Does ZANU PF itself even understand what it means to be patriotic?

I have just been listening to comments by the ruling ZANU PF youth league, as they paid tribute to their late party spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo - in which they proudly touted his "unwavering revolutionary and patriotic" credentials.

I found myself laughing, as I remembered what the same Moyo (then information minister) said about the then vice president Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa – as he announced his expulsion from both government and ZANU PF on 6 November 2017 – in which he described him (Mnangagwa) as a “disloyal, disrespectful, and deceitful” individual.

I then wondered how anyone who, today, used the same description of the man who later became president – after a military coup d’etat that toppled then tyrant, the late Robert Gabriel Mugabe, only two weeks after his sacking – would be regarded?

Would he not be considered an “unpatriotic, sellout, and puppet of the West”, who sought to cause dissent, division, and civil unrest within the country?

What then defines a ‘patriot’ and ‘patriotism’ – from ZANU PF’s own perspective?

Was Moyo being ‘unpatriotic’ when he made those comments about Mnangagwa on 6 November 2017?

What then changed over the course of time – since, he clearly suddenly morphed into a typical Mnangagwa hero-worshipper, showering him with glowing praises, by touting him as a ‘visionary leader’, and ‘listening president’?

So, what happened to Mnangagwa being a “disloyal, disrespectful, and deceitful” character?

Does ZANU PF actually possess any set-down tangible ideology regarding ‘patriotism’?

Or, does ‘patriotism’ simply mean being obedient to the sitting president, and regarding ‘his enemies as my enemies’, and ‘his friends as my friends’ – because, it was quite clear that Moyo was being ‘patriotic’ by describing the sacked Mnangagwa as, a “disloyal, disrespectful, and deceitful” person, in a bid to serve his then master, Mugabe.

In other words, as far as the Zimbabwe ruling elite is concerned – being patriotic is NOT premised on the love for one’s country and people, but purely on some blind support for whoever is in power at that time.

As a matter of fact, if Mnangagwa is to be toppled today (as has been the norm in ZANU PF ever since its founding in August 1963, having never experienced any smooth democratic transfer of power) the term ‘patriotism’ will swiftly change to mean anyone who declares his unwavering devotion and dedication to the new ‘Fuhrer’, and suddenly starts criticizing Mnangagwa for his ‘lack of vision’, and ‘failure to listen to the people’.

Just as we are being told today how the so-called ‘First Republic’, or ‘Old Dispensation’ failed to fulfill promises, never finished projects, did not genuinely fight corruption, implemented unsound economic policies, and an unwillingness to engage and re-engage the international community.

Needless to say, when the rest of us were accusing Mugabe and his cronies (most of whom were to later betray and oust him) of these same things, we were the ones labelled ‘unpatriotic’ – in a similar fashion as we are being accused today for criticizing Mnangagwa.

That is what ‘patriotism’ means in ZANU PF.

Therefore, what can ZANU PF teach us about ‘patriotism’, since they themselves do not even grasp this basic concept?

© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and political commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: [email protected]

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