YEAR 2014 will go down in history as the year of long knives and rhetoric. A scholar C Campbell in his book The Art of Rhetoric defi
nes rhetoric as the use of a language in such a way as to produce a desired impression upon the hearer or reader, but often lacking sincerity or meaningful content.
He further argues that rhetoric in most cases is for manipulative purposes. In Ancient Germany there was only one “night of long knives” where those opposing the dictator Adolf Hitler were assassinated during the night — the event infamously referred to as the night of long knives.
In Zimbabwe 2014 will go down in history as the year of long knives and rhetoric owing to Zanu PF’s primitive infighting amid counter accusations of corruption, infiltration, witchcraft, assassination plots, among others.
The year was filled with dirty politics of power as the economy suffered. History was repeated in 2014 when the ghost of Dinyane visited Zanu PF.
In 2004 Zanu PF provincial chairpersons were suspended after attending a Dinyane coup d’etat meeting which allegedly plotted the removal of President Robert Mugabe and his presidium.
The provincial chairpersons were accused of nominating Emmerson Mnangagwa as Zanu PF vice-president when the powers that be were in favour of Joice Mujuru. Zanu PF’s constitution was amended at the 11th hour to accommodate the provision that one of the vice-presidents be a woman.
Ten years down the line in 2014 the script was rewritten. This time around nine provincial chairpersons were either fired or suspended for allegedly plotting to unseat the democratically elected president who was just 18 months in office.
Unlike in 2004 where Mnangagwa was the mastermind, this time around Joice Mujuru was the culprit.
The script writers were in women’s league where all the scheming took place as Grace Mugabe was offered the leadership of the wing and Oppah Muchinguri stood down for her.
The new leader of women’s league then embarked on nationwide rallies, duped meet the people rallies, where rhetorically the enemies of the country and it’s leadership were exposed.
The script was similar to the one of 2004, but this time around weevils of 2004 were now the complainants. Senior members stood accused of being witches who consulted witchdoctors and spiritual leaders in trying to get rid of our dear leader.
I will not dwell on the merits or demerits of the accusations save to highlight that in politics one is firstly dipped into the bucketful of mud before being removed.
A clean politician cannot be removed from his or her position. The person must be dirty first whether real or imagined. Allegation against the Mujuru camp would be tested, it’s a matter of time.
As Zimbabweans we must not either shed a tear for those fired or congratulate the winners as they all belong to Zanu PF cabals which have brought suffering to the people of Zimbabwe.
The congress that followed the night of long knives was just a damp squib as no one was elected. The president and secretary for women’s league who were supposed to be elected during the congress were long endorsed during the course of the rhetorics and the vice-presidents were to be appointed later by the president after another amendment to the constitution similar to the one done in 2004.
As the ruling party Zanu PF failed to address economic issues affecting the country but concentrated on their intra-power politics.
MDC-T like their lookalike twin Zanu PF could not disappoint either as they also held their own shame congress in a similar manner like Zanu PF after amending their constitution to create one centre of power.
This was after its national council at Mandel Training Centre suspended Morgan Tsvangirai and his own cabal for abuse of power among other offences.
The only way out for him was to hold a congress of his own shameful as it were.
The highlight of that congress was the defeat of Tsvangirai’s blue eyed boy honourable Nelson Chamisa by Douglas Mwonzora after Chamisa was nominated by 11 of 12 provinces for the position of secretary general with watered down powers.
This incident exposed MDC-T as lacking political wisdom. What is the purpose of calling for provincial nominations when you would conduct a one man one vote during congress?
Both MDC-T and Zanu PF congresses which occurred this year had every similarity which proved correct the assertion that Zanu PF and MDC-T are birds of same feather which flock together. It is a matter of a kettle and a pot.
What is interesting though from these congresses of shame is the sudden approach to Sadc for intervention and mediation in our local challenges which need home grown solutions since we are a sovereign country.
We wait to see what Sadc which is chaired by our dear leader will do to the cries by a dwarf in giant robes.
The most important and significant event of 2014 was re unification of doyens of democracy, MDC-Renewal and MDC led by Ncube.
The future of this country looks orange and green. Our united movement for democratic change is a strong institution built on strong foundation which seeks to unite all genuine democrats of Zimbabwe.
It is the only party which does not subscribe to strong man mentality, but strong institutions. The future of this lovely motherland was defined in 2014 when the leadership of MDC-Renewal and MDC started the process of reunifying these two parties.
It brought back confidence to the people of Zimbabwe who were then shying away from polling booths citing confusion in the divided movement.
Another scholar White, argues that rhetoric is capable not only of addressing issues of political interest but can influence culture as a whole.
Remember during one of her rallies in Gwanda Grace labelled Ndebele men drunkards and lazy, spending their time womanising.
White further argues that rhetoric could be used equally easily to deceive or manipulate.
Therefore, 2014 was the year of long knives and rhetoric.
Edwin Ndlovu is MDC-Renewal secretary for information and publicity – Bulawayo Province. He can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org