By Tafara Shumba
A party which fielded a winning candidate ordinarily walks on air upon the announcement of election results. Temba Mliswa who romped to victory on an independent ticket in the Norton by-election on Saturday, has no such political home that can jump for joy with him.
Nevertheless, the Norton election results obviously sent certain people in the seventh heaven. There was joy at a certain headquarter in Langley, Virginia. The Company (nickname for the Central Intelligence Agency) was certainly more ecstatic and more excited by the Norton results than Mliswa himself.
Mliswa (pictured) has been a useful mole for the ‘Virginia Farm Boys’ during his time as Zanu PF Provincial Chairman for Mashonaland West and Zanu PF legislator for Hurungwe West.
He is one of the 12 Zanu PF Members of Parliament who were exposed for hobnobbing with Eric Little, a well-known CIA agent deployed at the US embassy in Harare, cloaked as second secretary for parliamentary affairs. Little recruited Mliswa from Zanu PF and James Maridadi as well as Willas Madzimure from the MDC-T stable. The trio supplied him with the developments in their respective parties in exchange for largesse.
Little was still trying to recruit 11 more Zanu PF legislators when his clandestine activities were exposed. He used the $90 000 Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Programme to entice legislators to brief him on classified information on their parties.
The attempt to massively recruit government officials came in the wake of a implicit admission by Washington that they were working with government officials to effect regime change in Zimbabwe.
“There will be a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe and we need to start preparing for that eventuality. We need to engage more extensively with civil society, with the press and we need to start engaging with some government officials… to press them to bring about change in their government so that we can be prepared for that,” said the US Assistant Secretary of State (African Affairs), Mrs Linda Thomas Greenfield while speaking at George Washington University in the United States in November 2014.
Mliswa was a willing tool in this nefarious project. He took Little to Mashonaland West where he was introduced to everybody who mattered in the CIA’s regime change project. Councilors, village headmen, Zanu PF provincial executives and heads of provincial government departments were all introduced to Little with a view to recruiting them.
Things went haywire when Mliswa was expelled from Zanu PF and subsequently recalled from parliament. His expulsion meant that he no longer had access to information for ‘The Company.’ The Virginia Farm Boys tried to prop up him in the Hurungwe West by-election so that he could remain in parliament and continue to supply them with information.
This time around, The Company made sure that their boy is back in parliament. Money was generously poured in Norton. Impeccable sources had it that Mliswa crossed to Botswana every two weeks to take delivery of undisclosed largesse from CIA agents based in that country for campaigning and vote buying. He chose to take the delivery in Botswana away from the glare of observers of course. He could afford to hire 80 campaign managers whom he handsomely paid.
The Company had to direct Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the MDC-T to support their boy if he still entertained the hope of being bankrolled in the 2018 elections. This explains why Tsvangirai deployed his deputy Nelson Chamisa to Norton. Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF), People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and all other small parties save for Lovemore Madhuku’s National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) were all enticed into supporting Mliswa.
It is therefore a gross ingratitude for Mliswa to single out Tsvangirai for his appreciation. His victory is a product of a combined opposition effort and many other auxiliary factors. Hopefully Mliswa will not misconstrue himself as a big man in town and attempt to enter the presidential race.
Mliswa’s victory vindicated Zanu PF which is always accused of stealing an election when the results are in its favour. The party badly needed to retain that seat. As democratic as it is, it conceded defeat nevertheless. The opposition camp believes that elections are only free and fair when they are in its favour.
However, Mliswa is not the caliber of legislators Zimbabweans are currently looking for. Zimbabwe now wants legislators who can vociferously speak against corruption. Mliswa has no moral ground to do so for he is not clean at all. It’s too early to forget about the $165 million backhander he demanded from businessman Mr Muller Conrad Billy Rautenbach to facilitate his bid to have a stake in Hwange Colliery, Unki Mine and Green Fuel ethanol.
But somebody is responsible for the re-entrance of this spy into the august house. Several opinions on what went wrong have been penned and hopefully the message has reached the intended destination. Zanu PF has to wake up and rectify the error before the 2018 do or die election.
Zanu PF has to sincerely act on corruption, which is Zimbabwe’s enemy number one.
The Norton by-election has shown the opposition the potential that a grand coalition has in dislodging the revolutionary party out of power. Zanu PF must forge its own internal grand coalition to survive the 2018 elections. Mliswa himself said that it was very easy to wrestle the Norton seat from Zanu PF because the ruling party was torn apart by factionalism and corruption. That’s a generous advice from a rival.
The loss of Norton seat incensed many people. If it were a game of soccer, the supporters would have violently demanded the expulsion of the coach. Some of the fans would have laid a bet on their team, thus they would have a lot to lose. In the same vein, many Zanu PF supporters have placed a stake on Team Zanu PF and for them losing is not an option. Therefore, the coach of Team Zanu PF, who is the commissar, must shape up or ship out before the stakeholders demand for his substitution.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.