Jonathan Moyo, the exiled former Higher Education Minister, has showered praise on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesman George Charamba over his article in yesterday’s Herald under pen name Jamwanda which was devoted to Moyo and former President Robert Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao’s open letter to ZANU-PF..
“This is the first informed, informing, substantive and must read commentary of the open letter of apology to ZanuPF members that @PatrickZhuwao & I wrote on 15 Nov 2022!” Moyo tweeted.
Moyo’s sentiments were despite the fact that Charamba said the open letter was potentially subversive and hostile because it was addressed to no one and might be construed to be an attempt to reach and address ZANU-PF membership through some invisible fly-past the party leadership.
Below is Charamba’s article in full:
@JAMWANDA2 ON SATURDAY: Fluttering the Triple C dovecote
Kikikiki, Professor Jonathan Moyo and Patrick Zhuwao have caused a perfect storm in Chamisa’s already troubled, and inexorably shrinking space. They have written to “comrades” in Zanu PF, a party to which Chamisa and his ilk thought these two had given permanent back.
Right or wrong, time, which resolves all enigmas, will eventually tell. Politics is a game, is it not; self-interests mutate in ever changing milieu, do not they? Above all, they are secured by a correct reading of balance of forces at each decisive stage of power contestation.
It is just that Chamisa and his diminishing company always enjoy licking candy, acutely crave to do to the point of brushing aside nuances which matter in reading complex politics. As they did in 2018, when they believed that the late President Robert Gabriel Mugabe endorsed and voted for them, merely by reading from his bitter disposition.
We know better, whatever his public poise and rebuke then, and however much Triple C may elect to abuse him posthumously.
But let us put what has just happened in proper perspective. There is so much glib reading of the latest developments, including from people one expects to read and know better. The Professor and Cde Patrick Zhuwao addressed their long letter to the general membership of Zanu PF, an amorphous or inchoate magnitude they culled from a highly organic Party still wearing its wartime command character, and run on rigorous guidelines, deeply entrenched traditions and following iron-clad, nay ossified rules and procedures.
They are yet to communicate to, and with, any distinct interlocutors representing this highly hierarchical Party, most especially its leadership. Or write to its structures, thus signalling an irrevocable intention to have their expulsion from the Party revisited, thus paving way to their readmission.
As things stand, their missive — an open letter — has no addressee, not post office address or care-of. First point.
What appears to have prompted their undirected communication is their association with a hashtag campaign which they admit derided Zanu PF, even wishing it shortest route to irreducible perdition. That hashtag campaign was launched a long time ago, and died way far back. In fact its unintended consequence was to remind Zanu PF it was now governing in a digital age, and thus had to reconfigure its campaign and communication strategy.
The injury levied by the hashtag campaign in question, was minimal, certainly now a matter of stale memory. Besides, both writers know the depth of Zanu PF; know the backbone of its support base, which is so far away from ever being touched by the digital nether, itself the milieu and habitat for all hashtags.
True, the hashtag might have been an irritant, but one which Zanu PF had long learnt to live with, even then countermanding it effectively. So, truthfully speaking, the two’s missive regrets and apologies for an offence long forgotten, indeed for an assaulting platform which while sophisticated and trendy once upon a time, had largely become a dying expression of impotent, sanctimonious rage or anger, more so pitted against an elephantine Party which Zanu PF is. Second point.
The two went further. They affirmed the core values of Zanu PF, re-stating that no other party in the country shares the same depth and mission, or exhibits the same ideological conviction and clarity, which the synthetic digital hashtag, by their own admission, can never approximate.
It was a point with sharp double-edges, which they still made, whether out of defeat or foolhardiness. But it also exhibits an uncanny self-awareness which is admirable. Not many noticed this. At an obvious, easy-to-recover level, it repudiated the superficial life and depth which Triple C can only have in its self-deluding digital life.
It also savaged Triple C for its shallow and disappointing leadership and leadership goals, even then expressing disappointment of the two over unmet expectations founded on a hope to instrumentalise Triple C. This bit, our equally shallow media savoured, according it screaming headline status. I don’t need to belabour it.
But there was more, deeper self-recognition in the same: an acute awareness by the two of the inherent deficiency and limitations of the step they have taken through the open letter, and the need to do a lot more than hang their plea and cause on such an innocuous, synthetic construct which hurt no one at its most frenzied, and had since died anyway.
By their admission, purveyed indirectly as a criticism of Triple C, the hashtag weapon was inorganic, ephemeral and had limited reach on Zanu PF’s backbone. It was a weapon of anger and desperation tossed against a profoundly organic formation that Zanu PF is, and has always been, including from their days in the Party.
So a lot more needed to be done, to make a stronger case and impression, than this un-pointed plea to some inchoate body they called “Zanu PF comrades”. Point Three.
There is a small detail they made in their missive, which may have gone unnoticed, yet which is so important enough as to determine the fate of their apology, and possible formal plea SHOULD it ever materialise, in the post-immediate or eventually. I use the word SHOULD advisedly.
At this stage, there is little reason for being exuberantly or generously expectant about this communication, more so given who the writers are. I have already said the communication lacks a post office box number, addressed as it is to some amorphous magnitude they call “Zanu PF Comrades”.
Potentially, it could be viewed as subversive, hostile even, in that it may be construed to be their attempt to reach and address Zanu PF membership through some invisible fly-past the Party leadership.
An attempt to by-pass, sideswipe and relegate the leadership and its structures, in order to supplant that leadership and ensconce themselves as the new men! The open letter would be some dipstick, some probing challenge, to test and gauge their own appeal for a superseding challenge to the leadership newly elected in the just-ended Congress.
This should not surprise the two writers. The context of their communication is fraught, suggestive, including from moves which one of their own, Saviour Kasukuwere, has been trying to do all along. So more remains undone, depending on what their motive and intentions are, in the open letter. Although this might be point four, it is not quite the hidden point I adverted to.
In their open communication, they disclose that even in the heat of their anger and hostility to Zanu PF, they never joined Triple C! Possibly; but they also declared their repudiation of Zanu PF, openly, loudly, which point their letter seeks to justify but without regretting.
That is understandable, given where they are coming from. There is a positive way of interpreting this disclosure of non-membership to Triple C, together with the amorphous addressee they elect as their interlocutor. This might suggest the start of a conversation and personal adjustment they know might be long and drawn out, to the point of meriting graduated disclosure.
Fine! For as long as they know it might also elicit graduated response from the powers-that-be! Maybe the missive in question was a wish and desire to minimally deposit a positive signal and sentiment, an indication of intention to turn right, figuratively!
They may have wanted this cautious sentiment to gain general political notice, possibly to trigger responses on which to build or change course, depending on ultimate goal. All this assumes a purity of intention, not some Machiavellian move and calculation.
Which might suggest several things, only two of which I will tackle. First, that the two are flying the kite, hoping to draw fire from which to determine positions, and gauge Zanu PF reaction. Second, that they are not anxious for progression any time soon, beyond just registering the recovery and turnaround to a favourable disposition and sentiment.
Or both, out of which will emerge their next step, whether before or after 2023. I can see what would have been or still is impolitic to do. They could not have made this letter just ahead of Congress, without raising Zanu PF’s gigantic ire or charge of opportunism.
Some of the delegates who attended the Zanu PF 7th National People’s Congress
They cannot hurry now, without being accused of seeking to opportunistically steal in, ahead of 2023, which they know is already in Zanu PF’s bag. Equally, they cannot be indifferent in the run-up to 2023, without laying themselves open to charges of materialising in Zanu PF at a time of least need.
It is a delicate balancing act, one which they hope to play well, depending on what their real intention is. But they are up against a palpable unwillingness to suspend disbelief, on the part of Zanu PF. It is their burden to turn this around, assuming there is a genuine wish to rejoin.
The bigger part is their disavowal of Triple C, or any other party radically opposed to Zanu PF’s core values whose reverence they protest they never abandoned. It is public knowledge that their group, going under the moniker G-40, hoped Chamisa would win in 2018.
Or may be not! Hoped President Mnangagwa would not win, to create some outcome in which President Mnangagwa would either not feature at all in the post-2018 elections, or if he did, would feature a clipped and legless duck. And where Zanu PF would be retained with such attenuated or degraded margin, as to recall 2008.
The hope was a second GNU. It is not hard to understand why. A GNU would have given G-40 some beachhead for returning into the body-politic, thus enabling it to renegotiate a favourable return, en bloc. Such a hung result, they hoped, would invite the involvement of a second Thabo Mbeki.
I am not being idle; those who know, will know! Of course that did not happen, dashing G-40 hopes, even triggering reckless anger, including hobnobbing with Chamisa and trying to fortify his position, until it sagged beyond help.
Let me end by highlighting a few pertinent environmentals. Prior to the letter, Professor Moyo had done a commemorative tweet, thanking former First Lady, Amai Mugabe, for saving him and his colleagues in November 2017. Not many people noticed it.
Or found reason to link it to what then followed. We hope some day the Professor – every inch a complex political creature – will explain himself and this pregnant sequencing and placement of messages. I have my interpretation; I prefer to keep it to myself, for now!
The apology in open letter form came around the Anniversary of Operation Restore Legacy. Again, about the same time, Tyson Kasukuwere, the two men’s cohort, was busy bantering, uneasily so, if you ask me, with Twitter friends on how “Christmas” arrived on the same day in 2017!
He would repeat the same expression a few days later, at a virtual discussion moderated by Ibbo Joseph, better known as Dr Ibbotson Mandaza. One would have hoped that instead of an apology, the time would have been used to refresh bitterness over events of November 2017.
Yet, no, they picked on this pregnant time to self-pity or openly conciliate! That gave their apology a profound resonance, possibly explaining why some think the two comrades are slowly wending their way back to Zanu PF.
There was also another environmental. The Saturday before the missive, President Mnangagwa had met with Zimbabwe’s corps of emissaries to various missions in countries with which the Second Republic has diplomatic relations. In that corps were new appointments, among them General Ambrose Mutinhiri, a veteran commander of our war of liberation. After 2017, he was shuttled to lead a new Party which many saw as late President Mugabe’s construct.
This was the New Patriotic Front, or something like that. It had a very short life span, at the very least with General Mutinhiri at its helm. He renounced membership, and came back to Zanu PF. The two writers must have known about this latest appointment of the General.
Is the letter representative of all remnant G-40 members? I doubt or maybe, depending on what motive you ascribe its writing. Politics involves lets of dissembling, which is why there always is a discrepancy between appearance and reality, words and meaning.
Before anyone asked him, Walter Mzembi made a scornful tweet: something like a tired and collapsed ox never wakes up to pull the plough, however hard you beat or twist its tail. It was a true trope from a villager, upon whom the lustre of urbanity is but a faint gloss.
Formally asked by The Herald, he cryptically replayed the same rustic imagery: every cow moos for itself! Of course he did not remember there are ways to make a cow moo, including breaking it from the rest of the herd. Or penning its calf!
Mzembi is too deeply sucked into Chamisa’s Triple C to recant or step back. My sense is he will throw his lot with Chamisa, genuinely, to then sink with him, irretrievably. And Tyson waBantu? Two possibilities, both of which will brew failure for him in 2023. He may be behind Prof Moyo and Zhuwao’s dissembling moves, if these two are not genuine, in which case he will sink with them.
Or he may break ranks with the duo, to go it alone with his self-arsonist friend, Slybeth Msengezi and renegades from erstwhile Zanu PF Youth League, who hurriedly created a poor clone of Malema’s EFF, calling it Third Way. They will sink.
Very interesting times in the world of humans; donkeys don’t run for elections, only for females to increase their kind! We can’t be beaten by humans who now number 8 billion. So, as Shakespeare’s Lear will say, let copulation thrive.