Zimbabwe: Second Republic - Case of Different Faces Same Script

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga.
opinion

President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his cohorts in government have failed to sustain the façade that they are a new dispensation or the so-called Second Republic.

Mnangagwa’s pretence that he has departed from former president Robert Mugabe’s modus operandi of misrule has continued to be exposed in his utterances when interviewed. His interview with France 24 during his trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was a clear indication that the mask has fallen off.

Quizzed on the rape of women by soldiers in the aftermath of the violent protests last month, Mnangagwa said the reports of rape were fabricated, demanding that the estimated 20 victims come out in the open and narrate their ordeals to police.

"We have only one single case that came out in Chitungwiza, the rest we now know that the women that were paraded were just a make-up by some organisations and some have left the country, have been shipped to the UK (United Kingdom). The few who are still in the country are being moved from house to house and we are trying to track them down, but it’s all stage-managed,” he said.

"We are challenging anyone, local or foreign, to produce them [victims of rape], so that we see them and the world can see them as we say this is what happened.”

Such a callous dismissal of the abuse of women is evidence of the cruelty of the regime and its scant regard for women’s rights. It was a major volte face by the septuagenarian leader who had only recently promised to bring those responsible for the atrocities to book. It is straight out of Mugabe’s playbook!

Probably we should not be surprised by this kind of impoverished leadership after he declared in an interview with the private media a fortnight ago that he is not in power to please people. It is a jungle out there.

Same script

The adage that the more things change the more they stay the same could have been coined for Zanu PF. After having being irritated by the obsequious former youth league secretary Kudzanai Chipanga who took bootlicking the then president Mugabe to ridiculous levels through absurd utterances such as that the doddering leader would be waiting at the Pearly Gates to decide who gains entry, we have new servile characters to fill Chipanga’s shoes. Zanu PF youth league national commissar Godfrey Tsenengamu has claimed that Mnangagwa’s rule was ordained by God a long time ago and that those harbouring ambitions of taking over should relax.

“To some of us, who belong to the apostolic sect, it was prophesied years ago by Majinesta (Wimbo) that Mnangagwa will lead this nation. It was said the nation will be led by one with the name of an angel and after that someone by the name Dambudzo will rule this country. Leadership comes from God. If you want to rule, ask yourself if you are loved by God,” he intoned.

This latest bout of brownnosing was at a meeting to discuss preparations for a solidarity march for Mnangagwa next week dubbed #EDWillNeverWalkAlone, a reminder of the same useless marches by the Zanu PF Youth League for Mugabe as he ran the economy aground.

In a country beset with countless challenges which include a foreign currency shortage that has paralysed industry, skyrocketing of prices, shortage of basic commodities and erosion of the local currency due to government’s fictitious posturing that the local unit is trading at par with the US dollar, this brainless lot can only march blindly to curry favour with Mnangagwa and not engage him on ways to address the hydra of challenges the country is facing. It is indeed a case of different faces, same script.

Hypocrisy

Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, aka General November, was recently whisked to India for what Deputy Information minister Energy Mutodi called a minor ailment. It was so minor Chiwenga had to go all the way to the Indian sub-continent for treatment.

Chiwenga’s trip to India is a continuation of the shameful tradition of Zanu PF leaders who run away for the country’s local hospitals which they have run down through incompetence, corruption and mismanagement. It is a damning indictment of Mnangagwa that there has been no change to the pathetic state of the health sector since he was catapulted into power by guns and tanks in November 2017.

During the recent clean-up campaign, Mnangagwa expressed shock at the state of the wards at Parirenyatwa Hospital during a visit in which he swept one of the wards.

“The places I walked through were so dirty, and to think these areas would have been cleaned in preparation for my arrival. What of those areas of the hospital I didn’t go to?” he said, without a hint of irony. It was an embarrassing episode, showing how out of touch the so-called enlightened leader is with the situation on the ground.

Mnangagwa’s surprise — genuine or feigned — is baffling given that his wife Auxillia recently toured the hospital on what were termed “surprise visits” which were so surprising that the state media, with cameras in tow, were there to capture this unexpected moment.

Chiwenga’s visit to India for treatment, while the generality of Zimbabweans fail to access something as basic as a painkiller at public hospitals, leaves a bitter taste in the mouth and is yet another example of the hypocrisy that pervades the corridors of power.

No confidence

Zanu PF leaders are once again doing what they do best: passing votes of no confidence on each other as divisions wreak havoc on the moribund party.

The party’s youth league passed a vote of no confidence on its leaders Pupurai Togarepi, deputy secretary Lewis Matutu, administration secretary Tendai Chirau, Admire Mahachi and Mercy Mugomo.

Also booted out was Mashonaland West provincial secretary of finance Mary Mliswa-Chikoka. Despite posturing to anyone who cares to listen that the party is the epitome of unity, the votes of no confidence present ample evidence of a crumbling edifice.

Panicky Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo was at pains to try and stop a practice which began during the booting out of former vice-president Joice Mujuru in 2014.

“Previously, disunity forces under the G40 cabal used votes of no confidence to purge party members perceived to be against their destabilisation agenda,” Moyo said.

We find it astonishing that the ruling party is engrossed in childish votes of no confidence at a time the country is suffering from a kwashiorkor of leadership.

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