DURING the days of ousted late despot Robert Gabriel Mugabe, Zimbabweans were introduced to the sickening politics of cultism — whereby the ruling Zanu PF party, the country and its structures were moulded around the image and likeness of one person.
We were taken into a world of portraits of the Head of State displayed in the foyers and offices of every public and private institution — whereas in normal democracies, the country’s flag is the preferred symbol of patriotism and national identity.
Streets and several infrastructure were named after the sitting President — something weird and virtually unheard of among free nations of the world, as this is a preserve for honouring departed heroes — and party regalia dominated by the huge mugshot of their leader (as opposed to the logo or other symbols).
For those who grew up under such a crooked and warped personality cult environment — and possibly never having experienced any other life outside the borders of Zimbabwe — they may not have noticed anything amiss given such a scenario, which should be regarded with disdain, as thoroughly disgraceful and despicable.
Look at South Africa and no one will ever come across a single street named after President Cyril Ramaphosa or go to the US, there is nothing called Joe Biden Building (unless if it is a personal property, such as Trump Towers and neither will a visit to France bring up an Emmanuel Macron International Airport.
Let us remember that the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport was christened as such, well before the brutal tyrant was toppled from power by his own military — thereafter, replaced, allegedly unconstitutionally, by his long-time protege Emmerson Mnangagwa, in November 2017.
Traditionally, the world over, the naming of streets, infrastructure and monuments is to honour fallen heroes and heroines — in reverence of their gallant and phenomenal contribution to the country, usually
No normal sitting leader would ever demand to be recognised and honoured by the nation and impose himself — since, those who remain behind, after his death, should be allowed to be the judges of his suitability.
In fact, some would be interested to note that — out of the 46 individuals who have been at the helm of the US Presidency, only 15 have monuments named after them.
What is quite disturbing, though, is the apparent frightening acceleration and heightening of this cult politics, after the advent of the Mnangagwa regime.
Not only did he rename a street in the City of Kwekwe after himself, which had previously been named after Mugabe: Talk about kicking a man when he is down, and rubbing it in his face. On top of several others across the country such as Law School at the Midlands State University now bearing his name, the man has taken this personality cultism to a whole new level.
It appears as if every passing day, the nation is introduced to one shadowy and dubious organisation or another, formed for ED (Mnangagwa’s initials) — albeit, under the disguise and pretext of “Economic Development”.
Personally, I have lost count of all these groupings — such as Young Women for ED; Men BelievED; Councillors for ED; and now Teachers for ED!
For a political party with leaders who parade, package and pride themselves as more patriotic than any other Zimbabwean — should we not be witnessing a plethora of groups named after the country, instead?
Understandably, the worrying trend may be broken down to sheer power hunger and even the apparent power struggles within Zanu PF — supposedly between Mnangagwa and his vice, Constantino Chiwenga, who, as then commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), led the coup d’etat against
Although, that may be true — I usually want to dig deeper into issues, and understand the “why” of things.
Indeed, as individuals we do certain things, and make particular decisions — but, there are always much deeper reasons as to the real motive.
For instance, what is pushing Mnangagwa into these overdrive measures to secure his position?
Why does he feel so threatened, either by the possibility of Chiwenga challenging his presidency or even the opposition, led by the Citizens Coalition for Change’s Nelson Chamisa as the 2023 elections fast approach?
Deep down, is he feeling insecure and inadequate as a leader?
Does he believe he has dismally failed as a President, and cannot possibly attract enough support to retain his position in the face of opposition from Chiwenga or Chamisa?
Is he over-compensating for these inadequacies by means of creating shady groups, intended to exaggerate his true support base?
Does the thought of losing power unsettle him, and give him sleepless nights?
Let us be clear — someone who is confident in his abilities, performance, public support and potential in winning elections — has absolutely no reason to feel threatened, neither does he have to resort to underhand means, such as creating parallel structures, premised on a personality cult, within the country and party, neither will there be a need for using intimidation, violence, or capturing of State institutions to disadvantage opponents.
A confident competitor craves and thrives on fair and free contestation — so as to prove that he is truly the best and does not rely on unfairly handicapping his
What we are currently witnessing in Zimbabwe is troubling and does not augur well for the country’s national development.
In fact, the divisions being created by the setting up of these personality cults threaten the very core of our national unity. Zimbabweans desperately need to focus on serving the country — and definitely not a particular
Our goals and interests as Zimbabwe are defined by the collective nation, as opposed to the dreams and ambitions of one person. No truly patriotic Zimbabwean should be putting first the interests of one Zimbabwean — but working together for the broader national agenda.
The last thing Zimbabwe needs right now is a leader who sows seeds of division and disunity.