Hail King Nero, The First and Last!
“There shall be a leader and Change Champion-in-Chief (Advocate Nelson Chamisa) who shall be the Administrator and President tasked by the citizens to champion, lead, and guide processes of the movement…. The Change Champion-in-Chief shall be the chief spokesperson and chief representative of the CCC as well as the custodian of its documents, property, and well-being…..”
Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” closes on a dilemma. A character called Marlow who witnesses the death of the book’s eminently notorious character, Kurtz, has to share Kurtz’s last moments with the deceased’s grieving fiancée. The grief-wrecked girl insists on knowing what Kurtz’s last words were.
After a momentary hesitation, Marlow tells her that Kurtz called her name! Of course that wasn’t true; the dead man’s last words were, “The horror! The horror!”
Man the brute, the horror
Kurtz’s apocalyptic journey down the Congo River had exposed him to man’s atavistic nature once pruned of the superficies and props of so-called Civilisation.
Through himself and the rest of his white crew, all of whom descend into utter savagery when immersed into the Congo, well away from civilised Europe, Kurtz concludes that Man unadorned is a sheer brute and some horror, one hardly different from the “African savage” he derided and wished to have genocidally exterminated and wiped off the face of the earth. But my focus is not Joseph Conrad’s racism, itself pervasive zeitgeist of late Victorianism right through to early 20th Century. Actually up to now and arguably forever.
The saving lie
My real focus is on a notion we students of literature have come to know as “a saving lie”. Marlow expediently lied to Kurtz’s smitten but bereaved fiancée in order to save her from some life-claiming psychological devastation. Unremitting flattery fed her by Kurtz over the years of distant, unconsummated love, had led her into believing she was the epicentre and fulcrum of the dying and dead man’s cosmos. She thus expected her name to be the last thing to drop off the lips of his expiring fiancé. Yet this was not so.
The dying man’s last words grappled with some other thought, a thought distantly abstract and philosophical.
The thought related to humanity’s unrelieved inner badness, once thrust into a setting of unrestrained and untamed savagery that Africa was in the minds of late Victorians.
Which suggested the love impulse which had nourished Kurtz’s love-lorn fiancée was either imagined self-flattery, or simply too flimsy and weak to compete against Kurtz’s consuming, abstract philosophical ponder over the nature of Man.
An age running on white lies
Marlow’s lie saved Kurtz’s girlfriend, even affording her some inflated, life-enlarging and extending self-estimate. Marlow’s small white lie was thus meant to save the woman, and to protect her feelings from an ugly truth she could not have survived. In the end it did both.
Through this cryptic dyadic exchange, the Polish-turned-British writer, Joseph Conrad, makes a broader point: life needs inordinate doses of little lies to be preserved, saved and rescued. So, too, does our Civilisation if we are to continue to retain faith in it.
Our civilisation stands on, and is nourished by, repeated, copious little lies without which mankind would lose faith in itself, thus sliding into some suicidal swoon. The flip side of this is denialism which abounds, whether at personal level or across the globe.
Saved by hated lies
Conrad goes deeper, further and drowns us in unrelieved irony. In ordinary life, Marlow hates lies; he finds lies revolting to his constitution: “There is a taint of death, a flavour of mortality in lies — which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world — what I want to forget”, he says in the book.
Yet when faced with a practical and potentially tragic situation involving Kurtz’s fiancée, Marlow is saved by the very lie he is sworn to hate, and which he says revolts his personal constitution. Not only that; once said, the lie actually saves the next life — Kurtz’s fiancée — in the process losing its “taint of death”, and its “flavour of mortality”! In the end Marlow’s article of personal faith boomerangs, but in a beautifully life-giving fashion.
We all need some little lies to survive; and need to say little lie to others in order to rescue humanity from death through self-immolation.
Parleying Triple C votaries
Daily, I parley with Triple C votaries. I am not being abusive in my choice of words. I pick words carefully, consciously even, including in this instance. A votary is a nun or a monk who has made vows of dedication to a cause, usually to a religious one.
He or she is ready to die for that cause or creed. He/she will not stomach anything or anyone impugning it; in fact, he/she is ready to draw a sword in its defence. He/she sees no ill, hears no ill, or speaks no ill about it. In ordinary parlance, he/she is a fanatic; some unreclaimed bigot.
In a sleight of defensive deflection, Americans call all this fundamentalism, without realising they are themselves fundamentalists of the first order.
In everything about them, including their tenacious clinging to a lie which has saved them for more than a century: that of the so-called American Dream. I am wandering off my main thread again.
Zimbabwe’s divine diminutive
Chamisa’s fundamentalists I daily parley with think he is some diminutive god whose thoughts and word are some commandment. Some diminutive “god” spelt with a small “g”! The One who merits a big “G” is certainly beyond my ken or knowledge. What I might fathom is the height, length and breadth of His wondrous works.
But not His height, assuming an omnipresent Being can ever be reckoned by height.
Chamisa’s votaries think he is some diminutive god who never errs! One who isn’t even capable of base motives, thoughts or reflexes. He can abuse gofundme contributions, convert party funds to personal use; all that will not move them.
No, instead they wrap him with some impenetrable, nay, invincible aura of divinity; of divine infallibility that harken to the omnipotent days of Rome’s Papal Dynasties.
Chamisa’s hear-no-truth supporters
Much worse, the aura accorded to Chamisa exceeds his own diminutive person; it covers the entire ecosystem about and around him: his handlers, benefactors,household, paramours, the Bible he daily (mis)reads to restock this halo of divinity about him; his cows, goats, road-runners or even rats which in added holiness gnaw his meagre harvest!
No one is allowed to read any deficit in him, and in the cosmos about him! You provoke some fiery retributive storm if you scold America’s Biden, Chamisa’s foremost benefactor. Chamisa does no wrong.
Several of his followers think so, and are ready to die thinking so, even long after their god has died from appalling weaknesses, even confessing so as his only rite of truth before expiry.
There is this hysterical mass blind-spot one finds in Chamisa’s tenacious, hear-no-truth supporters! It frightfully flies against several foibles afflicting Chamisa; foibles rampant and tall enough for even the blindest to miss. Commonsensically, you ask: how does a man who so badly need foreign hand-holding and benefactors become a god, their god here in a free Zimbabwe, itself an African country?
Surely the hallmark of gods is sovereign absolutism, bereft of any human dependencies? You say that, it is like you dare to convince and convert the deaf!
Made from Chamisa’s foibles
It certainly does not need fresh, unused brains to see that Tshabangu who has morphed into the real god from the Triple C machine, is in fact some synthetic figure whose life-force and total being derives from Chamisa’s monumental foibles as some small human being upon whom greatness has been thrust, prematurely.
Surely? His repeated, shamefaced power-grab at Humanikwa and at the Gweru Congress created Khupe, Mwonzora, Mudzuri, Mashakada, Komichi and several disgruntled others, all in that mathematical order. His merciless scythe — “dimuro” or axe in his own words — after Gweru Congress which mowed down all his erstwhile peers or even seniors, right from the Tsvangirai days, sired the bitter Bitis, the Welshman Ncubes and, finally his raging bete noire now metonymically known as Tshabangu.
His feeble protestations that he does not know Tshabangu, or that Tshabangu is a creature brewed in Zanu PF pot, amounts to cheap denialism and scapegoating by a man who cannot face his own weaknesses, and who needs to keep pumping lies into his fanatically gullible followers to retain his sway.
As it turns out, every outrage Chamisa committed went towards making Tshabangu and many others, limb by limb until they coalesced into a formidable movement which now threaten to drown him.
Chamisa’s mistakes named Tshabangu
Tshabangu is the Party constitution which Chamisa manacled, chewed and spat down the pit latrine. Tshabangu are the structures which Chamisa flattened in one felling blow, leaving himself as the sole structure of the Party, served and supported by a coterie of ductile and effete minions who dutifully do his bidding on mercurial caprice.
Tshabangu are the numerous heavies Chamisa summarily sacked so he alone would remain the Man-Mountain, amidst a multitude of hapless political Lilliputians. Tshabangu is the rigged and mangled party primaries which allowed him to select his loyal favourites as candidates across the country in the August Harmonised elections; that way Chamisa sought to reproduce himself across constituencies and wards through these alter egos of his.
Tshabangu is thus the outraged elective process Chamisa snubbed and shat on, inside his own party. Yes, Tshabangu today is the hastily and ineptly put together document he now vainly and expediently waves in Court as Triple C’s Constitution. In reality it burlesquely mocks pretensions to intra-party constitutionalism!
Sole custodian of “well-being”!
I opened this piece by reproducing Article 7.3 from Chamisa’s hastily put-together Constitution, itself some charade and parody of intra-party constitutionalism. You do not have to be a legal sage to see that this is some encomium, some praise poem lauding some tinpot dictator.
Reading it convinces you Mobutu’s ghost has resurrected from its Gbadolite sepulchre in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the document, the omnipotent “chief” is mentioned by name to suggest he is a nonpareil; to suggest this sonorous appellation is personal to holder, with no other ever coming after him in the unlikely event the god dies.
“Champion” is his other synonymy, even hitched to “chief” for expressive accentuation. In that sense, he is the “chief champion….the chief spokesperson and chief representative”, only of himself apparently! It is praise poetry through which he seeks to subdue himself in order to reassure himself against any competition.
He is the sole Administrator, the sole President; he is also the sole custodian of documents, property and, most of all “well-being” of everything and everyone!
Master of the burlesque
We have in stylistic studies what we term the mock-heroic. Whoever drafted the document is certainly a master at the mock-heroic, a stylistic device by which actions of the high and mighty are ridiculed throw lowbrow parodies. It is grim humour so masterly contrived by a super-playwright.
And as with all such stylistic instances, it is a way of showing how pretentious power seeks to mask its own impotence through rhetorical flourish and obscene hyperbole.
Wagging the muscle of impotence
Chamisa is plainly impotent; worse neither he nor his party can hide it any longer. This week’s resolution of his Citizen National Assembly, CNA, desperately bleats for dialogue with President Mnangagwa and the ruling Zanu PF.
It is a desperate bleat suggesting the “Chief Champion” is clearly out of options. All pretensions at setting preconditions for the plaintively pleaded dialogue are just that: pretensions! Chamisa desperately needs rescue, and his only rescue and life-line is dialogue with President Mnangagwa.
From using surrogates like Chagonda and Utsiwegota, Chamisa is gradually but inexorably coming forward to plead for interlocution. Even his erstwhile rivals like Mwonzora, Komichi and Mudzuri can now flaunt the chalice of NERA: National Electoral Reforms Agenda, because they are clear the man is now so desperate he can clutch at a serpent.
Stay the desperate course, says America
The same week gave us a well-corroborated piece in which Chamisa is said to be ready to quit politics and the political arena altogether. He is a man dithering on the brink, and close to self-harm, we are told.
The article comes hard behind a similar one recalling his frustrations ahead of the Marondera Rally, during the July-August campaigning phase. Vented at Timba’s Marondera mansion, Chamisa just came short of announcing he was quitting the race, opining he felt lonely in the whole fight against Zanu PF!
It must much worse now. What one found extraordinary about the latest article is a clear admission he is only holding on because of pressure from some African President in our neighbourhood, and because the Americans will not allow him to throw in the towel! Both interventions do not salvage his position; instead they leave him even more exposed as some hapless, inorganic stooge who is kept impotently together by outside forces.
Facing insurrection, implosion?
In the meantime his publicly expressed distaste for looming by-elections, far from turning him into an object of public sympathy, simply stoke more speculation, including raising a key question over who sanctioned recalled MPs to stand in those by-elections if their Supreme Leader and Change Champion does not believe in them? Does this not smack of insubordination and insurrection in the Party and against the sole leader and custodian of party documents, values, property and “wellbeing”?
Why is the Party in Court, against its lack of faith in the country’s justice system? So many questions which are potent pointers to fraught impotence.
Breeding dangerous political fanaticism
Which leaves this donkey baffled to the core: why would even the most die-hard Chamisa supporter not see this raging impotence; correctly take and read the pulse of this dying politician, this atrophising and decaying Party? Don’t they hear the requiem, the burgle? Or is it a case of a saving lie? Against the horror, the horror?
We donkeys seem to read and learn better from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. We know and appreciate that politics, politicians and their followers, much more than Kurtz’s fiancée, need and run on saving lies. From where we stand, the portents are too ghastly to contemplate.
But there is worse for this human society called Zimbabwe. Clearly and frightfully a certain trait is slowly but surely seeping into its political psyche: that of bald denialism and the creation of what Herman calls “necessary illusions” eve against overbearing, outward realities.
We warn: your politics and civilisation seem to breed fanaticism. And to delicately pivot on saving lies! Both are no building blocs for a great democracy!
Positive Eye News