The more things...

HARARE - The last time I wrote a column for the Daily News was before I was promoted to editor of the Daily News On Sunday in 2003…10 years ago.

Most people devoted to the unfolding history in their country will remember those days…when there was tension between the media and the government…as there still is today.

Frankly, I can not imagine a smooth ride for any of us not in the government media with Jonathan Moyo back at the helm of the ministry of Information. I have never likened him to Goebbels and I am not about to now. But….

You might say this confirms that the more things change, the more they remain the same.

Zimbabwe is again tense today, as it was during those years. I know some people will insist that the tension was caused by people who would not “listen” to what is euphemistically called “the voice of reason” — that portion of society which insists that we must sing from the same hymn book, the disciples of the one-party doctrine.

This almost “decrees” that a nation must be united against “the enemy”, by following the political dictates of one group of people. In this political formula, any group of people which opposes this system is treated as an enemy of the State — they are alleged to be against everything that the nation stands for — sell-outs, lackeys of the West or nhunzvatunzva, a word I first heard used by the late George Nyandoro, during the heyday of the ANC.

Moreover, such people are tagged as malleable because they follow the advice of foreigners who have evil designs on the future of the country.

In other words, their campaign is to oppose everything that the first group presents as “the only path” for the nation to take, supposedly because it behooves all citizens to support this one doctrine propounded by this one leader and this one party — because it promises the people the path to a political Nirvana, in which all people will be provided with the wherewithal to develop themselves and  their families to a level unparalleled in the history of the country.

All this has been described, with sizzling pride, by some famous (?) people as “the dictatorship of the proletariat”.

The results of the July 31 elections, in which the “party yeropa” (as its more fanatical members call it) knocked out the stuffing out of the opposition right, left,  and  centre, confirmed, for many of us, one thing.

This was the determination by Zanu PF to inflict on this country the one-party State which was thrown out of kilter by the Movement for Democratic Change ( MDC) in 2000.

July 31 was planned as meticulously as all such evil plans are, to throw that opposition to the dust heap of history for an eternity.  

It would be absolutely incredible if all the reports, rumours and so-called “documented evidence” of chicanery before, during and after the elections turned out to be absolute hogwash. Something unpleasant — to put it mildly — did happen and it was not, by any stretch of the imagination, an election in which the winner won in a fair and square “squeaky clean”  exercise.

Someone belonging to the band of observers who seemed to have been briefed in their task by a tough breed of apparatchiks at “Shake Shake” building put it this way: the opposition  should appreciate that losing an election is not abnormal — certainly not the end of the world.

What was abnormal was to “whine and whine” about it long after the fact.

The suggestion was that all citizens should take the results calmly — people would win, but others must lose. The losers were not to whine, not just because they had lost, but had to accept the results because it was important for the nation not to plunge into turmoil because the losers would not accept defeat — for any reason.

A long time ago, again an election in this self-same Zimbabwe, a woman lost an election to this same ruling party.

She smelt a rat and went hammer and tongs against the result — and had it overturned by the courts.

This was Margaret Dongo, a war veteran and former Zanu PF MP, for whom I have always had the greatest respect.

She is now politically very quiet, but will remain in the memories of all who cherish real democracy and despise the notion that dissent is evil or “un-proletariat”.

She beat her former party at their own game in a 1985 by-election and lived to tell the tale.

Comments (2)

I read everything by Mr. Saidi, everything. My humble request is that, please sir can you write a book on your experience as a journalist. From the pre-1980 period, to the 1980-2000 period and then the post-2000 period. Since journalists do not operate in a vacuum you infuse the book with the political economy changes in Zimbabawe and the region if necessary. Please sir, future generations will need to learn from such history and from you.

Tino - 14 September 2013

Saidi you seem not to be loyal to your country.If you know the western world they support there leaders no matter what. They will never call names to there leaders. They criticise in a constructive manner. You demonise your political leaders like you live in another land. Whom would you like to please??????????????

simon - 14 September 2013

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