EXCLUSIVE: US poll takes one down Zim memory lane

Zimbabwe's presidents since 1980

Zimbabwe’s presidents since 1980

by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
Editor-In-Chief
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE outcome of the recently-concluded elections in the United States of America has thrust my mind back to my heydays as junior journalist in Zimbabwe’s oldest city of Masvingo.

In this historic city in the southern region, veteran nationalist and freedom fighter, Dr Eddison Zvobgo, always warned us to be very careful of a “monster” called Robert Gabriel Mugabe. He was and still is Zimbabwe’s president.

Back then, Zvobgo would invite only journalists he believed had the interests of Zimbabwe at heart. He would share his mind without fear. For ethical reasons, he would request that all things said off record should not be made public.

US President-elect Donald Trump with incumbent Barak Obama at White House

US President-elect Donald Trump with incumbent Barak Obama at White House

The idea was to keep us (future leaders of tomorrow), more so, journalists, well-equipped with correct information so that when the right time arose to report and write the truth about the history of Zimbabwe, not even a single “vulture” from the Zanu PF’s ‘mafikizolos’, as newcomers in the fray were known, would ever distort facts of the history of the country’s liberation.

Eddison Zvobgo

Eddison Zvobgo

Zvogbo, at his famous Chevron Hotel, would also urge us as junior journalists to be wary of Mugabe, whom he always described as a “monster” in the making.

He would not talk to any journalist about the ongoings in Zanu (PF), such as the infighting but would use the spirit of discernment to handpick trusted, honest and reliable journalists.

In 1995, I remember when he started his story by likening Mugabe to an athlete, who, when in a 4 x 100 relay race would assume the baton from the starting point but when it is time to pass on the button to the next athlete, Mugabe would then divert with the stick running with it straight to the mountain.

We all wondered what Zvobgo was putting across! I was too naive when it came to political reporting. It was a worthy learning curve from a junior still exploring the journalistic ropes to what I am today.

Sometimes, I would, out of fear, ask rhetorically why Zvobgo was so critical of his leader Mugabe.

Zvobgo would reiterate the example of the 4 x 100 relay. He would say, despite starting on very well, Mugabe would then spoil the otherwise winning team by refusing to pass on the baton to the next runner as he madly diverted to the mountain leaving other anticipating athletes shell-shocked.

He continued, “Mugabe would not care whether cheering spectators get disappointed, concerned or infuriated about his moment of madness of diverting to the mountain with the stick, he would increase pace to the bush.”

We always laughed our lungs out but it was no laughing matter as the so-called “A-Team” would lose the relay because of one selfish athlete called Robert Mugabe, who would have inflicted the pain of defeat due to greedy, selfishness and individualistic aspirations.

Deputy President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Deputy President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Zvobgo’s example struck my mind immediately after the US election outcome when Donald Trump romped to victory against his rivalry Hillary Clinton.

Little did I know Zvobgo knew Mugabe very well than most of the mafikizolos, precisely, the Johnny-come-lately in Zanu (PF) today.

I remember those years, Zvobgo, as visionary as he was, always put the country of Zimbabwe first ahead of party politics, patronage and cronyism.

As I kept observing the US election process leading to their conclusion, I then realised there was something very wrong with Zimbabwean politics.

I have been previously arrested, beaten before and persecuted in my country for reporting the truth, but such scenarios never came to mind until the latest US elections.

As the US election script comes to an end, I would see Zvobgo’s picture coming to mind, saying “Look! Here, the US President Barak Obama is smoothly passing on the button to the next runner to complete the relay.”

Our own Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is still holding on to the relay stick since 1980, and is even planning to continue running in 2018 further with the stick to Mount Kilimanjaro if not the world’s highest mountain – Mount Everest.

Immediately after the US election outcome, which the loser – Hillary Clinton accepted, I observed something that excited me most.

I would then see Obama invite the president-elect Trump to State House to share moments to ensure smooth transition!

This would never happen in my beloved land of milk and honey Zimbabwe is, “God’s chosen” Mugabe at the helm.

Michelle Obama and-Melania Trump together at  White House meeting

Michelle Obama and Melania Trump together at White House meeting

Rather, Mugabe would accelerate to Mount Everest or the deepest sea, Pacific Ocean, to ensure he maintains a grip on the baton.

With Americans, we see Obama welcoming his successor with open arms.

He would greet him in broad daylight, in front of global televisions for the entire world to see discussions around the smooth transition.

Obama would say: “Good afternoon, everybody. Yesterday, before votes were tallied, I shot a video that some of you may have seen in which I said to the American people: Regardless of which side you were on in the election, regardless of whether your candidate won or lost, the sun would come up in the morning.”

After taking a breather, Obama continued: “And that is one bit of prognosticating that actually came true. The sun is up. And I know everybody had a long night. I did, as well. I had a chance to talk to President-elect Trump last night — about 3:30 in the morning, I think it was — to congratulate him on winning the election. And I had a chance to invite him to come to the White House tomorrow to talk about making sure that there is a successful transition between our presidencies.”

Unheard of in Zimbabwe where indications are conqueror of Mugabe would suffer trumped up charges of trying to overthrow the ‘democratically elected’ president. That would be with the intention of blocking their entry to State House.

Anyway, back to my story, Obama would then continue: “Now, it is no secret that the President-elect and I have some pretty significant differences. But remember, eight years ago, President Bush and I had some pretty significant differences. But President Bush’s team could not have been more professional or more gracious in making sure we had a smooth transition so that we could hit the ground running. And one thing you realize quickly in this job is that the presidency, and the vice presidency, is bigger than any of us.”

“So I have instructed my team to follow the example that President Bush’s team set eight years ago, and work as hard as we can to make sure that this is a successful transition for the President-elect — because we are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country. The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy. And over the next few months, we are going to show that to the world,” Obama said.

Imagine if it was the God’s “chosen son” Mugabe. Despite the country facing popular unrest over deepening economic crisis, rampant corruption and factionalism in his party, believe me, he would unleash venom against the election winner and so-called detractors for ganging up to overthrow his legitimate government.

I swear with Njakeni (Elizabeth)! By the way, I’m Tsonga from Chikombedzi. My uncle, who is late hero and former ZANLA commander Justin Chauke knew about this, but was not interested in discussing ZANU PF leadership issues with us, but believe me, Mugabe would unleash extreme malice and bitterness attitudes of his voice of venom with all sorts of vitriol, spite , vindictiveness, malice, antagonism, hostility, bitterness, resentment and begrudge the winner.

Well, back to my story, hear this, Obama continues: “I also had a chance last night to speak with Secretary Clinton, and I just had a chance to hear her remarks. I could not be prouder of her. She has lived an extraordinary life of public service. She was a great First Lady.

“She was an outstanding senator for the state of New York. And she could not have been a better Secretary of State. I’m proud of her. A lot of Americans look up to her. Her candidacy and nomination was historic and sends a message to our daughters all across the country that they can achieve at the highest levels of politics. And I am absolutely confident that she and President Clinton will continue to do great work for people here in the United States and all around the world.”

True democracy at its best.

“Now, everybody is sad when their side loses an election. But the day after, we have to remember that we’re actually all on one team. This is an intramural scrimmage. We’re not Democrats first. We’re not Republicans first. We are Americans first. We’re patriots first. We all want what’s best for this country. That’s what I heard in Mr. Trump’s remarks last night. That’s what I heard when I spoke to him directly. And I was heartened by that. That’s what the country needs — a sense of unity; a sense of inclusion; a respect for our institutions, our way of life, rule of law; and a respect for each other. I hope that he maintains that spirit throughout this transition, and I certainly hope that’s how his presidency has a chance to begin,” says Obama.

With angel “Gabriel”, such will never happen in Zimbabwe. You would hear the winner would want to reverse the land reform and hand the country back to Britain. And the brainwashed will take such propaganda hooker, line and sinker.

Listen to Obama: “I also told my team today to keep their heads up, because the remarkable work that they have done day in, day out — often without a lot of fanfare, often without a lot of attention — work in agencies, work in obscure areas of policy that make government run better and make it more responsive, and make it more efficient, and make it more service-friendly so that it’s actually helping more people — that remarkable work has left the next President with a stronger, better country than the one that existed eight years ago.

“So win or lose in this election, that was always our mission. That was our mission from day one. And everyone on my team should be extraordinarily proud of everything that they have done, and so should all the Americans that I’ve had a chance to meet all across this country who do the hard work of building on that progress every single day. Teachers in schools, doctors in the ER clinic, small businesses putting their all into starting something up, making sure they’re treating their employees well. All the important work that’s done by moms and dads and families and congregations in every state. The work of perfecting this union,” Obama said.

My tears started falling in South Africa.

Not far from Zimbabwe, neighbouring South Africa have since 1994, when the country attained democracy, President Nelson Mandela never ruled the country with iron fist.

In succession, Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe and current head Jacob Zuma have occupied the throne.

Soon, Zuma will pass the baton stick to the next leader. Forget the scandals of Nkandlagate, State Capture by the Guptas or the world record 783 charges hanging over his head. Msholozi will hand over power to the next president in 2019. I bet my bottom Rand, the chosen one from Zimbabwe will carry on as leader.

Suffice to say our les influential neighbouring countries such as Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi have all witnessed transitions from one leader to another, at least five presidents, without any glitch.

In the north, Zambia had presidents Kenneth Kaunda of United National Independence Party (UNIP) passing on the baton to Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) headed by the late Frederick Chiluba.

Chiluba was succeeded by Levy Mwanawasa, before Mwanawasa got replaced by Rupiah Banda, then came Michael Sata before Guy Scott, and now Edgar Lungu yet the one and only Robert Mugabe is still ruling Zimbabwe since 1980.

Chiluba became Zambian president in 1991. From 1991 up until nowthere have been five presidents while for Zimbabwe since 1980, when I was at pre-school, I have only known one leader – Robert Mugabe.

Zimbabwe’s Western neighbour Botswana has seen founding president Seretse Khama replaced by Quett Masire. After Masire came Festus Mogae, who passed the baton to the incumbent, Ian Khama, yet the one and only “anointed” President Robert Mugabe is still running with the baton tripping on his shoelaces.

Our eastern neighbour, Mozambique, saw founding president Eduardo Mondlane replaced by Samora Moisés Machel.

The late Machel was succeeded by Joaquin Chissano before Armando Guebuza took over. The incumbent is Filipe Nyusi. Yet, Mugabe is still holding on to power and even threatening to vie for the next election in 2018.

This is what the late and respected Zimbabwean politician, nationalist, legal guru and liberator, Zvobgo shared with us while in Masvingo. Back then, I was a cub journalist and through that experience to the international award winning journalist I now am, Mugabe is still at the helm.

I for one, also want to be president of Zimbabwe, but with the “holy angel” always seeing “foreign sponsored” aspiring leaders with “regime change” I would rather hold my horses a bit in South Africa.

So, the recent US election outcome, with promising smooth transition have reminded me of the late Zvobgo, who once said, the Zimbabwe’s otherwise winning A-Team of the 4 x 100m relay team lost their course due to one man called President Mugabe, who started the race very well, but along the race, he then diverted with the baton stick to the mountain.

Hear this from Obama: “But to the young people who got into politics for the first time, and may be disappointed by the results, I just want you to know, you have to stay encouraged. Don’t get cynical. Don’t ever think you can’t make a difference. As Secretary Clinton said this morning, fighting for what is right is worth it.

“Sometimes you lose an argument. Sometimes you lose an election. The path that this country has taken has never been a straight line. We zig and zag, and sometimes we move in ways that some people think is forward and others think is moving back. And that’s okay. I’ve lost elections before. Joe hasn’t,” says Obama drawing laughter.

For the benefit of the young ones who don’t know Zvobgo, he was born on October 2, 1935 in Masvingo before receiving legal training in South Africa, London, Harvard and Tufts (Boston) universities.

He was arrested in 1964 for political activism and remained in prison for seven years. His ministerial posts after Independence included Minister of Mines, Minister of State, Minister of Justice and Minister of Local Government and Housing.

At one time when accused of planning to topple Mugabe, he accused his detractors of not being sincere with both the ruling party and the nation at heart.

I remember very well his words to his detractors: “These ‘mafikizolos’ have nothing to lose if Zanu PF is harmed . . . They shout Mugabe’s name loudest…… Most of them are opportunists, corrupt and incompetent. They know that people do not want them but they believe they are secure in their blind fanaticism . . .”

Zvobgo was responding to allegations he described as “ill-founded rumours peddled by ciphers struggling hard to become digits. How can these charges be taken seriously when they are obviously crudities and totally out of my style and range?”

– CAJ News

 

 

 

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Posted by on Nov 14 2016. Filed under Africa & World, Exclusive, Featured, National, News, Regional. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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