Of Zim regime’s crookedness and Western puppets

This is what we witness daily in Zimbabwe, where the Zanu PF regime has become a circus and a laughing stock in the eyes of the world. Surely, how can these people be taken seriously!

THERE are things on this planet which are just plainly bizarre, ridiculous and even comical.

However, the serious implications of some of these things stop people like myself from cracking our ribs with laughter.

What are we to say about a ruling establishment whose only defence — when exposed or held to account for its misdeeds and misdemeanours — is to immediately label those demanding accountability as “puppets of the West”?

It does not matter what the accusation is — the response is always the same … “puppets of the West”. Never do they ever confront each accusation on its own merit and appropriately respond to the charge.

This is what we witness daily in Zimbabwe, where the Zanu PF regime has become a circus and a laughing stock in the eyes of the world. Surely, how can these people be taken seriously!

They may be caught red-handed with their hands in the cookie jar while dastardly looting our mineral resources — as was alleged in the Al Jazeera’s Gold Mafia documentary — but, alas, all those alarmed by this daylight massive looting are labelled “puppets of the West”.

Instead of addressing these damning revelations — by instituting sincere investigations and bringing those involved to book — Zimbabwe’s ruling elite resorts to its usual tired lame accusation: “Puppets of the West” and government proceeds to turn a blind eye.

Zimbabwe’s ludicrous behaviour is legendary.

Most recently, following last month’s harmonised elections — several regional, continental and international election observer missions declared the polls as falling far short of acceptable standards for free, fair and credible elections.

The plebiscite was roundly condemned as failing to meet Zimbabwe’s own Constitution and electoral law provisions, as well as regional and international guidelines governing democratic elections.

Yet, alas, as has become the norm, the Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa administration elected to brand these election observers “puppets of the West”! In fact, as we speak there is a huge diplomatic tiff between Zimbabwe and Zambia, largely due to the former’s rabid and hysterical attack on the latter. Some senior Zanu PF and government officials have allegedly gone to the extent of threatening the life of the northern neighbour’s president Hakainde Hichilema.

All this on account of Zambia being the current chair of the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) Troika on Politics, Defence and Security and that Hichilema appointed the Sadc Election Observer Mission head Nevers Mumba to observe Zimbabwe’s shambolic elections and produced an adverse report, which riled Harare.

This, notwithstanding the fact that all the irregularities, flagrant violations of the law and stifling of democratic space had been there for all to see — leading to writers like myself flagging these issues well before the election observers had even penned their reports.

Not once did the Zanu PF regime ever bother to, at the very least, provide a plausible explanation or response to the issues raised in these reports to give its side of the story. The only response has been one undiplomatic and embarrassing attack after another — which quite frankly, border on savagery and barbarism. All this is premised on one narrative: Zambian officials are “puppets of the West”.

As Zimbabweans, we are now all too familiar with these baseless and bizarre accusations — to which, tragically, we have become accustomed to.

Even when ordinary citizens complain over horrendous mistreatment and gross abuse of human rights at the hands of the ruling establishment, the only response to these allegations has been: “Puppets of the West”.

When those affected by the deplorable state in our healthcare facilities expose the shameful lack of essential medication, functional cancer machines, ambulances and adequate surgical equipment — they are all branded “puppets of the West”.

When teachers complain, not only about the miserable salaries they are receiving, but also the poor standards in our educational institutions — characterised by a shortage of basics learning materials, more so in rural areas — they are classified as “puppets of the West”.

When the government prints hordes of Zimdollars to buy hard currency on the black market, anyone who exposes these shenanigans is branded a “puppet of the West”.

In all these instances, never do those in power ever attempt to directly address the concerns raised.

How can the government be taken seriously, under such circumstances? Who, in their right mind, can believe a government and ruling party which only has one answer to every accusation?

It is most unfortunate that governments are seldom diagnosed as insane. Surely, how would anyone psychologically classify a person who cannot defend himself using intellect — but simply resorts to the same old statement over and over again?

If the “puppet of the West” tag does not seem enough, “agent of regime change” is curiously added to the mix. This is the height of absurdity!

It is sad that the whole essence of democracy is constant “regime change” is completely lost to Zanu PF, yet we go for elections every five years to give Zimbabweans the opportunity to change the regime in power, if they so desire.

As such, seeking to demonise “regime change” is a sick attempt at demonising democracy itself. I cannot think of a proper way of describing the undeniable craziness festering in our nation.

Nevertheless, what this proves is that all these accusations being directed at the Zanu PF regime hold water and are credible and the ruling elite cannot find any plausible defence.

How can they defend the indefensible or justify the unjustifiable?

Not everything under the sun can be successfully spinned — even by the greatest spin doctors. That is why the best they can do is to come up with the same old and tired line: “Puppets of the West”.

What else can they say?

Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author and speaker. He writes here in his personal capacity.

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