Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Zim Cabinet Ministers Pursuing Full Time Degrees, On Whose Time?

By Takura Zhangazha*^

A friend recently sent me an image of three serving cabinet ministers outside the University of Zimbabwe Law Faculty. Carrying what appear to be folders, they are pictured with one of their lecturers who incidentally happens to lead his own political party.  As the saying goes, a picture speaks a thousand words.  These three ministers are Prof Jonathan Moyo (Higher and Tertiary Education), Patrick Zhuwao (Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment) and Saviour Kasukuwere (Local Government). 

As already reported in the media, they all recently enrolled for the four to six year and full time (continuous learning) undergraduate law degree programme at our country’s oldest university. Their reasons for doing so are not necessarily in congruence but one can only guess it is to further their professional qualifications in one way or the other.  And that is not a bad thing in itself.  We are all encouraged in our highly competitive and small job market to get further qualifications where we can. Even if we are politically ambitious.

The only peculiarity that cannot escape notice is that these three ministers are obviously very  busy men. Just by dint of being elected (Moyo and Kasukuwere) and appointed (Zhuwao) members of parliament.  Add this to their ministerial and party portfolios, Kasukuwere is national political commissar of Zanu Pf, Moyo is secretary for Technology while Zhuwao  deputises the latter.  Where they find the time to study for a  full time law degree is baffling to say the least.

Even if they have special arrangements such as getting lectures in the evening, the last I checked the UZ Law Faculty does not offer part time studies for its undergraduate programme.  Once registered, it is assumed that you can make all the lectures on time and as per schedule with limited special arrangements. If there are exceptions then the Dean of the Faculty of Law has a bit of public explaining and justification on his to do list. Especially if the degree programme is to retain its credibility. 

This penchant for full time studies by those we assume to be ever busy and conscientious cabinet ministers should however be a cause for some national concern. 

Not least because it appears their priorities are clearly set elsewhere but also because they have not claimed study leave from the business of running the country.  Even as they reform the civil service to limit the ability of others to pursue similar knowledge acquisition endeavours for shorter periods of time.  To the extent that some civil servants, particularly teachers,  have opted to forego working altogether in pursuit of furthering their education after being denied study leave.

Furthermore, if the cabinet handbook permits ministers to use their influence to get scarce places at universities, then they must cite the relevant  sections for the public to understand that all of this is above board and based entirely on academic merit.  Or alternatively the Office of the President and Cabinet needs to explain how exactly three of its members handle a weekly dilemma of either missing school or a cabinet meeting while serving its core values of loyalty, patriotism, commitment, confidentiality, integrity, humility, accountability and professionalism.  Unless it has issued a special order that specific cabinet ministers are in need of further educational training and are therefore exempt from being expected to serve the country full time.

Perhaps in the broader scheme of things, there is an assumption that ordinary Zimbabweans accept anyone in a position of influence such as being a cabinet minister pursuing some sort of further education.  And in return those that are in these positions of national influence may not anticipate being asked about it.  Or even failing to achieve the required pass results.

The key questions however remain those to do with their political priorities  together with their own sense of self worth as elected leaders. And Zimbabweans do have a right to ask of their elected leaders on whose time they are pursuing what are essentially personal qualifications while having sworn a national oath to serve the country?  Furthermore, in the passage of time between starting and competing their full time degree programmes, how does that compliment government work and in any event, how did they get to where they are if they felt that their qualifications to hold political office are inadequate?

But then again, these are questions that can be avoided by those with political influence. Or they will answer via way of gloating about their educational qualifications to each other or senior civil servants via social media applications such as Whatsapp. How they pass their exams with such busy public office schedules is up to the degree awarding universities but we cannot be faulted for at least asking for a decent explanation as to how all of this really works.

*Takura Zhangazha writes here in his personal capacity (takura-zhangazha,blogpsot.com)
^ Blog was edited to note that the degree programme is four to six years full time (continuos learning) at 1522 hours CAT

Monday, 16 November 2015

Zim 2015 Drought, Waiting for the Rain Minus an Urgent National Action Plan

By Takura Zhangazha*

The rains have sort of started falling in Zimbabwe.  The general public impression is that they are late. For many citizens resident in the Southern, western and south east parts of the country these rains are for the next harvest. Between then and now they are now already experiencing the effects of a drought. Food and water are becoming scarce and the grass is no longer green for livestock.  So once again the begging bowls are out in parts of rural Zimbabwe. The givers, mainly in the form of government and food aid agencies, are beginning to mention importation of grain but perhaps without as much urgency as those that are waiting for help.

Not that the drought is unique to Zimbabwe. Its predicted to affect much of Southern Africa with the region’s biggest economy South Africa already feeling its effects through water shortages.  In Zimbabwe the government has initially presented it as largely being the main cause of the sharp drop in water levels at Kariba Dam.

The reality of the matter is that it is not just about the electricity crisis as largely felt in our urban and industrial production sectors.  It is more about its debilitating effect on the lives of a majority of citizens who reside in rural areas.  Nor is it just about the vulnerability assessments undertaken by the Meteorological Department or the early warning systems of Fewsnet. Or grand ministerial statements confirming what is already being experienced across Southern parts of the country. 

Understandably government will want to demonstrate that it is not only in control of the humanitarian disaster the drought will cause but also the equitable distribution of food aid.   In this, it will seek to manage the food aid distribution as carefully as possible because essentially a drought is and can be a big political mobilization issue. Especially in our own local context where the opposition political parties have generally and not without some credibility, accused government of politicizing food aid.

The problem here is that this is no different a typical response from previous and recent droughts.  In fact the major problem has been that government appears to have a singular short term template to respond to our increasingly cyclical droughts.  This generally involves a broad and vague statement from the responsible minister, a mention of it from a presidential address, claims of importation of maize from a neighbouring country and then general chaos about the latter’s distribution.  In the end, it is food aid agencies that eventually fill the gaps amidst tight monitoring by government.  In between both, it is private players, either millers or their middlemen that enter the lucrative business of maize distribution and selling in the most affected areas.

To state the obvious, this sort of approach needs to be changed. In the first place a drought is a national crisis, not a selective provincial predicament.  The failure of crops in one part of the country inevitably affects all other parts and must therefore be handled through a national and symbiotic programme of action.

Because of their continual recurrence, these droughts require a much more urgent and  long term national strategic intervention that limits their impact on peoples livelihoods.  This is because we have to learn to accept their increasing permanence in our political economy.  That is why we should by now have a broader national drought strategy that addresses this particular natural problem in a truly integrated fashion. Not just from year to year but over longer periods of time and seasons. Especially given the data that we already have from previous debilitating droughts such as those of 1991-1992, 1994, 2004, 2012,  and now 2015 (the list is actually longer).

We need to shift from relying on colonial legacy infrastructure and plans such as the still to be completed Tokwe Mukosi dam which were intended largely for commercial agriculture.  This must be replaced by a much more people centered response that takes into account not only commercial/industrial priorities for water storage and consumption but also looks at those long neglected in long term central government planning for droughts, the rural and urban poor.

Furthermore, our climate change policies need to be more robust and with contextualized solutions that go beyond attending global conferences where again we rely on the biased knowledge production from the world’s worst polluters of the environment.  

As it it, we are not taking the drought as seriously as we should. Beyond the politics of succession, we have a bigger national crisis in the form of the drought that a majority of Zimbabweans are going to be negatively affected by. We need to talk about it and pressure government to do much more than it has previously done and press for longer term solutions that help all and not just the politically connected.

*Takura Zhangazha writes here in his personal capacity (takura-zhangazha.blogspot.com)

Monday, 9 November 2015

Africa in Sports Scandals: Starting with Football, Not Ending with Cricket

 By Takura Zhangazha*

The 2015 edition of the University of the Witwatersrand Power Reporting conference began with an outline of  the coverage of the FIFA corruption scandal by Insight investigative journalism division of the Sunday Times (UK).  

After a schedule that also included discussions on  ‘data journalism’, the ‘fatal activities of Australian mining companies’ and the role of bankers and lawyers in offshore tax havens a second sporting scandal was unearthed. And it was on the global  sport that is cricket. 

In contrast to the investigative report on football, the International Cricket Council (ICC) was laid bare via an incisive documentary film, ‘Death of a Gentleman’ done by two cricket journalists/bloggers that was shown at the end of the first day of the conference.

In both exposés there is damning evidence of corruption that however ends up being ambivalently dealt with or downright ignored.  But there is no doubt left in the mind of the newsreader or documentary viewer that there is definitely more than something fishy that has been going on in football and cricket over the last decade.    

And Africa or at least African member states of FIFA and the ICC get some mention too.  Nigerian football administrators are implicated in bribes while one of  Zimbabwe’s former cricket chiefs is seen at a controversial meeting to change the rules of the ICC.

Moreover, as part of the smaller countries that have disproportionate votes on both sports world bodies, Africa appears to be complicit in shady deals of powerful executives who want flagship world tournaments to be awarded in specific ways.  For example the simultaneous awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments to Russia and Qatar respectively is fraught with irregularities that included a dinner hosted in Johannesburg at a ridiculous US$1m cost.  The latter however eventually ended up costing US$200 thousand with the remainder unaccounted for. Both by way of actual money and not knowing from whence the money had come from.

In cricket, it is the power of the Indian Cricket Board that is brought to bear on South Africa through threats to withdraw its cricket team from touring the latter. This reportedly led Cricket South Africa to accede to demands for support of reform of the ICC.

It is these weak and vulnerable position that African member states find themselves in that make them susceptible to not only corruption but also a damning complicity in compromising fair competition in global sporting competitions. 

And it will not end with football or cricket.  There is obviously another can of worms that will emerge from the recently announced report on doping in athletics and we are yet to hear of the potentially shady deals that have been going on in the International Amateur Athletics Federation. At least it will be about doping. Though anyone would also welcome inquiries into how the International Olympic committee also awards bids to host the Olympics.

 In all of this, as it probably is the world over, it is African sporting fans that lose out.  They begin to not only doubt the transparency and fairness of global sporting competitions but are also caught between a rock and a hard place. From the love they exhibit for these various sports disciplines, expressions of nationalism and identity in global competitions through to the fact that it may all, in the final analysis, be contrived and patently unfair.

Not that this is or will be peculiar to the African continent but it helps to have Africans also joining the global derision of global sports executives, the administrative bodies and associated governments for a job badly done.

Finally, it was an Angolan journalist at the conference  who asked a question that was reflective of the broader dimension to these sporting scandals.  His question was, and I am paraphrasing here, whether these sporting scandals are not symptomatic of deeper disorder and lack of transparency in other bigger international organizations that deal with the global economy and peace.

*Takura Zhangazha wrties here in his personal capacity (takura-zhangazha.blogspot.com) 

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Cameron, Sisi Diplomatic Incident and Africa's Dilemma in Polarised ‘Global War on Terror’

By Takura Zhangazha*

This week was a scary one for Africa in international relations. In what has turned out be a very dramatic and sudden turn of events, the government of the United Kingdom has suspended all civilian flights from its airports to the Egyptian resort town of Sham el Sheik. The reason for this immediate decision was reported in the mainstream British media as being intelligence reports had advised that the tragic Russian airline crash over the Sinai last week  had ‘most likely been caused by a bomb’.  Therefore it would be unsafe for flights to continue until such a time security and threat to civilian life in that particular part of Egypt had been established. 

Meanwhile President Abdel Fatar el Sisi of Egypt was enroute to the United Kingdom for scheduled talks with his British equivalent.  In a further dramatic turn of events, the British government then de-escalated its decision to allow civilian flights to ‘rescue’ its citizens out of Sharm El Sheik after the meeting between Cameron and el Sisi.  All without their luggage and with empty cabin holds in the aeroplanes.

The threat to civilian life it turns out is from the Islamic State (ISIS) which both governments have been fighting either directly or by way of proxies largely in Syria.

The diplomatic incident took another turn with the Russian government reportedly telling its British counterpart not to ‘quickly jump to conclusions’ about a bomb having caused the tragic accident.
What strikes the mind however is the fact that this was a major diplomatic incident that could have had far reaching implications including the possible escalation of global polarization, with an African country, Egypt, becoming a possible pawn in a bigger game of global superpower chess.

It is a given that the West (read as Europe and North America) have serious differences with Russia over the latter’s 'unilateral' actions in Syria. And the West also thinks that if it turns out ISIS was responsible for the tragic airline crash, then it is partly the Russian intervention in Syria that is to blame.

These are issues that are difficult to take sides on mainly because African countries are generally meek in such global superpower disputes and tend to hide behind the principle of sovereignty to claim that its hands are tied. Even when an African country is in the throes of a major international incident as is Egypt.

But Africa and Africans should at least be worried about these developments that are still far from being amicably concluded. Even if we know that there is no direct risk of war breaking out in Egypt.
What we must however be able to discern is the possibility that the war against ISIS is evidently expanding into what is increasingly a ‘polarized’ global war on terror.  In this, we once again will be asked to demonstrate what would be similar to the disastrous ‘cold war’ loyalties of yesteryear.

So Africa is in an invidious position that we cannot wish away by arguing that the current standoffs between Russia and the West are none of our business.  It takes a tragedy such as the one in Egypt for everything to all of a sudden become quite complicated. Including the oddity of having a sitting African president while on his way to meet a leader of a global superpower of sorts and finding out that there have been major foreign policy announcements about his country by the counterpart he is visiting before they meet.

But regardless of the arrogance that the United Kingdom government displayed toward its Egyptian counterpart, the global war on terror together with increasing international incidents  is taking on complicated characteristics that Africa will have to tackle with great caution.  The responsibility for this should essentially reside in the African Union but as in the past, the primary challenge continues to be the Nkrumaist warning of the ‘bifurcation’ of the continent. 

Not by way of sovereign design but more by a repetition of history with the continent continuing to be the playing ground of global superpowers. Even if for development aid, but with limited contextualised continental solidarity and democratic consensus.

*Takura Zhangazha writes here in his personal capacity (takura-zhangazha.blogspot.com)

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Citizens, Not Government, Will Protect Zim Journalists (if asked)

By Takura Zhangazha*

The recent arrest and charging of Sunday Mail Editor Mabasa Sasa and two of the papers journalists, Brian Chitemba and Tinashe Farawo is a sad and dangerous development for Zimbabwe’s media.  As journalists they do not in any way deserve to have criminal charges brought against them for stories they write. And media organizations are correct in condemning these recent arrests for being patently undemocratic and in violation of section 61 of the bill of rights in the constitution.

What has been most astounding has been the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s  (ZRP) justification of the arrests.  The force’s spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba  in a press statement argued that the journalists, through their story, essentially published a falsehood and undermined the authority of not only the police but also other security services. In her assertions she also accuses the media of abusing  what she refers to as 'journalistic privilege'.  It is however important to note that the police’s allegations and accusations shall now be determined by a court of law and until then, remain exactly what they are, allegations.

It is equally important to understand that the police’s actions are not necessarily to be viewed as out of sync with the attitude of politically powerful persons in the country.  Over the last months there have been veiled and direct threats against journalists and the media.  Not least from the President himself when he referred to going ‘rigid’ on what he perceives as errant journalism or the first lady who also has had no kind words for the fourth estate at her rallies.  This has not been helped by statements attributed to the permanent secretary in the ministry of media, information and broadcasting services who has been touting the government sponsored Information and Media Panel of Inquiry (IMPI) report as pretext to introduce stronger (read as criminal defamation) regulatory frameworks for the media.

Even seasoned newspaper columnists, while using the same platforms, have recently begun an unfortunate habit of self righteous finger pointing at journalism’s faults within  context of evident acrimony that really does not help freedom of expression and media freedom.

So the police may feel that they are merely speeding up processes that political leaders and some opinion makers are anticipating or even comfortable with against media freedom.  Hence the loud silence from the ministry of media, information and broadcasting services.

There is therefore a pattern to this newfound hostility toward the media.  Some of it can be found in the fact that there is the ratcheted desire to control media content by varying political factions in both the ruling and opposition parties. Both for general political expediency but more in order to manage succession battles in the ruling party and leadership contests in the opposition.  These contests are to be expected. What is however undemocratic is the overreach of criminal defamation in seeking this sort of control. And acting in disregard of the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of expression and media freedom.

But the media itself is not without fault. And one of its major obstacles has been its continual inability to negotiate its professional space. Both by way of overcoming partisan positioning fueled largely by media owners (government and private entities).  The Zimbabwean media therefore has to espouse the democratic value of its own existence beyond the partisan politics of the day in order to garner greater public support for its democratically important public work. And the point must be made clear that this sort of solution is not going to be found in the contested IMPI report or trading petty accusations against each other  in personalised opinion columns. This is because it is largely the Zimbabwean public’s misunderstanding of the democratic importance of a robust, ethical and public interest focused media that allows state officials and even the ZRP to continue to act with impunity against journalists. 

There is a further caveat to this.  The media must also begin to ostensibly campaign against the criminalization of freedom of expression, not just for itself, but for the ordinary citizen because it is in the ordinary peoples perceptions and lack of knowledge of rights that government gets the wherewithal to act with impunity.  Where citizens are arrested for expressing a view of the president, or a public official and convicted via a fine or custodial sentence, the media must stand up for these citizens right to express themselves.  Where it does not, the citizen will not see the need to do so in return.  Hence sometimes there is the ridiculous argument that the media needs to be monitored by the state via the threat of criminal sanction as though expressing an opinion or writing a story in the public interest is as criminal as misappropriating medical aid services contributions.  And if you wanted an answer to the latter point, no it is not.
*Takura Zhangazha writes here in his personal capacity (takura-zhangazha.blogspot.com)

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Zim Bond Coin Vexing the Masses, Smiling all the Way to Reserve Bank

By Takura Zhangazha*

There are conversations that we are not having concerning our more mundane economic realities in Zimbabwe. I boarded a commuter omnibus, commonly referred to as a ‘kombi’ in our country.  An elderly lady, most probably a working mother, had a heated conversation with the kombi conductor about the change that she was handed for her one US dollar.  She had been given a South African five rand coin which she vehemently refused.  She argued that the five rands would not get her to next destination, by way of cost, because the rand is not as valuable as the bond coin.

Because of her rather loud remonstration, the kombi driver also got a talking to in which she explained the fact that  her next station’s arrival cost would be seven rand even though she had been given fair change for the route she was currently on. She therefore insisted on being given bond coins as change because that is only what the kombis on her onward journey would accept.

So  a journey that would have normally cost five rand, now costs seven or the 50 cent bond coin.
 Apparently it is the fall in value of the rand that has triggered this new informal exchange rate.  Except that the bond is not officially a currency. It was introduced to deal with the problem of a lack of lose change for retail businesses.  And initially it was quite unpopular. Fast forward to a year later and it is now a most valued ‘currency’. 

And I am certain someone at the Reserve Bank and the Ministry of Finance is smiling.  Primarily because this new found purchasing strength of the bond coin probably makes some sort of case for the return of a Zimbabwean currency.  Even if it is predicated on the promissory note of the African Export and Import Bank (Afrexim). And of course, that little talked about US$50 million loan.

But there is a pattern to all of this, apart from some economists referring to this a s evidence of the effectiveness of the free market.  Essentially the bond has become the currency of the majority poor. They may not understand its full import in relation to the fact that we do not have an actual currency but they are learning how to ‘deal’ with and in it.

From the vegetable vendor, through to the kombi conductor, passenger the refrain about the South African rand is that ‘this will not be accepted where I am going’. The preference is the US dollar or the bond coin.

What is not publicly debated is how all of this really works.  The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe mints the coins in South Africa with money received from Afrexim Bank. The latter also guarantees the equivalent of the $US value of the coin (1:1).  It is distributed to local banks who in turn distribute it to retail and other businesses at an equivalent rate.  From then on, it becomes laissez faire. 

And in this framework, there is room for the return of the money dealer of yesteryear, that is, 2007. In this the key question is one of who really has access to these bond coins when they are in circulation.  And this is the shadowy world of middle men and women.  Not that they will make a significant profit. But they will be able to at least make the proverbial dollar out of fifteen cents.

So the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has some serious explaining to do. Though I am sure they are quite comfortable (and very pleased) with the fact that their bond coin scheme now has 'transaction' legitimacy. Especially via the informal sector.

What we essentially have is a free market economy that confounds the poor before it affects the rich. Such little mini-battles about the value of small coins is not something that will be witnessed or argued in the leafier surburbs of our cities.  Probably because there the minimal denomination is the US dollar note.

But then again, we are used to the default mode of our national economy.  We do not collectively question the effects of specific economic policies. Nor do we get regular explanations from policy makers anyway.  Hence the bond coin has evolved from being the replacement for notes and sweets for change, to becoming an actual domestic currency. Knowing the ‘entrepreneurial’ spirit of those that are in proximity to political power and office, someone, somewhere is going to make a ‘killing’.  Particularly if the rand strengthens against the US dollar.
*Takura Zhangazha writes here in his personal capacity (takura-zhangazha.blogspot.com)

Monday, 26 October 2015

Zim’s Crouching Ethnicity, Hidden Tribalism in Succession/Coalition Politics^

By Takura Zhangazha*

There is a new but old currency to our national politics in Zimbabwe.  Its infamously referred to as 'tribalism' and where one is politically correct, ethnocentrism or simply ‘ethnicity’.  In the academic world these are highly contested terms particularly where they become linked to analyzing electoral and political power contests.  

Our politicians rarely present their pursuit of power on the basis of ethnic identity publicly.  The proof always turns out to be in the power sharing configurations either in the run-up to an election, its aftermath or national ‘unity’ agreements. Or alternatively, gate-keeping of specific provinces as 'no go areas' for other opposition political parties. 

In our immediate contemporary politics there is the whispered aspect of this ‘ethnic’ dimension to political power and even opposition political office.  

In the case of Zanu Pf’s ongoing succession battles it has been whispered in the corridors of power that it’s the turn of the ‘Karanga’s’  in muted reference to current deputy President Mnangagwa’s potential to take over.  Others from the same party reportedly  swear that it will never happen and appear to be propping up other candidates in an apparently ‘counter-ethnic’ coalition basis and in similarly muted fashion.

In the opposition, the same can arguably be said to be true, though with the intention of courting former Zanu Pf supporters into a grand opposition party coalition. This in somewhat similar fashion to the Kenyan example of political coalitions. 

In all of these developments, a key question that emerges is whether it is right or wrong in the first place to claim an ethnocentric place at the table of power.  Especially via appealing to an ethnically derived popular base. There is no one answer and no one reason at which the same are arrived at.
In fact there are varying arguments in support and against the use of ethnic identity to pursue national or localized political office.  

One of the most significant arguments around this was posited by the late academic Professor Masipula Sithole where he argued that essentially there is nothing inimical to democracy about ethnic identity on the African continent. Not only because such politicization of ethnicity is universal (its there in the West as it is in the South) but also because both Marxism and modernization have ostensibly failed to resolve the issue on the African continent. In his view what might be more important is democratic inclusion. 

Other contrary arguments against ethnicity playing a prominent role in national politics posit that it causes divisions and diversion from national unity, which in most of our African experiences is more contrived than it is democratically arrived at. This approach has wrongly led to dictatorial attempts to forcefully stamp out diversity in pursuit of what is a false national unity via one party states. 

These somewhat real and equally academic arguments are sometimes dismissed as not quite understanding ‘African politics’ or a claim at a base uniqueness of ‘tribe’ to the African continent. The truth of the matter is that the post colonial state will always have vestiges of ethnic identity.  They do not however remain permanent. They are however subject to gross politicisation and ‘instrumentalisation’ to whip up emotions in pursuit of power for its own sake. 

As Ugandan academic Mahmood Mamdani argues, these usages of ‘tribe’, ‘ethnicity’ even ‘race’ only became full political strategies at defining and ruling with the onset and consolidation of colonialism.  Sadly they have been carried over by our contemporary African leaders to present day politics.  Even if in whispered tones as is currently the case in Zimbabwe.   

The point that however must be made is that there is much more to our national politics beyond ethnicity or tribe.  It is a point that must be made beyond the centrist intentions that were the one party state (and Marxism) or the colonial modernization project (divide and rule). Across Zimbabwe, and across many African states, we may have differences that include geographical location (particularly where its away from the lucrative center), language, historical injustices and in rare cases cultural differences but we share a common humanity that transcends the pursuit of political power.

This latter truth is what our competing political leaders are better off making greater reference to. that is our common challenges that include but are not limited to human rights and equality for all, access to basic social services, jobs, and secure livelihoods without discrimination.

While the electoral battles over succession in Zimbabwe may now unfortunately include whispered references to ethnicity and 'tribe' we have to overcome such misrepresentations of our values in pursuit of power.

Yes we are a postcolonial state that is still reeling from the impact that colonialism had on African identities but this is not reason for us to regress.  You can come from a specific village, district, province or speak a different language dialect as does everyone else in Zimbabwe, but we have to forge a much more elaborate, inclusive and democratic culture that transcends these more often than not contrived identities. It is not only what you say to your own kinsmen/women that matters.  Instead it is now what you say to the whole country while keeping your fingers on the national pulse that in the end is more visionary.
^Title of this blog borrowed though with different meaning from the title of the Chinese Film, ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
*Takura Zhangazha writes here in his personal capacity (takura-zhangazha.blogspot.com)