The Facts Behind The "Firing" Of Simba Makoni

The latest Zimbabwe news is, of course, all about the "firing" of Simba Makoni.

The story of the "firing" of Simba Makoni has been predictably lapped up by the Herald (which put it on its front page) and other websites that have a personal hatred of the man and who published the statement from Major Mbudzi without seeking a response from Makoni.

Claims that Makoni was unreachable are laughable. The media, who followed him throughout his campaign, all have his email address and his cellphone numbers. They can get through to him via this blog, by emailing me, and they also have other addresses, including Makoni's well-publicised campaign email address.

In any case, almost everyone I speak to in Zimbabwe now says that the internet "lies all the time", so these online newspapers (some not all), have lost ALL credibility except within a small group of 500 or so readers in the diaspora who do not look for news but simply for the comfort that they get from lies as long as those lies confirm their own prejudices. 

It is tragic because this is a powerful media for spreading the truth and when online channels peddle patent falsehoods in the sure knowledge that few people will question them, then they are simply engaging in navel-gazing and not speaking to the world. But the bottom line is that most online journals have ZERO credibility with the masses in Zimbabwe, most of whom have no access to the internet anyway and anyone trying to argue about "mass opinion" with the Zimbabwean masses is best advised to steer clear of referencing most online media.

 "Internet inonyeba, yakazara maDiaspora asingazive kuti chii chiri kuitika kuno," is a refrain I got as late as last night as I spoke to someone about the GNU. To translate for my non-Shona readers, the sentence above would be,"The internet lies, it is full of people in the Diaspora who are out of touch with what is happening over here."

And, this is true to some extent, because most online "media" peddle lies as truth or fact.

This is why, if you browsed the internet before Tsvangirai accepted to go into government, you would think that the whole MDC and the "people" were against the GNU. Yet when Tsvangirai went in without resolving Home Affairs, with Mukoko still in jail (her bail application was thrown out just yesterday), these loudmouths (there are only twenty of them, who use different pseudonyms at various times to give the impression that there are many of them) suddenly went quiet.

As you can see from the comments on this blog, most people see this so-called firing of Simba Makoni for what it really is: a reaction by a group of people who thought that they could, because they were independent parliamentary candidates "aligned" to Makoni in March 2008, make claims for cars, fuel and money from Simba Makoni under the pretext of "organising" their areas for a new party.

I understand that Makoni repeatedly and, in my opinion, rightly, questioned this. Take the demand for cars, for instance. These were supposed to be disbursed to all four corners of Zimbabwe as per the demands of some people. Makoni, I understand, asked into whose custody the vehicles, money and fuel would be released and in what capacity since there was not even a single branch or provincial executive in place.

Yes, that is right: there were no offices for a party, there were not even Provincial Executive Committees in place. The response apparently was that these cars would be handed to "Provincial Coordinators" in their personal capacities so that they could "mobilise".  Clearly, Makoni and his fellow leaders were reluctant to simply release money, vehicles and fuel to individuals. 

The only exception were the characteristically well-organised people of Matabeleland, who stand head and shoulders above most other Zimbabweans in their organisational prowess and decisiveness. THEY WERE THE ONLY PROVINCE (BULAWAYO) WHO RECIEVED A VEHICLE TO ORGANISE THEMSELVES. This was because they had already established offices in Bulawayo, a functioning executive that met and planned regularly and with precision. They'd also started going into the rural areas of Matabeleland to set up structures without waiting for cars and fuel from Makoni's office in Harare.

I understand that Makoni and his team at Head Office demanded that structures be put in place first by the other provinces, after which resources would then be given to these structures as legally constituted bodies for them to be able to do the work of the new party. This was rejected because it apparently killed the purpose of the demands, which was to get "resources" into individual hands, without even a workplan.

Several attempts were made by the National Executive Committee of Makoni's organisation to right this glaring wrong. First, they asked that each Provincial Coordinator submit a workplan for their area, stating what they intended to do and what this plan would cost and also what checks and balances would be put in place to ensure that the work was done and done in accordance with an auditable schedule.

This never happened.

I also understand Makoni and his team then proposed another solution: A national team like the one that accompanied Makoni on his six-week road-trip campaign across Zimbabwe would be dispatched to each province to set up Provincial Executives in direct elections by all supporters of Makoni who turned up for such meetings in these provinces. The aim was to have Provincial leaderships that had been elected by the people (hence would have a mandate from the people). 

The reasoning, I am reliably told, was that some of the people calling themselves Provincial coordinators had not been elected into those posts but had nominated themselves when Makoni announced his candidacy. There were nagging questions being asked, I hear, which were: "Do these people have the support of the people in their provinces. And how could Makoni and his team verify that these were leaders chosen by their people? If they had won in the parliamentary elections, no problem, that would have shown that they had the support of their constituencies. Even if they had not won, if they had managed to gather substantial numbers, you would know there was a base from which to start.

This was also rejected.

By now, Makoni and his people were unsure whether any of these "leaders" actually intended doing anything with the resources they were demanding in light of their refusal to entertain any other alternatives to make the process accountable.

To understand the ridiculousness of this recent "firing", you need to understand the following:

When Makoni decided to run for president, friends of his, Zimbabweans inside and outside Zimbabwe, set up a Trust for his bid. Makoni is not a Trustee of this Trust and does not have signing powers for the accounts (which are all local). This Trust, whose specific purpose as stated in its Deeds is to "further the political ambitions of Simba Makoni" has three Trustees or Board Members, all prominent Zimbabeans: Lawyers (Advocates, actually), businessmen and even a Zimbabwean working for a multi-national finance company and based in Europe.

The resources sourced for this trust were sourced by supporters of Makoni for, as already stated, "furthering his political ambitions". 

People around Makoni, including former independent candidates for parliament, sourced their own resources for their own campaigns. These were never handed over to Simba Makoni's Trust, ever. They were used by the candidates as they saw fit. Makoni never asked about these independently-sourced resources for parliamentary candidates. 

This was because he understood, as did all other candidates, that there was no connection between Makoni's Trust, which locked up resources for his presidential bid, and their own resources which were theirs and theirs alone for their own individual campaigns.

When the election ended, the common bond that existed between this group and Makoni effectively ended.

At this point, calls for the "swift" formation of a party suddenly emerged, with only some of the independent parliamentary candidates asking for cars and money immediately from Makoni so that they could start organising a party in "their provinces". 

I have explained above what I know of the subsequent events as the "independent parliamentary candidates" sought to make a claim on Makoni's Trust, set up specifically for the purpose of "furthering his political ambitions."

It is not clear, then, from what these people have expelled Makoni. From his own Trust? From the loose affiliation of independent candidates who sought to get elected into parliament?

As is clearly evident, there is no actual substance to these claims. But that is not the point. The point is simply to smear. It boils down to: if you won't hand over money and cars to us, we will destroy your reputation and make sure that you never become president.

It is also suicide by these players who have announced the "action", but they really do not care because none of them ever hopes to be president, none of them has any vision for a democratic Zimbabwe. The simple essence of the matter is to destroy Makoni's presidential ambitions because their own motives have been frustrated.

That, to me, appears to be the real story. But some online newspapers (together with The Herald) also see in this their own chance to simply smear without affording Makoni a chance to speak.

Not that he would want to speak anyway. I have known him to be supremely indifferent to newspaper opinions. He is even more contemptous of online newspapers and prefers to deal with the radio stations that beam stories into the rural areas, one of whom, Radio VOP, he spoke to today (at length) by phone. He also moves around amongst the people themselves, repeatedly asking his team not to ask Journalists along because he prefers going INTO people's homes and huts and he believes that if cameras followed him, this would invade the privacy of his audience and they would also not speak freely to him.

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  1. The circumstances are tricky. Mavambo is known by all as a Simba Makoni project.He is the leader.How then can he be fired by any of guys we are now made to believe that they were self appointed? Were they not appointed by Simba Makoni into different roles? Do they have a Policy and Procedures document, or some kind of constitution. The project should have rules and regulations and administrative structures. It now looks as if it is the same scenario with Joseph Chinotimba's self styled commander in chief of the farm invasion. Can any one announce that he has fired Chinotimba from the self styled position.
    I understand DR Makoni when he says, he needs to have a well discussed and thorough constitution, it will save the public from confusing announcements like the ones made by Mbudzi and team. What is their complaints and disciplinary procedure. Who can fire who?, and under what circumstances. There is no much information on the public about Simba's project, otherwise he is the best Zim has after BOB.

  2. Thanks Denford for clarifying this issue. What I would say is that Simba Makoni should get off his backside & start formulating the structures of a political party now so that he is ready for the next elections. People are interested in finding out what he really stands for. I personally thought his running for President is the last election was ill advised, he clearly was not ready & that was his downfall. He needs to be clear & show strong leadership. He will be judged by his actions & clearly if he keeps on procrastinating like he appears to be, then Zimbabwe does not need such leaders. Denford, you are privy to Simba's strategy so rather than dwell on this non-event of his alleged sacking, show us your mettle. Tell your man that it's time he stands up & be counted for real not just grandstanding. With the GNU seemingly steaming ahead, your man might be overtaken by events. We are still waiting to judge the efficacy of the GNU & might want to join Simba's movement & share ideas. But as it stands, we can only look from the sidelines wondering if it all makes sense. So far there appears to be no agenda, just a collection of people looking for jobs, food & benefits. Zanu PF is already strategizing & so too is MDC, what is Makoni doing? No one seems to know. I would also like to agree with you about on-line publications & The Herald. Most of these publications are led by people of dubious reputation & interests that seem to cloud their editorial content to promote the interests of their financiers. We are all not as ignorant or naive as their Editors would like to think. We cannot be swayed by copy & paste journalism with little evidence of any research methodology let alone journalistic ethics. It is rather sad when Zimbabweans in the diaspora begin to be labeled by fellow countrymen at home according to what these worthless fly-by-night editors & commentators are trying to have us believe. WE are far from being shallow but will visit such websites in the hope that we can find any news about our beloved Zimbabwe that will give us hope for the future or at least an understanding about what is happening. You might say we will be cross referencing what we will have read or heard in other forums or media then comparing with these on-line publications. Everyone is hungry to know what is happening because Zanu PF has purposefully denied people access to how they govern and as such have left room for these nefarious editors. So if people say that people in the diaspora have no clue about what is happening in Zim, it saddens me because we all have friends, relatives, professional contacts & colleagues that have now become our news source. If the price of bread or school fees goes up, I will know within an instance by text so I can repatriate more of funds back home to assist those who are busy laughing at my lot saying it comes from wiping old people's bottoms. If our next door neighbours son disappears, I know in an instant & I am soon on the phone organising lawyers fees or contacts that can assist. We know what is happening & we remain actively involved in Zimbabwe.

  3. No matter how much people dislike Simba Makoni, most of us, as Zimbabweans have already made up our minds that he is the best man to elect as President come next election. ZANU PF and MDC are now relegated to the dustbins of History after the GNU. No amount of tomfoolery tactics is going to sway us from Makoni. We love you Simba. Please dont pay attention to the politics of mudslinging. We like you.

  4. Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara, Kudzai Mbudzi, Kindness Paradza and Ibbo Mandaza are one and the same. A group of self serving traitors bent on deceiving the people of Zimbabwe from leaders of noble intentions such as Simba Makoni. This time around we will stand by our next President by the name Simba Makoni. Dr Makoni please start preparing for the swearing ceremony after the next elections. Chigaro ndechenyu baba Makoni. You are not a pretender to the throne.

  5. The more you hate an honest person, the more we like that person. It is unimaginible that some people would stoop so low just to smear an innocent soul like Simba Makoni. Since when did people start trusting dubious characters like Kudzai Mbudzi. Simba kuvanhu. We want membership cards for Mavambo headed by Simba Makoni please.


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