by Nobleman Runyanga
The past few weeks have been characterised by arbitrary price increases, soaring foreign currency exchange rates and general anxiety among Zimbabweans, who are dreading the spectre of the recurrence of the 2008 hyperinflationary economic hardships.
Amid this national anxiety, some members of the society have evidently been enjoying and perpetuating the scenario for cheap political mileage or the economic gains that are to be made from the arbitrage opportunities presented by the situation or both.
One of the groups of people who have been enjoying the ongoing shortages such as that of fuel is the MDC led by Nelson Chamisa, who despite being defeated fair and square during the 30 July polls by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, continues to insist on claiming non-existent victory. He was beaten in the polling booth, at the Constitutional Court in August and, lately, on the international arena when the United Nations invited President Mnangagwa to address the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) summit last month, practically endorsing his victory and the process through which he was elected. This dashed his hopes of getting the international community fighting from his corner.
When the MDC-T was trounced by ZANU PF during the 2013 harmonised elections, it attempted to pursue sabotage politics under the Tongai tione campaign but this failed dismally. This time around Chamisa and his party are attempting the same trick in the hope of repeating the events of 2008 which culminated in the formation of a Government of national unity (GNU). Unlike the late Morgan Tsvangirai before him who was mature and reasonable, Chamisa is not gunning for a GNU. He is fighting for a handover of power, which he claims as chinhu changu as if it is an item of personal possession, despite the fact that President Mnangagwa outpolled him by 2 460 463 votes to his 2 147 436 while ZANU PF won two thirds of the National Assembly seats. His bid is, therefore, undemocratic and illegal. Democracy which he claims to champion and uphold does not condone the use of the backdoor to gain power.
In line with the foregoing, some businesspeople seem to have latched onto the economic challenges bedevilling the nation to fight in Chamisa and the opposition’s corner to punish President Mnangagwa and ZANU PF for their electoral victory. Yes, the country has been battling with the twin challenges of foreign currency and cash shortages. Yes, at some point these could worsen given that we are not exporting enough as an economy to earn sufficient foreign currency but for these problems to suddenly worsen simultaneously from various sectors immediately after President Mnangagwa’s inauguration reeks of a connived political scheme hatched by some economic players with the tacit encouragement from some political players to make the country ungovernable.
The nation has heard utterances such as haiyivhiwi, hatigerwi tisipo and threats of Ndinozvidira jecha (I’ll spoil the party). Whether these were mere sabre rattling statements meant to scare President Mnangagwa and ZANU PF to abandon their hard-won electoral victories for the feeble political failures to pick up and enjoy or not, one may not tell, but, the developments on the ground would leave one with no choice except to connect the dots.
The fuel queues which were witnessed late last week brought to the fore the people behind the nation’s economic woes. In December they travelled all the way to the United States to beg for the extension of sanctions on the people of Zimbabwe, a request which the American president, Donald Trump responded to with alacrity, gusto and zeal at the end of July. On Friday some opposition personalities such as the Kuwadzana legislator, Chalton Hwende could not contain their joy at the suffering of Zimbabweans and tweeted an image of motor vehicles queuing at a service station with the shameless caption, “Zvadirwa jecha (the party has been spoilt). In his childish excitement, Hwende just fell short of tweeting the truth that “tazvidira jecha” (we’ve spoilt the party).
The economic challenges have seen Zimbabweans using various social media platforms such as Whatsapp to create groups to communicate information relating to the availability of fuel in various neighbourhoods. The groups have exposed the short-sighted mentality of some opposition supporters. Despite being very useful in assisting motorists with information which would allow them to save time and fuel by driving straight to those areas where fuel would be available, the platforms have been abused by some to insult the office and person of the President over the shortages. This is unnecessary. Instead of insults such individuals could, instead, invest in innovation to solve some of the country’s problem. The prevailing challenges are temporary and do not warrant the use of insults against fellow Zimbabweans. On Saturday morning most service stations around the country received fuel deliveries and motorists filled up their tanks without incident.
Others also used the platforms to spread information on the planned Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) on Thursday this week over the recent 2 percent tax transactions in excess of US$10, which was announced last week by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, Dr John Mangudya. The labour body, which is battling closure due to desertion by workers who do not agree with its dabbling in politics, seems to have been roped in by the desperate MDC for a relevance-seeking hatchet job, which is also apparently meant to advance its agenda of rendering the country ungovernable. ZCTU is well within its constitutional right to demonstrate but to use the same right for political and selfish ends to the potential detriment of national security and stability is not acceptable. To Chamisa and the ZCTU, the solution for every challenge facing the nation is violent demonstrations.
The various messages being posted on many social media platforms betray a section of the society which has been dyed in the opposition politics of sabotage to the extent of celebrating the people’s suffering. The opposition worships the ground upon which Trump and the Americans walk but have conveniently ignored the patriotism of the same. Americans may differ on any matter such as racism but when it comes to matters affecting their nation, they stand on the same side. Not so with the Zimbabwean opposition, which would rather destroy the country and its people for the sake of power than unite for progress’ sake.
What the opposition supporters seem not to know is that even if, by some unlikely stroke of chance, Chamisa were to take over power today they would remain stuck at those suburban bridges smoking weed and taking drugs for as long as they have no plans of their own to move their lives forward. Chamisa is pursuing his own plan using them as ready and willing foot soldiers. They will realise rather late in life that politics of sabotage does not take anyone anywhere especially in a great country such as Zimbabwe.
Instead of standing ready to cause mayhem for Chamisa’s benefit, they should confront him over his claims that he will not talk with President Mnangagwa because the latter’s door is closed. In his inauguration speech, the President invited Chamisa to talk to him and to participate in the re-building of this country but the latter has been engaging in his hayivhiyiwi sabotage stunt in order to gain entry to power which he neither worked for nor won.
They should convince him to join the rest of Zimbabwe and the world in re-building this country and moving it forward instead of sulking like a rejected second wife. This is an important time in Zimbabwe’s history which should not be marred by personal petty politics at the expense of the whole nation.