"Invest in the change you want to see"

- Mutumwa Mawere -

Battle of Ideas: Mawere's response to Manyowa

Posted on October 22th 2015

Maynard Manyowa THE critical importance of understanding the interplay between institutions and human beings cannot be understated. The very essence of the human spirit allows for the transformation of ideas and dreams into concrete products and solutions that can add value to the experience of life.

Human beings exist but are perishable. They have a limited shelf life and institutions have the appearance of perpetual life simply because of the reproductive power of humans and the inherent seamless generational transition.

It is clearly evident in the reply of Mr. Maynard Manyowa titled: "Straw Men and Playing the Devil's Advocate - A response to Mutumwa Mawere" to my response to his construction that Zanu PF lives in the form of a monster that feeds on its children and their dreams too; that there is a lot of work to be done to improve literacy on institutions if Zimbabwe's promise of a better life has to be realised.

There could be no better words than what President Mugabe said in his address at the 99th Session of the Zanu PF Central Committee in Harare on Friday, 16 October 2015 when he said: "Zanu PF would always be there as long as people existed..." to explain the utility value of institutions only if underpinned by living human beings.

Without the people, the need for institutions is academic. These creatures are a product of human organisation for the sole purpose of serving human needs. It is the case that, in their name, a lot can be done that institutions have over time acquired the mistaken identity of human beings. A primitive understanding of institutions will necessarily place them at par with human beings but, in reality, institutions are dead without the ideas and imagination of the people they are intended to service.

Mr. Manyowa sought to argue that: "the institution of Zanu PF had conspired to deliberately frustrate the dreams, hopes, aspirations and business empires of several key players," whereas in my reply, I sought to argue that an institution is incapable of conspiring let alone cause injury to any person.Mutumwa Mawere

The two views above are not unique to their proponents and may even appear irrelevant to the issues that matter to the progress and prosperity of Zimbabwe, yet a correct understanding of the nature, design, operations and role of institutions can go a long way towards changing the mind whose imagination and creativity is the only instrument that can assist in delivering the promise of a safe and happy life.


It is always convenient to point fingers at others and even more convenient to link the progress or lack of it to inanimate institutions like political and state entities. The moment a mind surrenders its thinking capacity to generalisations then one must know that the purpose of life is undermined. Human beings are born and one can touch and feel them. Institutions although born, have no capacity to think and act independent of mankind.

The Zimbabwe African National Union ("ZANU") is just an idea that only acquires the personality and character of the people who choose to think and act in its name. It may not be apparent that when ZANU was formed, the idea was that, like the African National Congress ("ANC"), the oldest African liberation and political organisation, the African National Union of the people of Zimbabwe would be a platform for the people who subscribed to the idea that Africans, broadly defined at the time as the natives of the country, would be the driving forces of the post-colonial state based on their majority population.

One cannot appreciate the subtle contradictions in the name ZANU especially in relation to the identity question. A Zimbabwean is person who lives in small part of the continent of Africa and, therefore, can never assume an identity that is independent of the whole. We are African because we choose to live in Africa. One can easily say without any fear of any contradiction that all black people are African but not all Africans are black.

It would be plainly obvious to many that Mr. Manyowa's reasserted construction that the institution of Zanu PF could conceivably conspire as he alleges reflects a deep-seated misunderstanding of where the individual ends and the institution begins. Simply put, human beings are not institutions and institutions are not human.

Mr Manyowa attempts to make a causal connection between the alleged misdeeds of Zanu PF and the decision by the so-called targeted black Zimbabweans to absent themselves from Zimbabwe. He also fails to appreciate the heterogeneity of the group choosing to make general statements about the actions and choices of sovereign individuals without even affording them an opportunity to express themselves as to the reasons for their choices.

He ignores completely the facts and circumstances applicable to me all in the interests of trying to prove a tired hypothesis that the decision to leave Zimbabwe was connected to the so-called conspiratorial activities of Zanu PF. Mr. Manyowa fails to acknowledge and appreciate that many individuals including Messrs Mushore, Muponda, Vingirai among others have chosen to return and live in Zimbabwe without any meaningful change to the conditions that he alleges were responsible for their decisions to leave. He also fails to appreciate the fact that persons who choose to run away from one state to another often are only eligible for asylum status in the host country.

I can't speak for other individuals suffice to say that my decision to leave Zimbabwe predated the SMM saga and as such the two choices could never have been connected. One would have thought that in his response to my reply, Mr. Manyowa would at the very least incorporate my objective circumstances in his response. Notwithstanding, he persists in asserting this link clearly to prove his point that a real link exists and existed between the choices made at the individual level with the purported Zanu PF shenanigans.

ZANU-PFHe also makes the mistake of assuming as fact that individuals work for an inanimate nation-state when in truth and fact, individuals are self-centred at best and are more creative when they know that the fruits of their labour would be harvested by them rather than by third parties including inanimate institutions. The idea that the purpose of human life can be "to make a contribution to the nation" is so far removed from the actual experience of life where individuals are driven by passion and self-interest.

It is clear that Mr. Manyowa believes that there is a difference between an individual who chooses to remain in the country of birth and another who migrates. However, expatriates are also human beings who at best try to navigate through the process of life, hard as it is, with the single purpose of advancing their personal and not any national interest. Indeed, I introduced the idea that in the beginning of time, when humans were created there was no business and clearly no politics in the human eco-system.

One would naturally have expected Mr. Manyowa to contest this idea with an alternative one. He makes the argument that human beings were not created yet fails to appreciate the origins of Adam and the fact that he could not trade let alone reproduce without a woman being brought into existence. If human civilization has taught us that two persons of opposite sex have the capacity to reproduce another human being, it follows that the first individual must have originated from a different logic.

In a dismissive style that is characteristic of people who are allergic to alternative thinking, Mr. Manyowa attempts to delink humanity from the business of politics and commercial enterprise. Humans have evolved and one would expect that there was a time when human beings did not need a government to be human. In fact, it would be common cause that human beings do not need to belong to political institutions to be human.

The late Baroness Thatcher once said society does not exist but human beings do, meaning that it is the sum of individuals each with his or her own aspirations that make a society. Indeed, Zanu PF without members is just a pipe dream. It would appear fairly straightforward that the purpose of business is to serve and a company is merely a vehicle to deliver a promise. Equally, Zanu PF is just a vessel to deliver the promise. However, the vessel has no capacity to move from point A to point B without human effort.

It seems self-evident that the past 35 years of independence could very well have been squandered especially when one has regard to the glaring ignorance that informs many of the ideas about the State and the role of its actors in delivering the promise. The dominance of one individual in the name of President Robert Mugabe and the fact that he is a member of Zanu PF has tended to distort the relevance and role of Zanu PF in the lives of Zimbabweans.

Mr. Manyowa makes the point that my views on Zanu PF are dangerous and smack of creative thinking yet he fails to provide the basis on which he makes these wild allegations. I still maintain that Zanu PF is just an instrument of members to achieve certain ends and, on its own as an institution; the organisation has no aspirations outside the four corners of its location in the minds and hearts of individual actors.

Accordingly, contrary to Mr. Manyowa's assertion, Zanu PF can never be active but its members have minds that can be used for good or evil. Zanu PF, therefore, as an institution can never shoulder any blame for it is not capable of acting independent of its constituent parts i.e. members.

One would expect any rational person to know that there is a legal difference between Zanu PF and the government of Zimbabwe. Indeed, it is the case that the same faces that are dominant in government are also key actors in the party. However, the government of Zimbabwe is a peoples' project whereas Zanu PF is a members' project.

Mr. Manyowa wrongly contends that one should not divorce Zanu PF from the government of Zimbabwe. He relies on the fact that the actors in Zanu PF are the same as the actors in government and, therefore, it is the party that must be held accountable and not its actors. Mr. Manyowa believes that Zanu PF ought to be the culpable party in relation to the condition that the people of Zimbabwe find themselves after 35 years of independence.

He also makes the point that in respect of the SMM saga, the state actors who were the driving minds behind the company's demise should not be singled out for their own misdeeds and deeds. He asserts that VP Mnangagwa and Hon. Chinamasa to the extent that they were actively responsible for the financial demise of SMM, their acts must have been approved by the party.

It is convenient to allocate a thinking mind to the party as evil people can escape accountability on the grounds that their actors were inspired by a public good. In any system in which an individual is placed on a higher moral pedestal, one should be alive to the dangers that lie ahead. Too much power vested in any living person is dangerous.

SMM is one of many examples of how absolute power can corrupt absolutely. Any one close to the BIG MAN does not have to worry for it is easy to blindfold an individual than to blindfold an entire nation of sovereign people.

No one has been called to order in respect of SMM as the culture of impunity takes root easily in an undemocratic dispensation. It is always convenient to venture into the minds of founding fathers of nations to better understand the concepts that we all too often take for granted. One such founding father is George Washington, the first President of the rebellious new nation now called the United States of America, the first human experiment involving a heterogeneous group of people framing the foundations of a new civilization based on breaking the blood bonds of birth.

He aptly said the following: "All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency.

"They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests."

If one carefully goes through the thinking behind the above words, one can appreciate the corrosive nature of political institutions yet human civilization has not provided an alternative form of organisation for a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community who wish to pretend that they possess a superior gift to direct and manage the affairs of others; to assume the control of the state under the guise that such enterprise is done purely for public good.

IN RESPONSE TO: Straw men & playing the devil's advocate: In response to Mutumwa Mawere 


Comments by PHINIAS MAKONI (2016-05-14 12:22:07) from ZIMBABWE

Your pen is mightier than the sword. I like the way you articulate on issues. Start a movement and see if I will not follow you.

Comments by farai Mudimu (2016-09-14 03:15:10) from Zimbabwe

You really said it all that's we are really indeed need people who have capability to make Zimbabwe tomorrow like you.

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