False Debates Overtake ZimAsset Mantra

By Prince Tongogara

Zimbabwe is country with a penchant for fickle debates where Zanu PF, the ruling party, has since the infamous July 31 general election solely captured the nation’s attention and everything in the country revolves around happenings in Robert Mugabe’s party.

A week in politics is a very long time and can alter so many things that many considered routine. The ongoing debacle in Zanu PF on how to fill the vacant Manicaland senate seat best exemplifies this. Zanu PF party honchos are publicly fighting and name calling each other like never before in our 34 years of Zimbabwe’s independence.

Gideon Gono, the infamous former central bank governor, for the last six months looked a certain shoe in to get the Manicaland proportional representative senate seat till a fortnight ago when ZEC disqualified his nomination on a technical ground.

All hell broke loose. Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa was quick off the blocks to remind the nation that the party’s politburo had made a decision to have Gono and will stand by it even if it meant to amend the national laws to facilitate that. Mutasa received immediate support from party spokesman Rugare Gumbo who said the politburo will chart the way forward.

When it all seemed solved, government spokesman Jonathan Moyo from the blue spoke on the matter and in the process cast aspersions on Gono’s ambitions. At the same time, The Herald which ironically falls under Moyo’s purview wrote the ‘dirty dozen’ story that insinuated that some Zanu PF MPs were being willing tools of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) network under the guise of receiving developmental aid.

The Sunday Mail stoked the fires when it published that Temba Mliswa (Mutasa’s nephew) was a CIA agent. It became apparent that this was a political high stakes game where no dirty trick would be spared to score brown points against political opponents.

Mliswa on Monday hastily arranged a press conference to defend his honour and at the same time turn the tables on Moyo. He said Moyo was not only a deep seated CIA agent but also a gayganster that wanted to destabilise Zanu PF and ouster Mugabe.

That the fall out in Zanu PF is factional fights ahead of the watershed December congress is a foregone conclusion. The two main factions in the party led by Joice Mujuru and Emmerson Mnangagwa have since last year during the provincial elections been at each other’s throats.

However, in the melee some important things have been lost to the citizens. The Zanu PF public spats confirm only one thing – the opposition is dead. Zanu PF is simply certain that its future is certain from external threats, it can set the national narratives and dictate debates because it has the ideas unlike the opposition and civil society.

Zanu PF with its secure two-thirds majority can afford to keep the two senatorial seats vacancies open. Having Gono now in Senate or a year later does not both qualitatively and quantitatively affect the party from ruling because of its comfortable majority.

Only two weeks ago, the opposition kicking and screaming endorsed the improperly tabled Finance Bill just as it will be bullied to pass the Appropriation Bill ($950 million supplementary budget) when its tabled.

Gono’s entrance will on the lighter side bring new lexicon to our politics. During his decade as central bank governor he introduced among others the following terms to the wider audience – Quasi-fiscal, Foliwars, Aspef and Baccosi. And only this week we have added two new terms – CIA agents and gaygansters.

For now Gono’s issue has overtaken ZimAsset in terms of centimeter columns in the mainstream media and seems to be the trend till December congresss. Zanu PF once again has diverted the nation’s attention to the mundane debates which will not qualitatively enhance the ordinary people’s lives