Growing up in the dusty streets of Chinotimba in Vic Falls, we used to read a lot about martyrs who sacrificed themselves for the greater good. These included St Bartholomew, St Lawrence, and a host of other white man’s martyrs. No racism intended, but the tutelage on martyrdom was heavily steeped in colonial definitions of martyrdom.
Sekuru Chaminuka, nor Mbuya Nehanda, our very own martyrs were condemned to the margins of history. They were safely tucked away from the education curriculum, yet these were the true definition of self-sacrifice in the fight against white colonial dominion.
Fast forward to post-independent Zimbabwe, emerged a dangerous breed of fake martyrs who have appropriated and perfected the art of criminal nuisance under the guise of a pseudo-struggle for democracy. This lot, and its ilk, have a mistaken, if not contrived definition of political martyrdom.
This lot provokes the country’s democracy, itself founded on the concrete foundation of the rule of law. They wilfully break the law in order to invite arrests.
Their entire political careers are defined by the number of contrived arrests they accrue. Their political clout is only derived from the number of times they have broken the law. They do not have any ideological grounding from whence they derive their political message. It is just dust-raising criminal nuisance to attract likes and retweets on social media.
They derive great joy and satisfaction by hitting the headlines for wilfully breaking the law. Their stock rises exponentially within opposition circles, particularly from intrusive foreign embassies that oil the excitable, impetuous, pliant and pliable youths. The embassies even massage the vacuous egos of the pesky lot by tweeting inciting and encouraging messages exalting them.
This lot includes Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri, Makomborero Haruzivishe, Denford Ngadziore. This group mistakenly believes they are actually fighting for democracy, yet they are busy offending it. Political activism should be based on substance, not criminal nuisance. It must be exercised withing the confines of the law. Any transgressions on the borders set by the law invites arrest.
These false martyrs think they are making a career out of being arrested. Far from it, they are actually decimating their already sorry futures. Instead of focussing on their self-actualisation , they are busy massaging the egos of their smarter principals, who only use them for their political brinksmanship, yet they themselves will be safely tucked in their air-conditioned offices waiting to capitalise on the youth’s arrests through press conferences. MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa, never leads from the front, he only capitalises on youth arrests to remain relevant in Zimbabwe’s political terrain.
At a time when Haruzivishe was being sentenced to 24 months in jail for criminal nuisance, Chamisa and his leadership were busy braaing and enjoying themselves in Zaka, Bvukururu. Haruzivishe is alone in a jail cell. His future shattered. Mind you, he has a more serious charge of kidnapping and hostage-taking waiting in the wings.
The MDC Alliance is milking the rightful incarceration for political expedience. Haruzivishe is no martyr. He is a directionless and impressionable young man, whose demise is being used to raise Chamisa’s political stock. This is sick exploitative politics. By the time Haruzivishe emerges from jail, the world would have moved on.
Chamisa will only remember him when he is on the verge of being released after serving time. Young people must wake up and smell the coffee. They are not martyrs in a fake struggle. They are just pawns in exploitative political games, where they are just but collateral damage.