The dream of an independent Zimbabwe defined by universal justice fell flat on its face before the ink dried on paper. The Zimbabwean world is nothing but coordinated chaos punctuated with selective justice in which political and/ or ethnic affiliation determines how the law is interpreted and/ or applied. In such a world, we owe it to ourselves to exercise our right to partisanship if that helps stop the persecution of our own by the majoritarian tyranny of Harare. It is for patriotic reasons that I would rather take Jonathan Moyo’s side against his latest critic Dr Bekithemba Mpofu.
As a patriot volunteer for Matabeleland rights and stability I feel the sense of duty to stand by a Mthwakazi national. Bekithemba is a privileged man using his access to the media to play fast and loose with our appreciation of legal facts; his information is long in innuendo and short in facts. He has not given evidence for his case against Jonathan. I am not privy to Jonathan’s alleged indiscretions; suppose he did engage in malfeasance so what? My position will not shift; I am suspicious of Bekithemba’s motives; I constructively choose to exercise my right to be patriotic to Matabeleland. I may not agree with all that Jonathan stands for but I reserve that debate for now; this is a time to protect a man who is hounded because of who he is and where he is from.
Honest discussions are vital as they help guard against hypocrisy and complacency. However, in the submissions on the supposed offence of Jonathan, hypocrisy and not honesty is the base of the arguments presented by Bekithemba supported by mostly ethnic Shona people. My biggest concern with Bekithemba’s call for Jonathan to face the wrath of the law is that it is based on a selective moralist agenda; there remains a factual vacuum in his accusations.
Context is key if we are to maintain objectivity and credibility in this argument. The reality of the politics of the independent Zimbabwe is that the tolerance threshold of crimes committed by politicians and the elite affiliated with ZANU PF is limitless. Morally and legally wrong it is, but the ZANU PF led independence is not known for its intolerance to criminal acts by ZANU PF elite. The system in place has no regard for the law that does not adhere to political whims. Time and time again we see legal expects’ interpretations of the law and their representations purposely ignored for political than legal reasons. Ill-advised as it is, this system defines the independent Zimbabwe and it is within this context that Jonathan should be judged. Trying to raise the bar for Jonathan smacks of hypocrisy; worse still, it will not alter the foundational structures of this rotten system, if anything it only fulfils the broader ZANU PF agenda of managing Matabeleland through intimidation.
Patriotism is not a temporary and rabid outburst of emotion but a calm and informed lifetime dedication. We, the Matabeleland nationals, need to recognise that our destinies are bound together and that we have a mandate to show commitment to one another. An attack on one is an attack to all; lest I be misinterpreted, this is not an attempt to romanticise corruption but merely stating a fact. Mashonaland has systematically protected its own for the entirety of Zimbabwean independence; Gukurahundi atrocities did not dampen Mugabe’s popularity in Mashonaland but his decision to extend the skills that he had successfully used to manage Matabeleland into Mashonaland did.
If Zimbabwe wants to enter a new political dawn in which attitude towards political impropriety changes and tolerance threshold to it is lowered, that is commendable but let that change be universal to avoid it being seen as a purge of minority tribes. When hypocrisy is a trait, it affects one’s thinking, it influences the ‘facts’ that one is prepared to see, hear and acknowledge. Bekithemba and those who share his views only see Jonathan’s ‘crime’ but conveniently pay a blind eye to Robert Mugabe’s acknowledgement of his involvement as the head of state in what he referred to as ‘a moment of madness’.