2011- Arab Spring, WikiLeaks, Mujuru Death, Tsvangirai "Marriage" Provided Talking Points

Outside, many Zimbabweans would find the fall of the once mighty dictators in the mould of Colonel Murmur Gadaffi of Libya, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali (Tunisia), Laurent Gbagbo (Ivory Coast) and Hosni Mubarak (Egypt) quite significant occurrences that punctuated African history.

Indeed, who could dream that the brother leader and billionaire Gadaffi, who would not hesitate to show all the bravado and public show of force, would one day find himself squatting in some hole, at the mercy of very poor young boys with not the slightest idea how he muscled himself into power.

The Julius Malema saga also generated debate in 2011.

Some say the ousted ANC youth leader overestimated his popularity within South Africa’s ruling party while his sympathisers felt he was a victim of a powerful political elite that was still apprehensive about the pitfalls of opening up the economy to blacks.

The Pandora ’s Box opened by the whistle blower WikiLeaks website was quite profound and a significant game changer in our body politic.

It exposed Zanu PF was not a monolithic and homogenous body after all.

The clear narrative was the revelation that all Zimbabweans, irrespective of party differences and hostilities, share the view that President Mugabe was an albatross in the country’s desire to move
forward and catch up with the rest of the progressive world.

Indeed, it showed that even Mugabe’s “trusted” lieutenants, among them beneficiaries of his patronage system, still want to see his back as of yesterday.

What was disappointing about the revelations though is that all the leaders both in Zanu-PF and MDC who went grovelling before the Americans, chose to focus on their own internal party politics.

None proffered solutions on how the country would mend its relationship with America or what should happen to our mineral wealth.

The revelations demonstrated remarkable duplicity among our politicians; they say something during the day and pour out under the cover of darkness.

Zimbabweans would also find the scandal that dragged our beloved Warriors into Asia’s dirty betting syndicates an issue to discuss for long.

But many would find the Asiagate scandal not so juicy, being people who exist in a society were corruption is so endemic.

But some, especially in the media, find the failure by the Herald newspaper to investigate its own staffers implicated in the scandal, among them sports editor Robson Sharuko, quite disappointing.

Even worse is the idea of allowing him and some former staffers involved, to critique the Asiagate.

Some feel The Herald should have recused itself in reporting the scandal.

The death of liberation war heroes in the form of Solomon Mujuru and Edgar Tekere was a sad development.

In Mujuru’s case, Zimbabweans found themselves not only mourning his demise but searching for clues on the cause of the mysterious fire that gutted him to ashes.

Bar talk pointed to clear assassination by his political rivals.

But whatever was the cause of his death, his demise has been a significant game changer in our body politic.

What is apparent is that his death weakened the Mujuru camp led by his wife Joice.

Many, especially in the opposition, saw Mujuru as the voice of reason in terms of ensuring that hardliners both in the military and civilian part of Zanu-PF did not find their extremist views carrying the day.

There was an emerging national consensus around the possibility of a GNU Two involving Mai Mujuru and the MDC-T.

That GNU was going to be under some kind of renegotiated terms of reference around the distribution of executive authority. Mujuru was seen as the chief architect around those negotiations.

Indeed, not to be left out in the 2011 talk was Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his marriage “hoax” to Locardia Tembo.

When the debacle broke in November, many Zimbabweans, including political rivals in Zanu-PF, were happy for the country’s most famous “bachelor” who earned the status after the 2009 tragic loss of his wife of 31 years, Susan Tsvangirai.

With a background of having allegedly impregnated a Bulawayo woman and giving her money to silence her, the issue cast Tsvangirai as a bed hopping character who had no regard for protected sex.

It also cast him as a victim of a CIO orchestrated sting operation bent on soiling his political reputation.

Some say it exposed Tsvangirai’s weak handling of information around him, having taken nearly a week to respond to fast swirling speculation around his marriage story.

But many would tell you Zimbabwe has not yet reached a stage where leaders are judged on the basis of their moral compass and Tsvangirai would not lose votes because he has displayed these traits.

Some Zimbabweans would find the slow or lack of implementation of democratic reforms agreed in the Global Political Agreement quite disturbing.

Even worse were the clear signs Zanu-PF, hitherto the most dominant player in Zimbabwe’s hybrid administration, was not yet ready to repent.

The licensing of radio stations whose owners have known links to it was a sad development in our attempts to restore democracy in the country.

Economically, there were no significant improvements to what was there in the past two years except for the faint hopes the ban on the sale of the country’s rough diamonds would see prosperity.

Many view economic prosperity brought by diamond sales a remote possibility for as long as Zanu-PF still maintained its octopus control of the sector and that the exact revenue accruing proceeds from the sale of the gems still remains secret.

2011 also failed to end polarisation among Zimbabweans with the blight of political violence still cause for concern and a huge threat to the holding of any future elections.