Of sanctions, elections and political theatrics
Traditionally, where I come from in the semi-arid Midlands district of Gokwe North, when we see birds of a certain feather perambulate our vicinity, we know for sure that seasons are shifting.
Some birds shed their usual feathers in favour of a completely new coat in preparation of an impending new season.
Some begin to sing in different melodies while completely strange birds may begin to appear, all to signify the arrival of a new season.
The Zimbabwean political terrain is one such large stage where a lot of theatrical episodes play out each time a new season is on the horizon.
As the country now enters a new familiar high octane election season which as usual attracts a whole plethora of actors who compete to present their acts before the Zimbabwean audiences, new bird species in all manner of colours and melody are beginning to appear in the skyline.
A sign of the times.
Yet this season is not without its own peculiarities, one of which is the twin evils of elections and renewal of US sanctions, all in the same month.
With the all-important by-elections penciled for March 26, 2022, the country plunges into what promises to be one of the longest yet unpredictable election seasons which is set to stretch into the last quarter of 2023.
The arrival on the scene of a new bird species in form of the Citizens Coalition for Change party has not brought any surprises as the party represents a native bird species that merely shed its old feathers and forgot to change the sound of its singing.
The CCC party strikes as a newer version of the old MDC whose ideology and purpose of existence has not changed with the change of name and colours.
The protagonists remain the same.
Of course, as the saying goes that an old dog cannot be taught new tricks, the players in the new political outfit have long exhausted their bag of tricks.
As their re-entry onto the political theatre was met with curiosity by others, it presented absolutely no excitement for those with full awareness of the characters behind a new script.
It will be expected that the CCC outfit which has all but struggled for funding since its formation a month ago will seek to use this season to attract the sympathies of hitherto erstwhile funders and sponsors from the West who had either grown weary, cold footed or at most snubbed the formation over the confusion that led to and characterised its formation.
The same bunch characters that call themselves by a new name, use the index finger sign, while clothed in new colourful feathers today, have become masters at using the sympathy card which has worked so well before in yet another season under the open palm symbol and colour red.
Then, they alternated self-inflicted violence and the overplayed self-abduction cards to some good effect as these have been used before as justification for renewal of sanctions over the country and further extension of donor funding.
Some would question the repeated mention of sanctions while some may be interested in understanding the relationship between the CCC party and ZDERA.
Yet while CCC would appear or sound like a new bird species on the scene, in reality they remain the same old native bird which merely shed its feathers for a seasonal renewal. The melody of it singing remains familiar.
While the US Embassy in Harare has tried to keep a low profile and feign lack of interest in the project, the truth remains that the project is a replica of the one they formed and funded in September 1999.
Some would wonder why a new outfit called CCC would prostitute themselves to the point of celebrating sanctions which they neither called for nor benefit from.
The explanation would be historical to some extent.
Since the present actors in the CCC outfit became part of the MDC project back then in 1999, they had no nationalist ideological grounding.
Most of them are still confused such that at times they forget that they are now a new formation, because their ideology is still the same as it was on 11 September 1999 when they used to chant, “Mugabe must go”! a slogan which then as now, did not address bread and butter issues.
Now faced with the real need to convince people that indeed it is a worthy cause to support them, the grouping, as usual, exposed to the reality of ideological bankruptcy, desperation for relevance, and a fair chance of yet another electoral defeat, has resorted to tried and tested, yet overplayed tactics to curry for attention and harvest the sympathy vote.
As a result of the latest stunts at Gokwe Centre and Mbizo Stadium in Kwekwe, it is notable that their fortunes are beginning to rise, with the latest confirmation being the return of the US Embassy in Harare to tweeting solidarity messages in support of the CCC party.
The Embassy had hitherto abstained from open support of the CCC for fear of being labelled as political prostitutes, which of course they are in the end.
The US Embassy has been conspicuously absent from the Zimbabwean political scene since the departure if their Ambassador Mr Brian Nichols in August 2021.
This, as would be expected, makes a good season for the CCC family as the biggest migrant bird and funder of the cooperative under the MDC brand has returned to the fold ahead of the twin seasons of elections and sanctions renewal.
However we have to ask, what is the end game for the newly found, or at least, resurrected romance between CCC and the US Embassy?
The end game remains the same for as long as the actors remain the same.
Political theatrics, acting as catalyst for sanctions renewal, are intended to lead to illegal foreign sponsored regime change in Harare.
The erstwhile actors in the CCC, as has been alluded to, lack the mental stamina to come up with new political strategies. Thus a replay of a similar script to the self-abduction and violent drama at rallies.
Inasmuch as they claim to be a new political entity, and in addition to all actors remaining the same as in the old MDC, the ideology hasn’t moved an inch and that they are still stuck in “Mugabe must go” mentality which remains at odds with national development expectations while adding no value to national discourse.
Now somebody needs to understands the difficult position this girl (CCC) finds herself in as she prepares herself for serious courtship, both with the electorate and the donor community.
Nelson Chamisa, as the chief strategist of this new outfit realises the urgency of sanitising and publicising his new image by all means possible as the race for the throne hots up ahead of 2023.
But having launched his outfit exactly three months ahead of a crucial election, he is wide awake and alive to the reality that he cannot practically win a major election against a seasoned 60 year revolutionary party.
Therefore, the current theatrics by the baby party should be understood as a preemptive face saver, where his chances of winning a major election will be as good as ice in hell.
Thus this current build up of election violence is setting a precedence which will justify barbaric reactions after the elections which he is sure to lose.
The current violence, as well as the unwarranted violence against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, is designed and calculated as a reference narrative to justify a planned protest against yet to be conducted elections.
This strategy is a tired trampled path that is sure to lead to the same destination as before.
When this pre-emptive reaction was employed back then on August 1, 2018, it yielded violence, destruction of property and the unfortunate loss of innocent lives.
What else could be expected from a recycled group of personalities who are devoid of solutions to national problems.
Behold, this is a group of opportunistic desperados who have run out of time.
A clique which resembles a desperate and cornered thief who decides to burn the house so that they can use the confusion to escape.
The group squandered a precious rebranding opportunity which they could have used to set things straight by adopting a truly nationalist posture by calling for removal of economic sanctions.
The single biggest existential threat to the nation has been and continues to be our people, acting singularly or in organised groups, who work tirelessly to invite man made calamities.
Selfish opposition leaders have been the bane of Zimbabwe in the post independent era, as it was during the liberation struggle during which a double struggle had to be waged both against internal betrayal and external aggressive hegemony.
What are the chances of peace for the country in the face of such challenges?
It takes an enlightened population to distinguish between those leaders with national interest at heart and those that seek to perpetuate selfish Western imperialism.