zanu (PF) in which case the whole matter resolves itself at the referendum.
The third option is for the two formations to push for a referendum in which two drafts are put to the people.
Reading the scenarios
I want to dismissively deal with the last one. Zanu (PF) has to agree to have the two documents taken to the referendum, in which case it is as good as going for a harmonised election.
Or else it would amount to an indirect declaration of a deadlock. I see Zanu (PF) going for the interpretation of a deadlock.
The second option in which the two formations acquiesce to the changes from Zanu (PF), would settle matters for a forward march to a referendum, with Zanu (PF) standing to gain the most from the outcome.
Its will will have been seen to have triumphed, in which case it will have posted a psychological win ahead of the subsequent election. The first option is a straightforward one which does what a deadlock does.
What may be important are scenarios which might follow, to move the whole body-politic forward.
All citizens of the here and now
I have already said the COPAC draft is something of a spare dress. Its alternative is not nakedness; its alternative is an old dress, maybe not so new, not so trendy, but adequate to cover the portions that matter, like before.
Or to walk you - un-embarrassed - to the shopping centre. And reading the minds of all the three political parties, none of them are looking at founding a timeless document we call a constitution.
All of them are contemporary creatures, citizens of the here and now.
They are looking for tactical electoral advantages for a poll that is looming.
The MDC-T, through its one Abednico Ncube - Welshman's rebel - has been the only party honest or naive enough to say so openly, never mind the remonstrance and retraction that followed after.
After all, it is the first word that gets to Chukwu, the Igbo god. And Abednico was very clear: the COPAC draft takes the MDC-T electorally from point A to point B! It must be supported through a yes vote, he told his audience. That amounted to an admission that indeed Zanu (PF) is correct to condemn parts of that draft, and to seek to re-write those portions all to end up with a good draft that can pass the constitutional test, indeed that can be passed at a referendum.
All about a threesome
Gentle reader, you notice all three scenarios hurry us to polls, as desired by Zanu (PF)! The only difference is with what amount of consensus. No single party can call for a referendum. That will be against the GPA. That would be impracticable, except for Zanu (PF) which in fact wields the legal instruments and personage for that to happen. But even then in the circumstances that would raise issues of legitimacy. So the only route to a referendum is via a consensus. As things stand, a referendum can only be a threesome affair. This is how Zanu (PF) has created another weather, a gale, a truculent one at that. And we know who badly needs a referendum and a new constitution. Secondly a deadlock need not be declared for it to happen. One, two, or all the parties, could neatly declare a deadlock. Or could bring it about mutely. But a deadlock is a deadlock and in our circumstances, things cannot come to a standstill. In any case GPA points the way forward: you go for elections straight away on the reigning constitution. And please don't forget, certain aspects of amendment 19 immediately fall away with the collapse of the GPA. Please don't forget and reach out for your copy to see which clauses have a lifespan equating to that of the GPA.
When the ghost of Marikana crosses the Limpopo
Something else larger will have happened, dear reader. I have identified the core issues raised by Zanu (PF) in its amendments. They shape a manifesto, don't they? A Zanu (PF) manifesto for the next poll. And the politicising dispute over the COPAC draft does precisely what the MDC formations would never want to do for Zanu (PF), namely help it shape, write and win on its manifesto. These are core issues confronting Zimbabwe, core issues confronting Southern Africa. I would want to see which facilitator can support the two formations of the MDC in the argument that the goals and ideals of the liberation struggle should not be imported into the constitution. That empowerment should not be. Without the two blind formations noticing it, the Marikana tragedy has vindicated one Robert Mugabe, vindicated Zanu (PF)'s subsoil politics! Southern Africa shall never be the same. Zuma's mediation shall never be the same after Marikana. Much worse which foolish political party seeks to mobilise the voter in the name of foreign investment, in the name of jobs? Which one, apart from the declining MDC-T and its sapless JUICE? There has been a sea-change, which is why Alex Duvall Smith and her recent piece in the British Guardian stand tall. Give it to her, she put her finger on the pulse never mind that the unthinking MDC-T side shouted her truth away. Zanu (PF), you have to admit, has made the Southern Africa weather.
Hoping for a miracle
Why should the Prime Minister be made to live in Zimbabwe? Good, existential postulate, only one put unknowingly. At the dizzying pace at which things are going, elections will be upon us. Very, very soon. You get that and you understand why President Mugabe gave up to October to comply with the High Court judgement on by-elections. You also understand why nothing Presidential has happened in Parliament so far. Very, very soon we shall go for elections. Why should the Prime Minister be made to stay in the country, why? Which ever way - even if things generously stretch to June, itself the farthest we can go - the Prime Minister and his party will have to have attracted massive investment enough to create many, many jobs. The voter should have seen enough juice, tested it even. In hope investment capital has now learnt to abandon its sluggish habits, for the sake of our Prime Minister. Equally, that the voter will have forgotten that investment, as with Marikana, can actually shoot to kill. Our man needs a miracle, which is why the blueprint he seeks to launch next week is going to usher in a season of derisive laughter. I hope to laugh with you, dear reader, particularly when I show you how the Prime Minister and his party will be shown to have pilfered Government documents in broad daylight, to turn them into a limping election manifesto.
Cleansing himself with mud
Why should the Prime Minister stay in the country? Why? Well, clearly the Prime Minister's party will have to dismiss all its mayors, deputy mayors, councillors and all, to cleanse itself of the image of a party whose hand always stretches and strays into the cookie jar. He has already made a boomeranging beginning, chasing men who Mephistopheles-like, are only too ready to pawn their souls. And customers to engage them are only too many. And of course when the Prime Minister has cleansed himself of all those he alleges to be corrupt, he shall find he will have handed all the local government structures to Zanu (PF). I have never known Chombo to flinch or delay where sumptuous offers are made. Or to take his time before fishing in mvura ine mabvondwe. The day belongs to he who makes the weather I tell you!
Eating what we have begged
But why should Tsvangirai be made to stay in the country? Why? While our man is out, his Secretary General has gone a-begging, within the region for now. He shall go farther afield to come back nenhava izere mhepo. The Fiscus has been run aground, bled to emptiness to a point where even salaries for civil servants are in doubt. The first ever time that that has happened, ironically when the coffers are under hands unconstrained by sanctions. And he is going to beg for consumption, this our man who in his maiden simplicity told us we shall eat what we have caught. I suppose begging is some form of catching! And hey, on whose doorstep is all that landing? On the one hand you have a party that claimed it has stabilised the economy, a party that promises JUICE, while on the other you have a party that goes a-begging for consumption. The economy has proven quite frigid, however much the sensual Biti tries to romance it. He can't make the weather on that one. No he can't!
Finding scapegoats within
Instead his piece last week is beginning to invent alibis, is beginning to seek scapegoats. That is not new, not unprecedented. What is new and unexampled is the fact that the man is looking for scapegoats from within his own party. He reminded all of us last week that the view to have MDC into the inclusive Government carried the day by a slender majority. What he never said but which we got was that he was opposed to joining the inclusive Government. He revealed that elsewhere, sometime back, which is why his piece was heavily dependent on reader memory. Don't forget that is one matter that got Manheru dragged to court on libel charges by the Minister, that way back in his early squeamish days. His piece in last week's press amounted to an I-told-you-so, to a vindication of his own rejection of a compromise, which means a rejection of the direction given to the party by Tsvangirai on a slender majority, if Biti's count is to be believed. The party is beginning to crumble at that high level and, already, many within it are doubtful that Tsvangirai's card on the COPAC draft will take them forward.
Unsolicited advice that went unheeded
Why, why should the Prime Minister be made to stay in the country, why? From the foregoing, it is clear the MDC-T will have to seek election on the impalpable. It will not have tangible positive results on the ground; it shall have a lot on the ground to invite opprobrium. Need we wonder that the Prime Minister has, for the entire duration of his stay in the US, been meeting with American campaign strategists? He needs to sell an image, to hypnotise. There is no feel-good factor. Or grounds for promising one the way Zanu (PF) is doing with indigenisation. He has to invest in mind managers: those good at inventing a nice image. I hope that works in our circumstances, given our national mental temperament. But one thing is very clear: the Prime Minister's bedroom won't go away. Does it not hear the ballot beckoning? Why can't his bedroom - as does that of even a peasant - why can't it mutely hide all that goes on in the dead of night? And this column gave the man some warning: when Locardia realises all is lost, realises all is lost, she will not have anything else to lose. Then and only then, I added, will the real drama begin. You did not need clairvoyance to smell that, did you Mister Prime Minister? And what now Elizabeth, what? Icho!