The Slow, Agonising Death Of Zimbabwe And The Lessons Joshua Nkomo Learnt

It really has to be seen to be believed. Inflation is running riot in Zimbabwe, with the US dollar being quoted at upwards of 5 billion Zim dollars per one US dollar. All other prices have followed the same stratospheric route. The suffering it is all causing is now unprecedented.

My mother is a case in point. Yesterday, she went to the bank, withdrew Z$50 000 to buy sugar, only to find the sugar costing Z$55 000 for a 2kg pack.  She went home and was back at the bank today to withdraw another Z$50 000. This time, she found the sugar now cost Z$90 000. Two days of waiting for hours in the queue just to get enough money for a 2kg pack of sugar.
Public transport has been rising by Z$10 000 every single day this week. It is all a dog's breakfast.

There is a palpable sense of foreboding for Monday, when the SADC heads of state arrive in Harare to try and mix water with oil. Theirs is an futile mission. Mugabe appears unlikely to budge. Morgan and the MDC, on the other hand, have their sights set firmly on a new mediator and, ultimately, new elections. If these negotiating parties had any sense of shame or even mere empathy for their presumed followers, we would see an agreement in place by Wednesday, but the frightening failure by these two parties to simply acknowledge the existence of reality means that we are extremely unlikely to have any sort of agreement out of this mini-summit.

I really do not see what the problem is here. Ministerial office does not in any way mean control of a ministry, especially if Robert Mugabe is still president. Like I have said before, Mugabe appoints ALL service chiefs, including the Police Commissioner-General.  He carries them in his back pocket for the rest of their tenure in office. Mdala Joshua Nkomo learnt this when he ran Home Affairs. Legends like DD (Dumiso Dabengwa) were arrested and imprisoned without the Minister of Home Affair's knowledge. He did not even see the arrest warrants or hear of their existence until the deed was done.

A report mirrored on says the only group that has bothered to ask the people of Zimbabwe what they think has been overwhelmingly told that the people want an agreement. And they want it now. They do not even put conditions to it. They do not qualify their opinions. In other words, the shape and content of the deal itself, they are not much concerned about. They simply want a GNU formed. Regardless.

I really, genuinely do believe that if the MDC and ZANU PF let this opportunity go, it will be the death of this country. It is no exaggeration to say that this is an opportunity for both parties to rise above their time and age. The economy is dizzy from standing on the edge of a precipice. Without clear political direction next week, it will topple headlong into the abyss. As some of the those quoted in the report on Zimbabwe Situation say: if these leaders spent more than a day in the high-density areas, there would be no deadlock to talk about.

The people should really be bigger than anything else, consideration for their suffering greater than any other ambition. In practice, this is the  Servant Leadership that Simba Makoni speaks of so often. Genuinely, selflessly, putting the the people first means that looking to what's good for them before looking at what's good for the leadership.

But the truth is that we, the people of Zimbabwe, have sold our souls to the devil by our meek acceptance of everything we are told. Do you remember that Makoni was shouted at for suggesting a GNU or Transitional Authority, yet the same people are now applauding that same GNU because Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe tell them it is good for them. I have used the analogy of the naked emperor before: it was a little boy who unmasked his elders' hypocrisy by pointing out that the emperor had no clothes on. In other words, it matters not who originates the idea. We need to start looking at the merits of the idea rather than looking at the person proposing it. Our prejudices are colouring our judgement.

Those who speak against the GNU have no viable alternative to offer. Yes, it will be an imperfect creature, but it will at least staunch the bleeding. In the meantime, we will have bought enough time to work at perfecting our strategies for office, all of us, because the right to run this country has not been bestowed by God on any individual. Tsvangirai has as much right to aspire to be president as Mutambara or Makoni or Lovemore Madhuku or Nelson Chamisa or Tendai get the picture. The people shall speak. Let them do so without feeling any pressure to act a certain way, in a normal economic and social environment. Let them. And see who they pick!

Is it better to see this country reduced to ash than to implement an imperfect agreement. In fact, Morgan Tsvangirai said, "There is nothing wrong with this agreement." His supporters cheered. But now there apparently is indeed something wrong with it, he says. His supporters cheer. Which is it? We need to distinguish between grandstanding and serious business. The lives of men and women of Zimbabwe is a serious matter and does not deserve be treated like a lectern from which to deliver debating points.

I don't know what you think. I would love to hear it and I will publish every single comment here, no exception. Is it better to have an imperfect deal than no deal at all?


  1. Hi Denford,

    I say we should have a government, even if it is imperfectly formed. Zuma has it right in the Wall Strt Journal when he says nobody can come up with a better plan. Instead of focusing on Home Affairs, the MDC should be fighting for the Ministry of Information, so that they and Mavambo can reach the people on a level playing field. Information is more important than Home Affairs.
    The MDC should ask for this ministry even if tehy don't get Home Affairs. And then they should revamp the media and make it more democratic, fire all the hacks at Zimpapers and Dead BC.
    It is not worth people dying just so Morgan can control the police

  2. Anonymous is talking nonsense. No deal if it is not good enough. Let us die if we must. Why should we regard Mugabe for stealing the election again? Let him and the people of Zimbabwe face the consequences of cowardice. No deal is better than a bad deal, as President Tsvangirai said. He should be president or let us all die trying.

  3. Pasi naMugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai. Both are not serious. Mutambara is just nodding his head in agreement, one moment he is with Morgan, the next with Mugabe. If we have no agreement next week, some of us will every single ounce of strength we have to decampaign Morgan and Bob. People like these must never be allowed t run Zimbabwe because they do not care about our suffering and death.


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