By Tendai Makaripe
AS an Advanced Level English literature student many years ago, I had the opportunity to read and analyse the works of one of Africa’s most prolific writers, the great Chinua Achebe.
His book, A man of the people, painted a sad picture of a corrupt post-independent Nigeria whose ruling elite enriched themselves at the expense of the impoverished populace much to the chagrin of a young group of opposition politicians represented by the main character Odili Samalu who sought to fight the crooked regime.
While listening recently to a speech by William Mutumanje, better known to many as Acie Lumumba, at the launch of his new political party, Viva Zimbabwe, I was reminded of a great statement in Achebe’s book which reads: “Our people have said that a man of worth never gets up to unsay what he said yesterday …”
Integrity is a virtue expected of any leader. Without it, chances of one being taken for a joke are high.
What Lumumba said in the aftermath of his sacking as chairman of the steering committee on the Zimbabwe Youth Empowerment Strategy for Investment by Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister and former close ally, Patrick Zhuwao, and what he is saying now are a serious cause for concern to any sane Zimbabwean.
Here is one man who professed an undying love for ZANU-PF and its leader, President Robert Mugabe, claiming that he had “every intention of working tirelessly for the party and to ensure we keep our promise to the people, and that is what I am focused on politically — supporting the President to fulfil his promises”.
When he was fired by Zhuwao, he swore that the only party he had ever known was ZANU-PF and he would continue supporting it.
“I am ZANU-PF, proudly so and stubbornly so. I love my President and I love my party,” he said in his first You Tube video on April 22.
He buttressed the statements a week later when he said: “I am not in the business of attacking my President. I am not leaving ZANU-PF. I am here to stay,” he said proudly.
“Let me explain why I still and will continue supporting the President. He was voted by the people. I support the President,” he added four days later.
Now is this a dedicated party cadre who will stand by the President and the party through thick and thin?
We were wrong! Or, maybe, we were fooled!
Two weeks later, he announced that he had ended his marriage with the revolutionary party he had pledged “undying love” for, suddenly accusing it of being “too corrupt and out of touch with reality”.
One wonders what had changed within the two weeks to warrant that about turn from being ZANU-PF through and through to seeing nothing good about the party.
Did Lumumba, who along with television and radio presenter, Tichafa Matambanadzo, was accused of duping Star FM of US$70 000, suddenly become a saint notwithstanding his leaked sex tape?
Barely three weeks later, he announced the birth of Viva Zimbabwe that he launched on June 30 where he verbally assaulted and took to the ropes, the President, the man he previously said he loved and respected because he was voted for by the people.
Within a short period of time, he had said so many conflicting statements about what he loves and stands for to the extent that right now people are confused as to who he really is, what he believes in and if he will ever deliver the paradise on earth he promising the youths he says he loves.
Can the man be trusted comrades?
In one of his videos he promises to create one million jobs in 100 days, and empower 5 000 companies.
How is that possible when he was part of the most vocal people in the run up to elections in 2013 who promised the populace 2,2 million jobs in five years?
There is something in Lumumba’s person which irresistibly attracts drama to him. Controversy seems to have a serious affinity for the man.
“Acie Lumumba has a questionable relationship with the truth and long drawn out history of corruption, lying and bullying. He deserves no sympathy and is not a reformed politician. He is a crook,” wrote political analyst, Maynard Manyowa.
No man is perfect as the eminent thinker, French renaissance essayist, Michel de Montaigne said more than 400 years ago: “There is no man so good that if he placed all his actions and thought under the scrutiny of the laws, he would not deserve hanging 10 times in his life.”
However, consistency, integrity and trust should be the hallmarks of a reputable politician. This business of playing the good patriot after being shoved away from the national cake should stop.-Fingaz