Make-believe politics rules

bob_morgan_arthurYes, it is 'make-believe' politics. The whole GPA is a make-believe document.

It is a pointless agreement – parliament is not the government. So, the MDC have integrated themselves into a make-believe institution, and they claim, and believe, they are taking part in government.

Consider the following sequence of events:

In 1996, every ministry, with an armed and uniformed element – army, air force, police, national parks, prisons – had as its minister, a ‘retired’ soldier.

In 2001, every single ministry, of any sort, had as it Permanent Secretary, a ‘retired’ soldier. (As pointed out by finance minister Tendai Biti in many public speeches).

Then, before the elections, several serving senior officers, including the Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, declared who they would or would not salute. That is, they declared their intention to commit treason, and incited others to commit treason. Question; who does the commander of a national army salute? Answer; whoever the people of that nation tell him to salute to.

Because who does the army belong to, the nation, or that individual? Who pays the salaries? The citizens of that nation (through taxes), or that individual?

Now, if these soldiers did, in the end, salute someone they said they would not salute, they are liars, and myself, I am not comfortable with everyone uniformed and armed in my nation being commanded by liars. And whether they did, (or did

not) salute it clearly indicates, to me, who is in charge of the country. Choice is between Parliament (the civilian authority, legitimacy, the people’s elected representatives), or ‘the military’ (the raw, physical, power merchants, appointed persons).

And after the elections, suddenly the head of the Zimbabwe Republic Police becomes a ‘Commissioner General’.

Military Coup

There has been a military coup in Zimbabwe. It was slow and creeping, gradual and covert, but it is there. The military are in control. The military say what laws will be applied, and to whom they will be applied.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police follow one law – keep Zanu (PF) in power. Any other law is secondary, and subject to the availability of fuel, stationery, police officers, telephone lines working, etc. But keeping Zanu (PF) in power is the cover for keeping themselves in power.

The Zimbabwe National Army defends our borders (the borders?) from external aggression. Please tell me, who is likely to attack us? It should be the Foreign Ministry that defends the country from external aggression, and prevents attacks.

Judging by how the army acts, who they beat and kill, and what the actual army leader’s function is – it seems the Zimbabwean people are the biggest threat to the Zimbabwean National Army.

Who are the military?

This is a hard to define question. It is not simply, ‘people in uniform’. The bulk of the rank and file are as outside the government as the MDC. They are the cover. In many ways, the army is a Zanu (PF) charity, a way to create ‘jobs for the boys’. The army, in many ways, could be eliminated (who is going to attack our borders?) but it is a place, and method, of putting people in positions where they can be paid regularly. Little work, just monthly pay.

And ‘the military’ includes the police, the prison service, the permanent secretaries (and many more civil servants), many politicians, several ‘new farmers’, war veterans, Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), special branch, other intelligence, the ‘security’ establishment, etc. etc. Both of the major factions in Zanu (PF), waiting for the party leaders departure are ‘military’, Mujuru (wife of ‘General’ Mujuru, and herself a war veteran), and Mnangagwa, Defence Minister.

Possibly the best description of them is the former ZANLA high command.

Which would be comforting, in that they are all getting older and are mortal (as they sometimes demonstrate to each other). However, they have been very good at opening their arms to the ‘up and coming’ complicit people, and even in making the new and young complicit.

In perpetuating so much violence and bloodshed prior to previous elections (who exactly burnt down those houses?) they have ‘allowed’ (or forced), others to join the ranks of the condemned; who will suffer seriously if there is a change and justice is done, Zimbabwean Law (the written one) enforced, information opened up and spread freely, etc.

Who needs who most

Another difficult answer. Is the Zanu (PF) chairman using the generals, with their power, to keep him in his state position, or are the generals using the party chairman, with his legitimacy, to be their cover, and front. Who gains the most from this arrangement?

The answer, I think, will only come clear when change happens, information is brought into the open, participants talk honestly, etc. Suffice it to say in the meantime – they are all the former ZANLA high command; a clique, a cabal, a closed shop, a gang (friends, or accomplices?).

And they are happy to have the mak- believe politics out in front, being debated, discussed, analysed. So long as this figment of imagination takes up people’s energies, they can carry on with functions as before. Before the GPA. Before the elections that returned a new ‘ruling party’ to parliament. Before this nuisance, this ‘thing’ that needs to be managed.

And when the MDC show that they can be complicit, (taking farms, fancy cars, salary increases, sitting behind the desks but not looking in the drawers), they will be ‘allowed’ to ‘rule’.

In the meantime, we await several treason trials. When people are put on trial for their ‘treasonable utterances’, then we will know that change has happened.

Perhaps even, when the police (the Zimbabwean ones, not the Zanu (PF) ones) start to arrest people for breaking the laws (the written ones), and a free press starts to produce unbiased news, on a regular basis, we might say change is happening. But in the meantime, make-believe politics rules!

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