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Don’t you believe that the world is in the mess it is in because of politicians? For one, there would be
nothing called ‘outstanding issues.’ This plague that has paralysed life as we know it in Zimbabwe has
become something of a joke but no one is laughing. My sojourn in Zimbabwe while keeping my head
low - which means keeping away from pubs and roads filled with black dogs and heavy vehicles with
drivers of dubious ability - has taught me a few things about politicians and patien
A world without politicians
Frank Talk Column by Lenox Mhlanga
Don’tyou believe thatthe worldisinthe messitis inbecause of politicians?Forone,there wouldbe
nothingcalled‘outstandingissues.’Thisplague thathasparalysedlifeaswe know it in Zimbabwe
has become somethingof ajoke but noone is laughing.MysojourninZimbabwe while keepingmy
headlow - whichmeanskeepingawayfrompubsand roadsfilledwithblackdogsandheavyvehicles
withdriversof dubiousability - hastaughtme a few thingsaboutpoliticiansandpatience.
Firstly,ourpoliticiansare innohurryto get anywhere.Tothem, thingsare fine astheyare and as
longas theyremainthatway the better.Whenitcomesto talkingabouttalking,the cowswill come
home and leave withoutanysolutionbeingreached.Remember,these are the guyswholike the
Theyhave so perfectedthe artof throwingspannersintothe worksit’sa skill nootherprofession - if
one may call it that - has everbeenable tomuster.Whenone’shopesare raisedtothe level where
the lightat the endof the tunnel shinesbrighter,trustthe politiciantoturnthat intoa train bearing
Zimbabweansnowknowthatone nevershouldtake politicianstooseriously.Particularlywhenthey
make promisesfarfromelectiontime andinthe middle of thispiece of work calledthe Government
of National Unityorgnu forshort. Those whoare nature loverswill be aware thata gnuis a very,
veryuglyanimal.It’sa cross betweenawildebeestand the back of a bus. That’sbad enough.
The soonerwe emerge fromthisGNU contraption,the betterforall of us. It’sbecause createdforus
the benefitof doubt; he kindof doubtthat anythinggoodwill come outof thismarriage of
It’sanythingfar fromperfection;the GNUthat is.Andit offersparticipantsall sortsof excuseswhy
thingsare not working.Thatis if youdon’tbuy the sanctionsjive like the restof us.Thatsong has
beensooverplayed;it’ssounds discordanteventothose whohave twoleftfeet.If one thingbe said,
politiciansthrivewherethere is confusionandtheyare the cause of it. The more bamboozledthe
crowd, the more theyare in theirelement.
Take this example.There isanelectionandacandidate losesanelectionfairandsquare.However,
it’snot that simple.He isgivenasecondchance because the otherguydidn’twinenough.The loser
thencreatesconditionsthatmake itnighimpossible toparticipate inthe replyandthenproceedsto
compete againsthimself,ultimatelydeclaringhimself the winnerof a one horse race.
The resultof course becomesbitterlycontestedterritoryuntil the winningloserconcedesto
compromise withthe original winner.Inthe cacophonythatresultsfromthisimbroglio,an
agreementis chiselledoutthatultimatelygivesthe loserthe lion’sshare of the spoils.Confused?
I was intriguedbyanarticle byCarissaKane who made this analysisof the word“Politics.”Itcomes
fromtwo words;the Latin word“Poly”whichmeans“many”and tics whichdescribes“blood-sucking
creatures”whichleadstothe equation:Many+ BloodSuckingCreatures=Politics!Inherargument,
there isnothinglike anhonestpolitician.We have seenoverthe agesmanywell meaning,honest,
straightpeople enterpoliticsonlyfortheirimpeccablerecordtobe tarnishedforever.
Corruptionandpoliticsare inseparabletwins. Theyare joinedatthe hip. Powerbringsmoneyand
women,inthatorder.We all knowwhatmoneydoesto honestpeoplewhoonce theyhave the keys
to the Reserve Bank - The Treasury - all sense goesoutof the window.Iam not declaringthatI
wouldact differentlyif Ifoundmyself inasimilarposition. Youwouldbehavethe same if youfound
yourself exposedtosomuchmoney. Veryprettywomencome throwingthemselvesandthat
It therefore goeswithoutsayingthat nothinggoodcanevercome out of a politician,unless,of
course,it’sfortheirownpersonal good.Thisexplains whypeopleenterpolitics inthe firstplace; for
purelyselfishreasons. Ittakesanominousturn if thatpersonemergesfromthe bushandsuddenly
wieldssomuchpowerthattheycan’t stoppinchingthe themselvestoensure theyare notdreaming.
You knowthe saying;youcan take the guerrillaoutof the bush,butyou can’t take out the bush...
An honestpoliticianisanoxymoron, arhetorical figure of speechinwhichincongruousor
contradictorytermsare combined. Youmusthave heardthe Irishjoke abouttwoblokeswhocome
across a gravesstone written;“Here liesanhonestmananda politician”towhichone of them
quips,“Buttheycan’t do that!” “Do what?”the other one asks.“Bury twopeople inone grave!”
Zimbabwe’sownpolitical turf isreplete withexamples.How manymoonsagowere we promised
heaven,earth, the Zambezi WaterProject, the eradication of poverty,cattle,womenandbeer?And
howabout all those fellow countrymenscatteredonall fourcornersof the globe because of nofault
of theirownexceptthatof politicians?
I knowhowmuch theyall wantto come backhome if it were notfor all those brokenpromises. Time
there waswhenwe inthe diasporawere brandedunpatrioticsell outs.Now theyare cooing about
invitingusbackto participate inrebuildingthe economy?What,withoutanyguarantees?What
aboutall those war vetsstill invadingproductive farmsorthe Affirmative ActionGroupthreatening
to take overlegitimate businesses.
We have beenledupthe gardenpathmore timesthanone can remember;once bitten,twice shy.
More than verbal assurancesare whatare neededhere.The systemthatcausedourmisery isstill
largelyintact.Thingssuchas securityof investment, plentyof apologiesand closure are critical
requirements.Andagain, people shouldbe made to accountfor theirmisdeeds.There are things
one cannot justwishawayno matterhow hard one tries
In fact politiciansshouldbe gratefulthatitisthe earningsfromthe hard sweatof these patriots
outside the borders thatkeptthe economygoingsomiraculously.Now the sonsanddaughtersof
the soil whowere made pariahsare the nomadsof the world whowanderinthe desertof
misfortune and withoutasingle rocktolaytheirheadson.
Make no doubtaboutit that theyyearnto come home.Foreast,west,whereverone is,east,west
home isbest. If onlythe hungry packof wolvesandhyenas whoeagerlyawaitedtheirreturn are
nowa thingof the past. But realityshowsusthatevenwhenthe GNU ismakingoverturesforour
return,officials plottotax ourearningsoverseas; whatcheek!
If I hada choice inthisworld,itwouldbe to banpoliticians. Banishthe profession,if one maygive it
dignityand call it that.Allowtechnocratstorun the show,particularly inZimbabwe.We are already
runningthe worldanywaysothat won’tbe a hardthingto do. We are well educated, intelligent,and
hard working.Mostof us - save for our politicians,of course - are honest.
The onlyblemishisperhapsthe lasttenyearswhenpoliticiansdrove ustothe brink to the extent
that we almosthad to eatgrass to survive.So determined wasZanuPF to take us backto the daysof
the caveman so much that todaywe have urban residentsreceivingelectricitysometimesandfetch
waterfrom holesinthe ground. The people inrural areasare muchbetterbecause theyare usedto
it.You can’t take the bushoutof the guerrilla.
Roads are rarelyusedsince theyare riddledwitha hideousversionof the pothole calledthe ‘drum
hole.’ Urbandwellersthreatentocuteverylivingtree forfirewood.It’sawonderthatpeople have
not beenwipedoutbydisease throughGod’sgrace alone. They workforslave wages(if one islucky)
and are toldto be patient; enoughtowaitto die fromhunger? Infact politiciansshouldcounttheir
blessingsthattheyhave beenallowedtodeceivethe people forsolong.
Withoutpoliticiansthere wouldbe nooutstandingissuestohaggle over. Technocrats wouldget
straightto the crux of the matter.All ourresources,particularlythe diamondswouldbe exploitedin
a transparentwayand benefitusall without ushavingtogo cap inhand to the International
MonetaryFund andthe WorldBank.
In fact we shouldbe lendingthose guysmoneyata premiumif youthinkof it.Don’tletpoliticians
tell youotherwise,aboutourwealthbeinginforeignhandswhenthe onlyhandsinthe till are theirs.
Nowthat we have that cat out of the bag - the one abouttechnocratsrunningthe country - letme
make one thingveryclear.
The technocratsthat I am talkingaboutare notof the dubious variety;youknow partyaligned
bootlickersandpraise singersthatwe all know.Theymustbe squeakycleanwithaclearprofessional
backgroundand experience.Chantingsloganscannotbe takenasbeingqualifiedenough,anymoron
can do that. If the truth be told,war credentials onlyindicate thatsomeonehasadestructive streak.
What we want,nay, demand,is a Governmentof National Hope. A governmentthatwill ensure that
thingsworkand that all the country’swealthisforthe benefitforall itscitizens.The countryhasan
mismanagementof the perfidiouskind.Ibelieve inGodandthat He has good thingsinstore forus.
If onlywe couldplayour part.