Zimbabwe is certainly facing an election with a difference. We have witnessed and heard some unusual slogans that, in a nutshell, calls into question the character of the country’s leadership.
Why is President Emmerson Mnangagwa allowing questionable characters to be close to him? How does he justify some despicable utterances and behaviours in his name?
On Wednesday this week, Passion Java could be heard telling bemused attendees about ‘Prophets4ED, n’anga4ED, Mbavha4ED, Varoyi4ED’ while the Presidents sat glumly in his chair.
Fake prophets, witchdoctors, thieves and witches are now a presidential staple? Who knew Zimbabwe’s leadership could descend so low? Some of the lowest scum of the earth have found an ally in our leader?
One party leader tried to explain away the ridiculousness of the whole saga as ‘political banter’ while another claimed they were not aware that Java would say such stuff. Even by Zanu PF’s standards, these have been curious times. The previous weekend, former Defence minister and Zanu PF Council of Elders chairperson Sydney Sekeramayi coined his own slogan which did not sit down well with the party leadership. “Pasinembavha (down with thieves!)” he shouted at the Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe star rally.
Java’s sloganeering antics at the Zimbabwe Grounds rally on Wednesday explain why the ruling party supporters were perplexed by the Sekeramayi call: the thieves and their ilk have already pledged loyalty to the President. Who is Sekeramayi to be denouncing them? Sekeramayi was once seen as a possible successor to the late former President Robert Mugabe. However, he fell off the party’s succession matrix following the November 2017 coup which saw Mnangagwa grab leadership of both the party and government.
His chant of ‘pamberi nekuhwina maelections, pasinembavha (Forward with election victories, down with thieves),” drew mixed response from a very uncomfortable crowd. This follows the ruling party’s glorification of convicted rapist Bobby Makaza — who coined the ‘Mnangagwa Huchi’ slogan — at its presidential rally in Mutawatawa over the weekend.
Makaza who was convicted in 2019 of raping a 10-year old girl the year before but was released from prison through an amnesty order this year.
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Prison authorities defended the move to free Makaza after serving five years of a 16-year custodial sentence.
NewsDay reported on Monday that ruling Zanu PF party political commissar Mike Bimha announced that the party’s youth secretary Tinoda Machakaire was building a house for the ex-convict. Makaza also walked away with US$700 in cash after Machakaire gave him US$500 while other party members chipped in with US$200. The actions of the ruling party and its officials in the run up to this election, have told us more about their personalities, and the kind of people leading the country than any campaign material or manifesto ever could.