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A world without politicians

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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

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A world without politicians

  1. 1. 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 soundof theirownvoices. 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 rightat you. 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 inconvenience. 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,
  2. 2. 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 invariablyleadstoone’sdownfallBill Clintonstyle. 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... youfinishityourself. 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!
  3. 3. 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. Comrade Munangagwarecentlyconfessedasmuch. What we want,nay, demand,is a Governmentof National Hope. A governmentthatwill ensure that thingsworkand that all the country’swealthisforthe benefitforall itscitizens.The countryhasan admirable infrastructurethathasbeenallowedtocrumble,notthroughsanctions,butrather mismanagementof the perfidiouskind.Ibelieve inGodandthat He has good thingsinstore forus. If onlywe couldplayour part. Ends