WATCH: Whither Zimbabwe's Nationalist Project

WATCH: Whither Zimbabwe's Nationalist Project
Published: 01 December 2017 (379 Views)
Good Evening everyone, I'm very pleased to have this opportunity to share my ideas and views with you on the state of the Nationalist project in Zimbabwe. As I prepare to make my remarks I note that it is just after quarter to 6 (5:45). When I was invited I was told it would be from 5 pm. I draw your attention to this fact because some of us often run the risk of speaking for too long but on this occasion if it appears that I have done so it will because we have started late [laughter].

Otherwise, it's really a pleasure to be back at SAPES and as Dr Mandaza has indicated, when I do so it is always a homecoming of some sort because this has been the place of ideas in our country for the better part of the independence period and some of us started our careers as young academics here. I'm grateful that I have today the opportunity in different circumstances to come back and, one consideration that makes me quite happy and proud to have this opportunity is because in the context of the scheme of things these days in our country, SAPES is arguably the only place where ideas are still debated in some objective, dispassionate manner. This because, the other platforms in civil society, especially the newspapers both in the public and private media have been captured by political interests and in the process have lost the objectivity that is necessary to debate often contentious public issues. It is to the credit of SAPES, that it continues to provide this platform and it's something that I appreciate even though I'm not coming from academia. I'm based elsewhere [distant chatter].

When I accepted this invitation, I was fully aware of the many public capacities that I have as pointed out in the introduction. I am the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, I am also a Member of Parliament for Tsholotsho North, a member of the Zanu PF Politburo and I'm also a student at the University of Zimbabwe studying law. So, I think it is relevant to ask in which capacity am I speaking. For the avoidance of doubt especially because we do have members of the Press here, I am speaking as Jonathan Moyo.

One reason why I accepted this invitation is that there has been, over the last two or so months, quite some chatter in certain political circles that some of us in general and myself in particular are unusually quiet when a lot of things are happening and that quietness has been interpreted in all sorts of ways in the whispering community to say that I'm quiet because I am supposed to be a member of the so-called G40. I'm alleged to be a member and in some circles, I'm alleged to be the founder or co-founder and the chatter is that somehow the so-called G40 has been crushed, defeated, silenced; and that is why I am quiet. So, for some of us you cannot be busy and concentrate on what you will be doing and say less about what is happening, observe, study it, without commenting and if you do those things then, you risk sending a message that whatever is alleged to be your political faction has been silenced. Well, I think this is a very good opportunity to end the silence [applause & laughter], because of the importance of the topic we are debating this evening and also because of my tendency when I'm participating in such forums, dealing with such topics, to talk too much but respecting the discipline that the moderator has imposed on us. I am going to try at least for this part of the interaction to stick to the time allocated to me and I have to alert you that I have been given one and half hours (1 hour 30 minutes) [laughter]. To do that and do justice to the topic, I will try and be disciplined and keep to my text as much as is reasonably possible.

So, Whither the Nationalist Project in Zimbabwe? I propose to deal with this in three ways. I will start by briefly defining the Nationalist Project and I will do this by presenting a schematic outline which I will use to identify the key features of the Nationalist Project. And then I will give an outline of my reading of the balance of forces currently in the country and how these relate to the Nationalist Project as I see it. And then I will make an assessment of the current and emerging balance of forces ahead of the 2018 election against the backdrop of what I consider to be the main features of the Nationalist Project. In my view, there are seven important features of the Nationalist Project.
In general terms, the Nationalist Project is a summation of the values, principles and aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe going back to the Pre-Independence period. And these values and aspirations define in my view Zimbabwe's permanent interests. Every society has its permanent interest, those fundamental and enduring issues, in this case principles that tie different generations, past, present and future. Our colleagues in Europe like talking about the European Project. Well, we have the Nationalist Project. This is what has defined not only our state politics but also who we are as a people in terms of our values and ideals, how we see ourselves. What is fortunate and helpful in this connection, is that our new Constitution provides a useful starting point of defining and understanding the Nationalist Project and this is done in Section 3 paragraph (1) subparagraph (i): "recognition of and respect for the liberation struggle".

I think, this is quite significant, that 37 years after our independence, we are now looking at this issue with a Constitution which in fact recognises the foundation of the Nationalist Project. It's unfortunate that this is not part of the everyday discourse but yet it is a fundamental defining feature of our Republic because Section 3 of the Constitution deals with Zimbabwe's founding values and principles. And a key founding value and principle of our Republic is recognition of and respect for the liberation struggle, that sums up the basis of the seven key features of the Nationalist Project which I am going to share with you. What I want to underscore at this point is the fact that, the
Nationalist Project is historically and constitutionally the fulfilment and materialisation of the values and ideals of the people of Zimbabwe which, in policy terms, are their aspirations and these aspirations as I have indicated are enduring, permanent aspirations. Each generation makes its mark, defines, situates itself in relation to those aspirations.

In ideological terms, these aspirations are National Questions; these seven features of the Nationalist Project are National Questions, questions that every political player whether state, civil or market should engage in one way or another. Now, I'm going to quickly sort of expose this, outline them with a view just to indicate why each one is important and I'm sure that should give rise to a discussion and debate if there are matters arising there from.

The First and most fundamental people's aspiration or key feature of the Nationalist Project is National Unity. The Question of National Unity, and the Unity of the people of Zimbabwe. This is an aspiration that was important during the liberation struggle, bringing the liberation forces together and after independence. I should mention that we do have also an advantage to look at this question now because our new Constitution has given expression to this aspiration by declaring that Zimbabwe is a unitary State, democratic and sovereign Republic which in Nationalist terms is a Developmental State. The question of National Unity is very important because it is about cultivating among Zimbabweans a sense of common belonging, that we have a shared heritage and a shared destiny as the people of Zimbabwe.

This is very important because as I said these features are permanent, they are enduring. It remains to be asked whether 37 years after independence, we have succeeded in developing a common understanding or a common heritage and a common sense of belonging as Zimbabweans. And we have also had quite a number of experiences which have challenged this notion.

It can be argued that one of the weaknesses of our state politics is that in fact, Zimbabweans don't express themselves in common or collective terms. This is especially so for those who have organized their concerns into political action or political parties or civil society organizations and so forth. You will find that some people are talking about a new Zimbabwe and, some are refusing to find their values and concerns within a common platform. What I think is very important about this is that, we need to find a lasting model or system for consolidating the people's powers. The people's power is consolidated through a kind of a shared existence, one that produces a common purpose.

Second, is the Economic Question about the wealth of the nation. I think, as far as this question is concerned, most people will agree that the state exists to provide an enabling environment for the creation of the wealth of the nation. It is not by accident that Adam Smith's seminal work is the Wealth of Nations. We have to ask that question in relation to our own country. What is important from the standpoint of the Nationalist Project is that the Wealth of the Nation is defined by the Land and the Natural Resources on the land and under the land, that is the basis of the Wealth of our Nation in material terms. Otherwise the person or individual and the people, become the critical part of that relationship in the creation of the Wealth of the Nation. What is significant is the fact that our land and our natural resources were stolen (if you want) or, certainly dispossessed from our indigenous ancestors and that the dispossession agenda has been a continuous process of dispossessing the indigenous people of their resources, even within the context of our independence, (we continue to lose our resources) especially those that are under the land and even some that are on the land.

Now, the Nationalist mantra that Land is the Economy and the Economy is Land is a fundamental and perennial aspiration of the people in relation to this question, the Economic Question. From where I sit, quite a lot has been done to address this question although still a lot more remains to be done. Just to give you an indication that is very important in my view and one which also indicates the kind of grounded politics that we have, 1, 8 million households in this country depend on land; their livelihood and food security depend on land and this 1, 8 million households is like about nine million people.

Often, when I talk to our colleagues in the other parties that we are difficult to dislodge and encourage them to believe the afro-barometer type of surveys, they say No, look how can anyone support you given this kind of State of the Economy and so forth? We tell them it's because we are actually organically linked with these 1,8 million households, these are the ones we work with. Just this season we gave, through the Presidential Input Scheme Support, to 1,6 million households agricultural inputs. And we relate to them every day, we don't have to (hashtag) them, [laughter]we don't have to telephone them, we interact with them and say, here is your 20kg of inputs and ask how are you doing? In a season like this one, when the heavens open, the connections become real with these people.

What is important to emphasise in this regard, is the fact that the historic Land Reform that speaks to this Economic Question in terms of an enduring permanent interest has now been enshrined under Chapter 16 of the new Constitution. The implications are really (really) [emphasis] far reaching, the implications of the fact that, that exercise that some people wanted to dismiss as "hondo yeminda" and this and that, is now in the Constitution and is protected.
So, a key feature of the Nationalist Project has found constitutional expression and in terms of this Economic Question its only one piece that is remaining and that is the Indigenisation piece.

Third, is the Equality Question, which was a key grievance of the Nationalist Movement in general but especially for race, gender and even age groups, the youth. It is also notable (as you will see from a Nationalist point of view), we take full claim of the fundamental Bill of Rights issues that are in our new Constitution which are directly a result of the Nationalist Project and which were key grievances of the Independence Movement and now have found not just protection but permanency in our Constitution. So, those issues that are under Section 56 of the new Constitution which says: "All persons are equal before the law and have the right to equal protection and benefit of the law"; [continuation] speak to a fundamental pillar of the Nationalist Project and the equality provision is quite revolutionary. The implications will become clear in the fulness of time and I want to remind you that I am talking about permanent values.

I'm talking about permanent aspirations which we can locate in the Liberation Struggle or what the Liberation Struggle was fought for: the values and ideals of the Liberation Struggle.

Fourth, is the Democracy Question, which is based on the principle that those who govern must have the consent of those whom they govern. Central to this question, is the issue about the means for getting into power or for getting power. A very big problem that we see in our country, and which we have seen in other countries that were a product of the liberation movement, has to do with this question, The Democracy Question. There are some in our country who think that democracy became a major state issue only in 2000 and who think that they are fighting a new liberation war because they are talking about democracy and so forth. But this is not historically correct because the Liberation Struggle was a struggle for democracy. It was about democracy. Those who participated in it or those who are now reading about it will be familiar or will encounter the term: NIBMAR: No Independence Before Majority Rule!

This was the clarion call of the Nationalist Movement. And in essence, this demand was about the Right to Vote which is now, for the first time since Independence, enshrined under Section 67(3) of the new Constitution. It was not under the Lancaster Constitution. I can see some people think they can use it and start some sort of Class Action in the courts. We shall see. But of course it's a right to vote that is justiciable, though in relation to other rights that are in the Constitution. The Right to Vote is a major achievement of the Nationalist Project; it is a foundation, a pillar of that project.

Fifth, is the Question of Order and Stability. The Nationalist Project in Zimbabwe has not escaped the postcolonial challenge of order and stability arising from a range of sources including destabilisation by our
erstwhile colonisers and ethnic strife and other political divisions.

Zimbabwe went through such strife in the first seven years of its Independence, during the Gukurahundi period. This was resolved under the Unity Accord whose values and ideals are today under threat in very serious ways and with quite a lot of implications on the Nationalist Project, in terms of what needs to be done to certainly avoid divisions, strife but maintain order and stability, which is a major feature of our country especially since 1987. There are people who want to engage in this debate as to whether Zimbabwe is a fragile state or not. But fragile states are not stable, they don't have order. One country that has stood out certainly in this part of the world in terms of order and stability is Zimbabwe.

Now, Sixth is the Question of Sovereignty, our friends at ZBC like saying that this is soverenity [wrong pronunciation] but it is sovereignty [laughter].

This is about Zimbabwe's right to make its own domestic and foreign policies in accordance with its obligations, responsibilities and the discharge of the power of the people. So, Sovereignty, the independence, the self determination of our Republic is in fact the glue of the Nationalist Project, the exercise of sovereignty. It is amazing to me that we have people who actually have problems with this and yet they want to be part of the state; they want to be part of the decision-making class of the State. Well, what is fundamental in the making of the decisions of the State whether it's about domestic policies or foreign policy is sovereignty. This is about putting Zimbabwe First. Sovereignty is not for individuals, it's for the State, and it's for all of us. So, it's not only Donald Trump putting his country first, it's us as well.
Then, the last one, the last important feature is the Skills Question.

Seventh, is the Question of Skills. A lot of people realise that our Nationalist leadership at Independence and [Comments on the Moderator] on this one my brother Ibbo had a lot to do with it, he put quite some effort and resources find out what skills our country had at Independence and then what skills were needed to build and develop our country. We had a Manpower Survey in 1982 and as a result we have one of the best systems of education, certainly in this part of the world but in fact internationally. We in Higher Education, are proud of the fact that the 2-5-2 Model of developing and training teachers in our country, which is responsible or is one of the major reasons why we have maintained, in fact developed since Independence and maintained, I know some of you think this is being challenged now, a very high literacy rate is because of that Model which is being copied by other countries including in Europe.

This is a skills question: investing in developing skills through higher and tertiary education. For the better part of our independence period, we have focused on the Tertiary side of things and this is why we have produced the best artisans you can find in this part of the world. And now we are consolidating that achievement by focusing on building high-end skills at our Universities. Without skills, a country cannot develop. The difference between the capacities and capabilities of countries, has to do with the competencies of those countries and those competencies are a factor of skills. And this is a permanent issue, it will not change and it's the one that needs to be given priority.

Now, given the foregoing, what is the current balance of political forces? And, how do they relate to these features of the Nationalist Project?

Broadly speaking, there are currently three notable political forces at play in Zimbabwe: Within Zanu PF there are the following two: [notifies audience] And just to warn people, I'm going to use defining terms that make sense to me [laughter]. So, there are two within Zanu PF:
(i) Successionists who are a minority in the Party but who are very vocal and are now openly backing Vice President Mnangagwa to succeed President Mugabe and they would like to see this happening before the next harmonised elections and they see the Vice President as the Party's Presidential Candidate in 2018. Now, this is a reality, everybody is writing about it, everybody is talking about it but most people and certainly in the ruling party do so through whispers, they are not openly talking about what is in fact openly happening [laughter] and I don't know what is that in political science, the inability to discuss what is in front of you [more laughter].
(ii) Loyalists (when I first mentioned this people thought I was defining myself as a loyalist).

i Well, this is the poverty of public discourse in Zimbabwe, that when you use a term and it is a very good term your detractors start getting worried and start saying you are not a loyalist yourself and they remind you of your history and so forth [laughter]. Well, I mean, we go to school, study political science in order to get tools for analysing what is before us, the public, what it means to inform others, to engage with others not to describe ourselves [more laughter]. Now, the loyalists in my view are the silent majority in the Party; who support President Mugabe to serve his full term and to be the Party's candidate in the forthcoming elections in accordance with the Party's Constitution.
Now, for the sake of a complete perspective, I should note that, outside Zanu PF, there's some political activity going in opposition ranks and they seem to be preoccupied with building a coalition of the weak in the hope of getting a chance, however slim as it appears now, of winning the next election. This is very important!

The opposition seems to be concerned that it has not succeeded to win an election for the presidency in particular and they have all sorts of reasons they give. But whatever those reasons, their conclusion is that the best chance for them to win is by coming together, this is them who are saying this. We can see through their actions. The result is, they have not produced anything. One day it looks like it's yes, they have succeeded the next day no, they don't know how to do this. But they have signalled that this is the most important thing for them to do and so, we are all watching and they are likely to spend all the time until the nomination court sits; to try to build that coalition but it is about election. It is very different from the Zanu PF situation where it is about political power, it is about the real business of the State, which is political power.

So, in this schematic outline I'm sharing with you, for purposes of discussion, I'm excluding the opposition ranks and I'm doing so because I'm persuaded by the various narratives out there; including surveys which indicate that the opposition is not going to do well in 2018. If you want during the discussion, I can actually read you narratives from the prominent leaders of the opposition position like Tendai Biti, for example, saying "the game is over this is for Zanu PF. Let's see what will come maybe in 2023". But suffice it to observe that the major weakness of opposition politics in Zimbabwe in my view is that they are not rooted, framed [clears throat]

I spoke of the opposition and I almost lost my voice [laughter] [Continuation] they are not rooted, framed or cast in the Nationalist Project. They are not from that tradition, in fact they do a lot to distance themselves from the Nationalist Project and they come up with notions of a new Zimbabwe or a different Zimbabwe which is not rooted in the Nationalist Project. In my view that is a fatal weakness because the majority of Zimbabweans are historically, culturally, traditionally, sociologically, spiritually, politically and indeed existentially rooted in the Nationalist Project. They are a product of that project. That's how we have become Zimbabwe and we have become Zimbabweans.

I therefore, think that the state of fatal paralysis currently gripping the opposition means that the question Whither Zimbabwe's Nationalist Project is best examined and answered only with reference to the balance of political forces in Zanu PF.

I don't think there's any rational person in Zimbabwe who is now not aware that if you do that, if you take that position, you then must now come to terms with the so-called Lacoste or Team Lacoste which is presenting itself in general and its candidate, VP Mnangagwa in particular, as a shoo-in. If you read things, talk to people analyse their behaviour the message is that the balance of forces have shifted and that's what we are going to see going forward is the assumption of power by Team Lacoste. And if you go to the braais (where they have their braais) because these are masters of whispers you will find them quiet excited saying "Tapinda Tapinda" [laughter], this is their new song and their refrain when you start developing an interest "Tapinda Tapinda" what are they talking about? Then they say "Mudhara Achauya" [laughter].

The whisper from this earlier in the year, was (especially this year) that "something was going to happen in April". If you have been listening to the whispers, what was going to happen or what that something was, of course remained a mystery. But in March, something started happening, the heat was turned on the Zanu PF National Commissar, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere, who faced dubious votes of no confidence under the absurd claims that he had set up parallel structures to topple President Mugabe. This was real and it was pushed with vigour and with the seriousness that caused observers and even members of the party to believe that something was happening and this was the trigger point. It was supposed to happen in a matter of days but it became prolonged such that it took eight weeks (two months) and as it developed, it assumed what the whispers started saying or describing as the Momentum.

In fact, as we sit here we are somewhere along the Momentum (the build-up or surge) because a momentum or a build-up or a surge must lead to something.

In any event, it is important to assess the so-called Team Lacoste and its candidate against the seven features of the Nationalist Project outlined in this discussion. This we cannot afford not to do, it's in front of you, so you must ask the question: This thing in front of me, how does it measure up to the seven features of the Nationalist Project? It's very important for those of us certainly, who are in the broad nationalist movement, not only just members of Zanu PF but others such as my brothers seated on my right (Dr Mandaza and Prof Sachikonye).

i (i) So, on the National Question, it is a matter of public record that the so-called Team Lacoste defines power as "chinhu chedu". This is because the Team and its leader, in my assessment, have no sense or regard for the importance of collective belonging or having a view of national unity (which is inclusive) which is fundamental to the Nationalist Project, which was fundamental before independence and remains fundamental even today. If people start saying "ndechedu ichi" its ours, who are you, you were not there. It's a problem.

i Well, how can the people who were born in 1980 and who are 37 years old now, how could they have been there? But they are 37 years old and that means collectively as a group they are three years from qualifying to run for the presidency but the legal age of majority is 18 years they can contest for any office other than the presidency. So, when people start having the kind of politics that excludes others on the basis that they were not there when in any case they physically could not have been there [laughter], and then you construct a political narrative on that basis, you create a problem and that is an anti-thesis to the Nationalist Project. That's not what the Nationalist Project was about.

ii (ii) On the Economic Question, it is again now in the public domain that the so-called Team Lacoste is about Command Economics, Command Politics and Command Ideology and Command everything. I think there was something very important to be said about Command Agriculture, which is meaningful because it was intended as a Maize Import Substitution Programme. But the extension of that logic to framing everything, even before we have taken stock of the Command Agriculture or Maize Import Substitution Programme is amazing and in my view misplaced. This Command framing business is as revealing as it is dangerous and is contrary to the values and logic of the Nationalist Project which sought to empower the people, sought to empower the communities not to Command them but to free their spirits, to unleash their energies so that they could contribute to the building of an independent Zimbabwe.

(iii) On the Equality Question, and again based on what is in the public domain, it is clear that, Team Lacoste and its leader are far removed from the Nationalist Project. Instead of espousing the fundamental Nationalist value which is now enshrined in Section 56 of the Constitution that "all persons are equal before the law and have the right to equal protection and benefit of the law", the so-called Team Lacoste has declared itself to be Zimbabwe's "Stockholders"; not even Stakeholders, under a template of entitlement that is not only against the aspirations of the Nationalist Project, but that is also unconstitutional. It's not good politics to frame yourself in a patently unconstitutional manner to say, "I'm the stockholder and you are not so listen to me". Well, how do you deal with Section 56 of the Constitution which says everybody has a right to equal protection of the law and benefit of the law? It's "us" first, but the Nationalist Project says it's Zimbabwe First. Therefore, Zimbabweans First. And so these people should be afraid, and if they don't fear anyone they should be ashamed to take the position that "I am a stockholder and you are not". It's bad politics!

(iv) On the Democracy Question, and again based on the information now in the public domain, the so-called Team Lacoste has used its entitlement ideology to misinterpret the appointment of its leader as Vice President to mean his anointment for the Presidency; so the Presidency should be handed over to him as a matter of entitlement outside an election. They are now all over social media with this "pass the baton" and they are saying this to the President "pass the baton" what baton is this? It's not a relay [laughter] it's a democracy, it's a constitutional democracy and this comes not because of anyone who is wise out there and certainly not because of me, it's in our Constitution. The Constitutional Democracy is in the Constitution of Zimbabwe and no one should claim exclusive proprietary rights over that, that's a Constitution of all Zimbabweans (the people of Zimbabwe). I know there are political parties which want to create the impression that we are not a constitutional democracy. Well, the Nationalist Project and things of this nature about values are enduring issues, they are permanent, every generation will face these issues, the answers given will differ.

(v) On the Order and Stability Question, it is notable that the political positions taken by the so-called Team Lacoste run against the grain (to borrow a phrase) of the Nationalist Project largely because they are divisive. An example of this is the current campaign against the Peace and National Reconciliation Bill being spearheaded by Vice President Mphoko. Of greater concern to me about the threat to order and stability posed by the so-called Team Lacoste and its leader are the issues contained in a document dubbed "Blue Ocean" that started circulating in 2015 and in an interview that Vice President Mnangagwa gave to an elite British Magazine the NewStatesman last year entitled, "The Last Days of Robert Mugabe".

These two documents tell a very sad story about a sinister programme of capturing state institutions and targeting individuals for extrajudicial attacks in ways that betray the Nationalist Project in as much as they threaten order and stability in the country.

(vi) On the Sovereignty Question, Team Lacoste is working harder to win the support and endorsement of foreigners than to win the hearts and minds of Zimbabweans. We hear very loud whispers within successionists circles that Zimbabwe needs British support (and that Britain is going to be very significant in the so-called transition) and that such schemes as the Lima Debt Initiative are to assist that process; and that Zimbabwe needs a Deng or a Kagame. Oh! Maybe Team Lacoste needs a President like Kagame, but Zimbabweans don't, how about them saying they need somebody like a Mugabe, a Joshua Nkomo, a Simon Muzenda or a Hebert Chitepo? Why do we need a Kagame? Why do we need a strong man? Why don't we get a leader, who is produced by the people through the democratic process?

(vii) On the Skills Question, the so-called Team Lacoste has shown a surprising hostility to the Youth, who are not only the vanguard of the Party today but who are also the critical pool from which the skills necessary to industrialise and modernise Zimbabwe must emerge or trained and deployed. There is now an instinctive hatred of the Youth: "havana gwara" they are disconnected from the past, they don't know who the stokeholders are, they don't respect the stokeholders but meanwhile there is clear and present evidence that they respect the leader of the party and the leader of the country. Tomorrow we have a program in Mashonaland East of the youth interfacing with the President because they support the President, so where does this thing "yekuti havana gwara" come from? Now, in my analysis, the so-called Team Lacoste poses a clear and present threat to the Nationalist Project. The threat is dangerous not least because it comes at a time not only when the centrepieces of the Nationalist Project, as I have indicated, have found expression in the new Constitution but also on the eve of the 2018 elections. It is important that the 2018 elections are used to consolidate the gains and legacy of the Nationalist Project, those seven enduring values.

To conclude this presentation, going forward, what are the issues arising from this discussion? For me they are five issues that arise from this and I want to share them with you to conclude my intervention
(i) First, I think the time has come for the silent majority in the Nationalist Movement to stand up and be counted in defence of the Nationalist Project. I think that it's not right for people to be quiet when there are things in front of them, when they can see what is happening, when they actually talk about it in their bedrooms and when they talk about it kwaMereki and everywhere except where it matters most. I think if it's true that there is a momentum, and it is about to happen; let's talk about it, let's ask questions, lets unpack it. Certainly, for those who are in the majority who support the President and support the Nationalist Project, silence must not be an option to them. It doesn't make sense because if you keep quiet, you will wake up tomorrow into something and you will regret your silence. (ii) Second, the current situation where the so-called Team Lacoste uses a whisper campaign to carry out a silent power grab is harmful to the values and aspirations of the Nationalist Project and it is harmful to our new Constitution. People who say they are on the verge of taking power deserve scrutiny. If you promise us that you are taking power and you say join or you will be left behind or crushed, then you must be subjected to scrutiny.

(iii) Third, there are lot of things that have happened in a number of key National or State institutions that not only smack of a capture of these institutions by the so-called Team Lacoste but which things are detailed in the "Blue Ocean" document and the very revealing British magazine, the NewStatesman. This is a fundamental point and this point in my view challenges academia. It's unbelievable that we live in a society where a document comes out called "Blue Ocean" and then a year later a very influential opinion making magazine for the British Elite, the NewStatesman, conducted a seminal interview with the Vice President, where things are detailed in these documents not only about what should go on, what should happen but also what has already happened and which things raise eyebrows in any other normal environment. But you know, the academics are just enjoying themselves. They are not analysing the implications of these things but key state institutions are involved: public media and judicial institutions. It's not right to expect politicians to debate these issues and for some of them to debate from a point of view of ignorance, for a society that prides itself as a highly educated society.

I think our academic community is letting our society down and I am not speaking as the Minister of Higher & Tertiary Education, although I should [laughter] but I'm speaking as a citizen to say but you know, why are we reading comments from academics in Newsday, is that your platform? And when the academics make comments on Newsday, the comments are not different from mine [laughter]. Now we have evidence. There are two documents. If people want to understand, and this is the debate here, if you want to understand, what's going on, read the "Blue Ocean" document and the NewStatesman interview that came out in December where the Vice President is interviewed. Where things, especially in the British magazine the NewStatesman, are stated as a matter of fact and they have been in the public domain for over half a year without any one publicly denying the contents thereof that means what is in there is true. So why are we quiet about the content, which no one should ask me what the content is. Go and read for yourself. I have told you the source with very concerning content. I think it's important to unpack, to revisit those documents, unpack them, analyse them and where necessary, let's see legal action being taken because some of the issues have legal implications.

(iv) Fourth, the time has come to expose and dispense with the myth entertained not only by the so-called Team Lacoste but also by others including some in countries like Britain, that Vice President Mnangagwa is the designated successor or that he is the only successor on the verge of taking over anytime now. The position is that there is no vacancy. There is no vacancy in the Office of the President in the Party or in the Government. Where there is no vacancy any talk or activity of succession such as contained in the "Blue Ocean" document and in the NewStatesman interview is by definition subversive.

(v) Fifth, and finally, this is the last point; the notion peddled by the so-called Team Lacoste that its leader is the only one who is above or senior to everyone else below President Mugabe is false, I don't know why we have not told them that "muri kunyepa" but we have been whispering, whispering while most other people have been silent. It is false and that falsehood should now be engaged and stated. There are others, that are senior to the leader of the so-called Team Lacoste in the Party. One of them and I give this by way of an example but an important example in my view is Dr Sydney Sekeramayi. He is senior.

And this example is an interesting one because you know, Dr Sekeramayi's loyalty to the President, President Mugabe, to the Party, to the country is beyond question; and so are his liberation credentials (beyond question); so is his political experience (beyond question); so is his consensus-style of leadership–quite engaging, so is his stature, unquestionable; so is his commitment to the Nationalist Project and above all in my estimation his humility, his humility [laughter]. He is not arrogant, he doesn't say "ndezvedu izvi" or "chinhu chedu ichi", he is accommodating. He is a true Nationalist in the vein we have seen them from the tradition of President Mugabe, the late Vice President Nkomo, the late Vice President Simon Muzenda, the late Vice President Msika, the late Vice President John Nkomo. You don't say "akabva nekupi uyu". You can tell "kuti akabva nekupi" through the engagement, grounded. And I am giving this as an example, remember.

I'm challenging the notion that below the President there is only one leader who is senior, I'm saying that's not true and I am challenging the historians to dig up the evidence if they think I'm not telling the truth. What is true is that, because of his humility Dr Sekeramayi's story is not well known but once you get to know it, encounter it, it's infectious [laughter]. But so that you don't misunderstand me, there are others. Even Vice President Mphoko is actually senior but you won't know if you live in a society that doesn't value information, which is driven by propaganda. But he is, check the record.

Anyway, so, whither the Zimbabwe's Nationalist Project? Well, it is facing formidable threats but it has also excellent opportunities on the ground. As we move towards 2018, I expect to see the balance of forces radically shifting towards and in favour of the Nationalist Project.

I thank you.

- Prof Jonathan Moyo


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