That is the principle my parents raised me on.
I was taught that the truth always had a way of coming out – which will eventually determine the lasting legacy of the liar.
These profound teachings can never be truer for Zimbabwe.
Today, we may be told how successful the incumbent president is – with virtually every state institution being abused as a campaign tool for both the ruling ZANU PF party, and its leader Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa – but, the truth has a stubborn way of always revealing itself.
Indeed, lies have a very short lifespan!
They can help secure temporary ‘victories’ at elections – especially, as a result of concerted propaganda campaigns, infested with false and unfulfilled promises, as well as downright untruths – however, a leader’s legacy will inevitably outlive such fallacies, as the truth always lives forever.
In fact, we already witness this happening with the late President Robert Gabriel Mugabe – hardly five years after his ousting.
In spite of spending the entire 37 years of our country’s independence from British rule – in which, Mugabe enjoyed uninterrupted and unchallenged rule, mainly maintained and protected through cold-blooded brutality – being subjected to a relentless propaganda onslaught on the ironfisted tyrant’s flawless exceptional and people-centered overwhelmingly successful leadership…the truth eventually found its way out.
Interestingly, not from the opposition – as much as significant sections of Zimbabwean society tried their best in exposing his seemingly endless glaring shortcomings and outright failures, and gross incompetence – he has been exposed by his own comrades.
Ironically, the man who stood by his side for nearly six decades – not only as his right hand man, but also henchman and protégé – Mnangagwa, has oddly sought to raise his own profile as the new leader, after backstabbing Mugabe in a military coup d’état, by exposing his former mentor’s dismal inadequacies and weaknesses.
Barely a few months into office, Mnangagwa was on the global stage, at the World Economic Forum in Davos – disparaging the much-criticized so-called indigenization policy, whereby foreigners who invested in the country were required to forgo 51 percent of their shareholding to Zimbabweans.
This, despite the fact that he (Mnangagwa) had been one of the proponents of this thoughtless and nonsensical policy – which was sure to dissuade any foreign direct investment (FDI) – a fact most of us had been making since the Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act was promulgated in 2007.
As a matter of fact, those of us who were critical of this ill-conceived law were quickly branded ‘unpatriotic’ and ‘against black empowerment’ – with Mugabe being touted by his lieutenants, like Mnangagwa, as an unflinching revolutionary, who was placing the interests of the nation first.
Mugabe could do no wrong.
So, what changed after his eventual toppling?
Actually, why did those who considered him infallible end up turning against him and overthrowing their god-sent messiah?
Why was one of Mnangagwa’s first acts the repelling of the law he and his colleagues had defended so fiercely and ferociously?
Did it mean that their ‘all perfect’ leader was flawed after all, and had made a huge mistake?
The truth was coming out!
These truths did not stop there.
Over the past five years of Mnangagwa’s rule – wherever he has done anything, this has been heralded as ‘evidence of the Second Republic’s people-oriented thrust’.
This has been the common theme in Mnangagwa’s administration, as he seeks to gain traction with the citizenry by exposing and playing upon his predecessor’s unmitigated failures.
Bridges and roads that lay unrepaired (some from as far back as Cyclone Eline in 2000), and promised schools and clinics that have not been built – which are finally being attended to by the so-called ‘new dispensation’ – were portrayed as signalling a leadership that was genuinely pro-people and fulfilled its promises.
Oh, so Mugabe was not people-centred and did not fulfil his promises, after all – contrary to the tireless propaganda and falsehoods we were fed for nearly four decades.
Furthermore, suddenly Mugabe’s own party now places the blame for some of the most egregious and barbaric human rights violations and reign of terror ever unleashed upon the people of Zimbabwe squarely on Mugabe.
Have we not heard official ZANU PF statements pointing the finger for the Gukurahundi genocide – which witnessed the horrendous massacre of over 20,000 civilians – on the late leader?
Even the so-called ‘new dispensation’ is never shy on boasting over supposed ‘media and political reforms’ – which they disingenuously claim to have opened up the democratic space in the country – as compared to the Mugabe era, whereby the media was severely restricted, and people’s rights stifled.
Of course, Zimbabweans are aware that nothing of significance has changed.
We are also told that the economy is in its current dismal state as a direct consequence of the Mugabe regime’s poor monetary policies – even going as far labelling the introduction of the United States dollar (USD) in 2009 as the genesis of our misery and suffering.
What troubles me, though, more than anything else, are not necessarily Mugabe’s failures and shortcomings.
What I find more worrisome is how a leader can be protected, and his profile enhanced through brazen shameless lies – whilst, state institutions, especially the public media, traditional chiefs, as well the ruling ZANU PF itself being used as tools of deception and inaccuracies.
Those of us – who are independent-minded and stand with the people, and not political leaders, and have been loudly denouncing these nefarious and callous deeds by our presidents – have suffered the brunt of the regime’s crackdown for telling the truth, which ironically new leaders eventually concede to.
This leaves me wondering – so, what are we being lied to today, as regards Mnangagwa, as we are perpetually told of his grand achievements, mega deals, an economy performing exceptionally well, ‘no place being left behind, as Zimbabwe is built ‘brick by brick’?
What falsehoods are we being fed on a daily basis, and what failures are being hidden away from the nation?
What things are we, who are truly pro-people, exposing – yet, being strongly denied by the state apparatus, as we are called ‘unpatriotic’ and ‘regime change agents’ – that will be admitted by the next administration?
In fact, which corrupt high ranking officials are being shielded from public scrutiny, due to their proximity to power?
Are we to wait for a new leader for Mnangagwa and his comrades to also be finally exposed?
Of course, that is exactly what is going to happen.
However, as Zimbabweans wait for that new president – even from his own ZANU PF party, and who knows for how long – we will continue to live under the constant barrage of falsehoods as to our ‘visionary leader and listening president’, who is presiding over ‘phenomenal development in Zimbabwe’.
However, what I know for a fact is this – lies have a very short lifespan, and the truth will come out sooner or later.
And, as we are already witnessing regarding Mugabe – the truth will be the real lasting legacy a leader will leave behind.
- Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936, or email: [email protected]