Cowards of Stone House ~ Rejoice Ngwenya


Cowards of Stone House

Xtreme Opinion. Rejoice Ngwenya


The term ‘Zimbabwe’ is the Shona derivative of ‘big house of stone’ – a reference to the historical edifice supposedly built by the Rozvi from about the 11th century onwards. This amazing architectural genius – the ‘acropolis’, elliptical building and its iconic conical tower and walls with distinctive chevron pattern in Masvingo – is said to have played both defensive and ceremonial roles for the Rozvi people. At every stage of human life, mankind has had to either defend themselves or cower behind high walls, usually in a state of beleaguered surrender. But for all their courage, our Shona and Zulu forefathers eventually succumbed to the might of the imperial gun powder. Not even walls, short stabbing spears, assegais and spirit mediums could save them. Yet they displayed valour.


Watching democratic Barack Obama and republican Mitt Romney presidential candidates slugging it out on global television reminds me of one thing: Zimbabwe’s inherent political cowardice. It is a fact that Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo vanquished colonial power and ushered in a semblance of democratic independence. Yet the fear of popular enlightenment has again sent ZANU-PF cowering behind imaginary walls of denial. The party insists that local presidential debates are unnecessary. The answer can only be that  Mugabe’s ZANU-PF controlled ZBC is so petrified of political competition that the closest that democratic parties are ‘hosted’ on local TV is when they are derided and ridiculed at ‘news time’. The thought of Mugabe debating on ZTV primetime – say against MDC presidential candidate Professor Welshman Ncube – sends shivers down the spines of ZANU-PF cronies. Their premonition is accurate – the old man’s archaic political ideology would be demolished!


The tragedy is how this fear also permeates deep into the veins of Mugabe’s administrative structure. Minister Patrick Chinamasa during a BBC interview aired worldwide last week made it absolutely clear that no MDC presidential candidate would be ‘allowed’ to win an election. The implications of this statement are that neither Tsvangirayi nor Ncube will be permitted to air their view points on local Zimbabwe television, let alone debate face-to-face ‘American style’ with Mugabe. “Zimbabwe’s national broadcaster is an example of a public media institution that has been hijacked by the state for narrow partisan political purposes”, adds Media Alliance Zimbabwe. In an act of superficial benevolence, Tafataona Mahoso, the ZANU-PF exterminator of media freedom, issued two new radio licenses to loyal ZANU-PF interests and companies to create a false impression of media multiplicity.


Radio and television make a more lasting impression. That is why ZANU-PF is marooned in an impenetrable cocoon of cowardice. I can imagine how much time Mugabe’s media cronies George Charamba and Jonathan Moyo spend ‘glued’ to CNN television programs ‘analysing’ US presidential elections. What act of valiant hypocrisy! Why do they not invite our own ‘democratic presidential candidates’ to debate with Robert Mugabe? Simple. Fear. They purport to promote ‘heroic liberation values’ yet are afraid of pitting – or is it exposing – Mugabe’s retrogressive political ideology against modern day reality. The fact is their presidential candidate has nothing much to offer other than post-revolutionary rhetoric and false promises of empowerment. His is an ideology of illusion, deceit and threats. If not, I urge Mr. Mugabe to confront MDC candidates head-on on local television – moderated by an independent professional. The Zimbabwean incumbent president must not continue to hide behind the proverbial formidable ‘conical tower’ of authoritarian dictatorship.

Rejoice has a go at the ZANU-PF on the back of the US Presidential debates