Today, I deviate from my usual style of raving and ranting to literally cry. In the same spirit, I deliberately break my own rule on the use of capital letters as I mourn for a country once called Zimbabwe! Yesterday, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) one Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew from the June 27 th’08 election run-off. Although this was long overdue, Tsvangirai did the right thing. Perhaps, I am writing like every other voyeur in the West or elsewhere in the world…Perhaps I do not know the inside story of Zimbabwe but trust me I can feel it so close to my heart, soul and mind; it tears my heart, it breaks my soul and saturates my mind. I really didnt know that a politician could touch my otherwise ‘political-sediment-proof’ heart until I listened to Tendai Biti, the MDC Secretary General on the 22nd of May, 2008. By the way, speaking of Biti, he is facing treason charges upon which if charged, he faces the death sentence!! Comrade Biti was arrested the following day after his public lecture to which I happened to be a part of the audience. Yes, I was speaking of his address at a South African university on the 22nd. After the usual greetings what Biti said, immediately after, still rings in my mind. I did not write it somewhere, no. It forced itself into my heart and it is permanently recorded there. I will retrieve it today just to see whether I will be relieved:
“Yesterday, the body of Tonderai Ndira was found with his tongue cut, his skull smashed…”
I do not know who Tonderai Ndira was besides what Biti had to say of him and what my Zimbabwean friends have told me about him. Yes, he was a man of integrity, a political activist and was known as ‘Zimbabwe’s Steve Biko’ after the legendary South African black consciousness liberation icon. Like most other ‘men of integrity’ the world (including me) can only know and praise him posthumously. That is how this life is and that is one of the advantages with which death comes; showers of praise on how great thou art once you can no longer hear us. What perhaps I did not know on the 22nd was that many more of such introductions and scenarios would follow in the weeks after. May be to most people Biti’s introduction would have qualified for a stage direction in some high school drama but nay.
To MDC critics and some political analysts, perhaps Biti used such a scenario to gain the sympathy of the listener but hey look here, these things are happening. If Biti’s intention was actually to interpellate the reader, then I plead guilty and I owe no one an apology (as usual I am still very anapolojetik) for that. Why am I telling you all this while you may even have been there? If you were there, the better for me, what have we done since we heard of the killings in Zimbabwe? What can we possibly do? What are the Zimbabweans themselves doing? What would they want me, you, you and you to do? I am so confused right now!! My heart is sore with grief and pain for this Souther African country which has been held at ransom by an 84-year old militia leader and his shopaholic masquerading as a wife.