The ironic case of Zimbabwe
Nowhere else would one find a world of such stark binaries and dichotomies as those that exist in Zimbabwe.
It makes one to think of Zimbabwe as a Manichean case – and curse. It is a world of black and white, villains and heroes, saints and devils, the faithful and infidels.
It is little wonder then that Professor Jonathan Moyo, a political scientist, once said something to the effect that independents and political neutrals were an endangered species in Zimbabwe.
Prof Moyo is one of only two people since 1980 to win a Parliamentary seat in Zimbabwe as an independent candidate.
Even then, as he told a Zimbabwean weekly newspaper early in July, it was a lonely and frustrating experience and he would not encourage anyone to think they can make a difference in the country as an independent MP.
The other person to land a parliamentary seat as an independent was the fiery Margaret Dongo, but she ran out of steam and is now a virtual nobody on the local political radar.
In short, it is almost impossible for an independent MP to have an impact in Zimbabwe.
The country’s political landscape has been polarised between ZANU-PF and its leader President Mugabe, and MDC-T and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Other political parties, most notably Prof Welshman Ncube’s MDC, have a limited say in the country’s political discourse.
Thus everything that affects the politics of the country has to be viewed, including in the media, through the tinted lenses of either ZANU-PF or MDC-T: everything else in between pales to the point of relative insignificance.
One may take a look at the forthcoming elections and the brouhaha that preceded the finality of the July 31 date.
At the end of May, the Constitutional Court ordered that national “harmonised” elections be held by July 31 and President Mugabe complied with that order. He announced July 31 as the date for the general election. As the supreme elected guarantor and custodian of the sanctity of the constitution in his capacity as Head of State and Government, he was expected to do no less.
In a sane world, he would have been applauded for complying with the constitution and the law.
He even went as far as setting the election on the last possible day allowed by the Constitutional Court.
But since this is Zimbabwe, he was instead maligned.
Because MDC-T and it its allies in the private media did not want an election before October, President Mugabe and – more worryingly – the Constitutional Court were impugned maliciously.
Morgan Tsvangirai even had the temerity to claim that the highest court in the land had “overstepped” its mandate in interpreting the law! Never mind that the Constitutional Court was created at the behest of his own MDC-T.
But, hey, this is Zimbabwe.
After the Constitutional Court gave its interpretation of the law and President Mugabe complied with it, Tsvangirai rushed to SADC to try and get the regional body to overrule a domestic court.
Thanks to people like President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia and President Michael Sata of Zambia, it was made clear that SADC could not and would not overrule any member state’s Supreme Court.
This would set a horrible precedent that would render irrelevant the courts of member states in a manner reminiscent of how some elements tried to use the now-on-ice SADC Tribunal to belittle domestic processes.
What we should ask ourselves is this: what would the world have said if President Mugabe had rejected the Constitutional Court order to hold a general election before July 31?
The answer is simple – he would have been damned to high Heaven. So President Mugabe is damned if he complies with the courts and damned if he doesn’t!
President Mugabe said he did not want to rule by decree, which would have been the case if he had not abided by the July 31 election deadline as the lifespan of Parliament would have lapsed.
But now we are being told that he is a dictator because he refused to rule by decree. Only in Zimbabwe!
This is the only country in the world where such madness is touted as the “fight for democracy” and all because some people in the West are angry that President Mugabe is a believer in the empowerment of Africans. And this brings to the fore one of the biggest ironies of our time.
To all intents and purposes, President Mugabe has been a victim of a concerted super-power aggression to make him look like an aggressor.
The US, Britain, EU, Australia and Canada imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe so that the economy would “scream” and people vote President Mugabe out.
This was after he gave the green light for a fast-track land reform programme that has seen some 300 000 black families moving onto farms previously held by just 6 000 white farmers.
These aggressor countries then claim to be “friends of Zimbabwe” when they put sanctions on the country so that the economy screams.
Then they say they are sending food aid.
Talk about slapping Zimbabweans with one hand and attempting to soothe them with the other!
President Mugabe is roundly accused of “gross” human rights abuses.
Yet his accusers quickly forget that Navi Pillay, the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, embarked on a week-long tour of Zimbabwe in May 2012 and after meeting all relevant stakeholders could not come to any conclusion close to “gross human rights abuses”.
It is common knowledge that Western countries have created a phalanx of organisations in politics, media and civil society in order to get rid of President Mugabe and deride the empowerment agenda.
This organisations are fanning the polarisation and making Zimbabwe the horribly Manichean world that it is today.