Birds of a feather?


Whoever advised Nelson Chamisa to declare open support for Mugabe today at his crossover rally is evil. If it was Chamisa's own idea, well, then he has authored the burial of his own political career.

People who marched in November last year to celebrate the fall of Mugabe are apparently supposed to cheer and be happy that Nelson Chamisa has decided that Mugabe is a good guy after all, his policies were spot on and should play a role in the future of the country if Nelson Chamisa wins the elections.

Addressing the crowd at his rally earlier today, the last day of political campaigning as mandated by law, Chamisa directly said, Mugabe, "who was spurned and rejected is the one I will take and start a love affair with." In Shona, so that we have no doubt at all about his intent or his meaning, he said, "Wacho anenge arambwa iyeye ndiye wandinotora ndodanana naye."

Ok. This level of lack of judgement has us stumped. For the longest time, we really were convinced that all the talk of Chamisa being in bed with the Mugabes was just propaganda from his detractors. We thought the talk of his naming Grace Mugabe as his vice-president was just nonsense.

But this turns the whole thing upside down. There is, after all, truth behind the talk that these discussions are in place.

So, what is wrong with this embrace? What is wrong with Nelson Chamisa saying that he is now in love with Mugabe?

Here's what.

Mugabe, when he was in power, ran the most economically illiterate regime in the world. He did not believe that a country can actually be bankrupted by policies, famously saying, "Have you ever heard of a country going broke?"

It was because he viewed government as a bottomless pit of cash to be tapped into. He believed that money literally grows on trees and in his world, the concept of fiscal discipline for a government did not exist.

We are the second highest taxed nation on earth today because of this thinking by Mugabe.

Whenever his ministers of Finance went to him to tell him that the government belt had to be tightened, his response was always to reject this approach and instead ask that Minister of Finance to find other ways to tax the population even more.

So, we end up paying income tax before we get our salaries, which is fine. Then when we go to buy anything at all, there is VAT that we have to also pay out of the disposable income we have left after paying income tax.

It does not stop there: at your bank, if you have a bank account, every time you withdraw, the government taxes you, everytime you used an ATM when cash was available, you also paid tax. And when they had exhausted all the cash and people started using plastic money, every time you swipe, you are also taxed.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing at all, that you do, that is not taxed, because this is how Mugabe views government.

Even when his government had completely destroyed infrastructure and you could not get water through your taps, he found a way to make money out of this, remember? If you decided to hustle, find money and have a borehole drilled at your property so that you could have water, Mugabe's government decided that, since you were no longer giving them money through taxes you paid every time you used municipal water, you now had to pay tax for the underground water you were drawing. We are not talking about the VAT and other taxes you paid for the borehole pump itself, the VAT you paid to the service provider who drilled the borehole etc. No. He came up with a special underground water tax.

Roads had been completely destroyed all over the country because all the money Mugabe was getting from these taxes was used to feed himself, his family and his cronies. So, he and his cronies came up with the idea of convincing us that they should put up toll gates so that we pay to use these roads. The idea was to make sure the money was used to repair these roads.

We had no problems with this as Zimbabwe, we are responsible citizens.

But not a single road was repaired with the billions that we paid in toll fees.

This prompted Mnangagwa to say recently, after he had taken over the presidency that his (Mnangagwa's) government was now getting money from ZINARA to repair and resurface our roads. Mnangagwa made the observation, "We wonder, where was all this money going before?"

It was going to Mugabe and those who supported him and did not want anyone else to take over the country, not even Mnangagwa.

Within the last few months, we have seen the majority of roads all over our towns completely redone and resurfaced. In Harare, Harare Drive is now a a smooth carpet. In the city centre itself, most of the roads are now completely redone.

All this without asking donors or foreigners to fund a single kilometer of these city roads, because the money is coming from ZINARA. So, indeed, where was it going before under Mugabe?

When people say Mugabe was dictator, what that means is that his word was final. It did not matter what his more level-headed comrades wanted, his will always prevailed. And because of the system of an Imperial Presidency we have, anyone who disagreed with him lost their job and got kicked off the gravy train.

Human rights abuses? Mugabe boasted at a rally about telling the police to beat up Morgan Tsvangirai, declaring that he even told the SADC presidents this, "Ndakavaudza (maSADC Heads of State) kuti, ehe, chakadashurwa. When the police say move, you move" Translated, Mugabe, speaking of the beating up of Tsvangirai, said, "I told the SADC Heads of State that, yes, Tsvangirai was thoroughly beaten up by our police. When the police say move you move."

So, which part of this Mugabe philosophy, which part of this Mugabe history of tormenting our rights, letting his cronies in the G40 steal from us, licensing looting does Chamisa admire and want to bring into his new government if he wins?

Which of all these disasters does he want to import into the policies and thinking of a new regime he will lead?

And Grace?

And to add insult to injury, we are being told that unless we support this disastrous pivot towards despotism and Mugabeism, Chamisa's friends in The American Congress will punish us as Zimbabwe by making sure we as a nation are sanctioned even more?

We can state with absolute confidence that today, Nelson Chamisa waved his chance of getting elected President goodbye. He was on the road to losing this election already, but today, the anger I'm hearing from people who I know were supporting him guarantees his loss.

Unfortunately, it also means that his chances in parliament have gone up smoke. Which is evil, because, as we have always argued here on this blog, we really did need a strong, very strong, opposition presence in parliament to keep the Executive in check and guard against the temptation to stretch its luck on the part of that same Executive.

We need a new opposition after this election. We definitely do.

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