Unconquerable, my foot!

Those who usually say that the devil is a liar have obnoxiously not yet listened to First Lady Grace Mugabe’s coterie of supporters, who seem hell-bent on singing and gyrating for their supper to a youthful woman, who has effectively and drastically, in dramatic Mr Bean repertoire, sprung to contest for the nation’s top post.

Francis Mufambi

The most nauseating thing about this cabal is that they militate against the reasons they stated as justification for purging, savaging and insulting former Vice-President Joice Mujuru — the so-called one centre of power.

Looming of a dynasty
That the Mugabe dynasty will come to Zimbabwe is no longer a matter for the future, but rather a clearly here and now unfolding Zimbabwean experience. The prevailing situation and events point to the First Lady carrying out some functions of government.

President Robert Mugabe and his close confidantes seem to have hatched a plan to manipulate the electorate, win the parliamentary majority and throw his wife into the fray knowing certainly the Zanu PF party’s gullibility. One may argue that all that is happening is being done to set Grace in front of the Zanu PF presidential hopefuls’ queue.

This approach has been Mugabe’s political strength since the 1970s. It appears the experiment is in its final stages. The “Amazing Grace” factor is boiling in the country, a country which her husband has reduced to a Siberian Gulag. History has a tendency of repeating itself. It might be useful to understand what took place in the past so we project the future.

But, Grace, who seemingly cannot cease to amaze, is not an original act. All right-minded Zimbabweans should take examples from the President’s close Chinese friends’ Jiang Qing. This woman was a dominant figure in Chinese politics during the Cultural Revolution and immediately after Mao Zedong’s death. She was the fourth wife of Mao, and the only one who played a political role.

At first Mao promised that Jiang wouldn’t be involved in politics, and for a while he kept that promise. During the Cultural Revolution, however, Jiang rose to power. She generally took a hard-line stance on policy, opposing, for instance, economic reforms and determinedly prosecuting her political opponents. She was widely disliked. It was ironic that shortly after Mao’s death in 1976, Jiang lost power.

In 1981, she was prosecuted as part of the “Gang of Four,” scapegoats for the excesses of the Cultural Revolution, and spent most of the remainder of her life in prison. Surely, this should give Grace reason to be mild, diplomatic, accommodative and circumspect than choosing to be a stray bullet. The time for justice might come a day sooner and be ungracious to her.

One centre of power politics
Precedent has taught us that Zanu PF has pledged to respect a single centre of power. This paradigm shift is two-faced in analysis and geopolitical meaning. Firstly, for an average Zimbabwean, it meant that Zanu PF was not dealing firmly with and exterminating the form and culture of the so-called divisive elements and factions. Secondly, it suggested that only Mugabe, who is the President after burning midnight candles to abrogate the Constitution to give himself power to anoint and appoint all politburo and presidium members, would be the only symbol of unity and cohesion within the once-revolutionary party.

However, closer scrutiny of the goings-on suggests that the “one centre of power” rhetoric meant political power was given only to the Mugabe family; this was let out of the bag by Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko when he addressed Grace as Her Excellency.
We are in a golden age where Mugabe’s son-in-law is more important than a minister; Mugabe’s daughter is more important than an ambassador; Mugabe’s nephews are more important than war veterans and Mugabe’s wife is superior to the country’s Vice-Presidents. This is the Zimbabwe one centre of power politics.

The main political matrix being that the locus of the centre of power is around the First Lady of the “Munhu wese kuna amai” (Everyone to the mother of the nation) mantra. This means everyone, including the President, his deputies, Cabinet ministers, politburo, down to the last in the chain, are below Amai (First Lady).

At their congress, Mugabe confirmed, like a kindergarten kid, that he is told what to do and when to do it by his wife all because he was “helpless”.

Zimbabwe should just accept that Grace is now becoming too big for the Zanu PF women’s league post. Why else would the whole of Zanu PF catch cold when she sneezes?

The unconquerable feat
The climax of a hilarious tragedy is reached when a person, who chases shadows, degenerates into believing that they are either unconquerable or invincible.

It’s common sense that an unconquered person is one that has been openly fighting against several opponents and emerging victorious all the time.

In Grace’s circumstances, her victories are only recorded as far as overtaking the ailing late First Lady Sally Mugabe.
After such feats, heroic as she may think she has been, she really has only been winning against herself.

Crediting a victory over self to oneself is a clear sign of a highly convoluted mind.

The artistry she has developed over conquering unsought for battles is legendary and unparalleled. Did she conquer academics to be a “doctor”? Did she conquer factionalism in Zanu PF? Did she conquer natural rules of ageing that affect all of us, including the President?

Did she conquer Mujuru when the latter didn’t dignify her claims by answering her? Indeed, has she conquered Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa? In reality all these are unsought for battles that will at one time culminate in a hard and shattering disgraceful fall.

Presidential post so near yet so farRobert Greene in the 48 Laws of Power advised against embarrassing wrong people and also against creating too many enemies when one dreams or accommodates ambition for higher office. The amount of vitriol, caustic diatribes and aspersions thrown by the First Lady are not symptomatic of a politician with both tact and magnetism to attract votes.

It has become the norm that every time the woman is close to a microphone, she should referee, rave and rant at party leaders and systems within Zanu PF. This taunt-all-and-sundry political culture does not only diminish her public portrayal, but demeans her and minimises her respectability. Speaking with such a loose tongue and vigorously spreading hate like an unschooled somebody has only characterised the would-be “Zanu PF centre of power” as unfit for any national office.

It is saddens when an ambitious budding leader fails to appreciate policy analysis, formulation and general political processes. Zimbabwe deserves a people-centred government that is honest, capacitated and well-meaning. Cinema and picnic Marie Antoinette(s) cannot do good to an ever-falling nation without electricity, food, jobs, and human rights, to mention but a few.

It is such disgraceful mistakes in choice of leaders that we as a people should never allow if we are to avoid the label and reality of a failed state.

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