Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa: When a clown occupies the palace

President Emmerson Mnangagwa


By Luke Tamborinyoka
DOMBOSHAWA: It is common cause that when a clown occupies the palace, he does not become a king. He simply turns the palace into a circus because by nature, clowns can only run a circus and not a country or any institution that should be taken seriously.

Since he was foisted into office through a coup in November 2017, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa has delivered several laughable antics that are not ordinarily associated with the person and Office of the President.

From making foolish utterances not befitting a Head of State to appearing dishevelled and visibly drunk at a public function, Mnangagwa has been a subject of mirth and derision both locally and internationally.

Some of us, unlike some naive diplomats, had never believed in the first place that Mnangagwa was a business-minded pragmatist and were therefore not surprised when his circus rolled into town masquerading as a new dispensation.

In the very early days soon after the coup, when the purported lawyer appointed into Cabinet a higher threshold of non-elected MPs than was Constitutionally permitted, some of us knew the circus had rolled into town.

The signs were there even in those early hours of his stolen tenure that the clown had occupied the palace.

The comic antics of Mnangagwa’s contested presidency in the past seven years have made the majority of Zimbabweans conclude, with horror and shock, that indeed, dusted and well-polished clay can dupe a people and successfully masquerade as gold.

Mnangagwa has also surrounded himself with other smaller clowns that include dubious clergymen and clergywomen under the moniker Pastors 4 ED, among them comic pastors Passion Java and Ubert Angels.

Take for instance the recent comic performance by Mnangagwa’s lackey, the fake prophet Passion Java, who appeared in some video before some church congregation, purportedly speaking in tongues by uttering Shona words such as “ kunditorera shereni ” (taking money from me).

It was ironic that the people whose money was being taken were the bemused congregants who were spiritedly nodding their heads to the fake prophet, unaware that the whole exercise was not only a comic showcase but an extortionate scam.

Now we hear the Zanu PF machinery was mobilising everyone in Harare to attend Java’s Night of Wonder crusade at the National Sports stadium last night.

Yet we do not even need any night to see the wonder . . . the only true wonder must be how Mnangagwa and the entirety of ZANU PF and government could ever believe that the human joke called Passion could be anything close to being a prophet and a genuine man of God.

Since Java is one character directly housed in the office of the president, his pranks and childish comic antics inevitably rub off to the integrity of Mnangagwa as the Head of State, assuming he still has any iota of honour considering that he himself is the chief clown of the entire circus cast.

Just the quartet of ED and the phoney triumvirate directly linked to him that includes Java, Uebert Angels and Wicknell Chivayo makes a mockery of a serious president of a serious country.

That such a counterfeit triumvirate could be allowed to associate with the president and his office is enough evidence that a clown has occupied the palace.

On another note, in a serious attack on the country’s sovereignty, Zimbabwe will soon be hosting its two “home” football matches in South Africa because our domestic national stadiums have all been condemned.

Yet Mnangagwa’s tummied side-kick Chivayo is busy dishing out money like confetti, bribing the country’s artistes with vehicles and cash.

The cost of just one Mercedes Benz vehicle may be enough to spruce up the National Sports Stadium to meet the required standards. Yet the priority of our clowns remains the bribing of the arts industry and social media influencers for cheap political gain.

When you have a whole president commanding his lieutenants to invest in cheap skits and bribery and not in rehabilitating collapsed national infrastructure, you must know that the clown has occupied the palace.

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation is supposed to be a strategic national entity to which experienced people with wide broadcasting expertise must be deployed.

Yet we learnt 48 hours ago that a rookie, Charles Munganasa, a Zanu PF youth league secretary for administration for the party’s Masvingo province, with no media experience whatsoever, has now been appointed the acting CEO of the ZBC.

All these comic appointments are happening under the clownish watch of one Emmerson Mnangagwa, the jester who has occupied the palace.

Mnangagwa, the clown in our palace, is the same man who Christopher Mutsvangwa told us was now called Mr ”Strong ZIG” in support of the country’s new beleaguered currency. Yet Zimbabweans saw him gifting an 80-year-old dancer with wads of crisp US dollar notes at a time his government is urging everyone else to show confidence in the local currency.

Such a laughable contradiction by the highest office in the land can only happen when the clown has occupied the palace.

Only a month ago, Chivayo donated a car to Mai Welly, a gyrating female activist with a gargantuan derrière who was lauded for dancing at the president’s gatherings.

Now that they have realised that the president’s attention can only be caught by dancing, our underpaid teachers have taken the cue.

The teachers started sending out videos of their dance moves while in class when schools opened on| Tuesday as a way of attracting the attention of the highest office to their plight.

When a country sinks to such levels, where teachers dance in order to catch the attention of their dance-loving employer, then you must know that the clown has occupied the palace.

The idea of clowns at the palace was part of British culture during the Elizabethan times.

As aptly captured by English playwright William Shakespeare in his popular plays, the King himself was not expected to be the clown. But the palace had to have a court jester, then known as a Fool, whose task was to provide comic relief to the serious and vexing issues of State that were transacted at the palace.

But in our case, it is the king himself who has become the court jester. The king has become the clown, in the process bastardising and cheapening the reverence often associated with the highest office in the land.

Though he has reduced himself to a clown, our Mnangagwa is not even equivalent in prudence to the Fool in Shakespeare’s King Lear who spoke sense and pricked the king’s conscience. Mnangagwa is a typical comic clown of cheap amusement in the mould of Launcelot Gobbo in The Merchant of Venice or Gratiano in the same play who was reputed to speak “an infinite deal of nothing”. His friend, Bassanio, said Gratiano’s reasoning was as valueless as two grains of wheat in two bushels of chaff which one may spend all the day seeking yet when you find them, they are not worth the search.

Such is the lowly value of the marbles of Mnangagwa, the clown who has occupied the palace.

In November 2021, at the launch of some scholarship at State House, the leaked video of a visibly drunk Mnangagwa strutting his comic staff at the podium was the clearest evidence yet that a clown had occupied the palace.

In the epic circus optic, his trademark scarf was not strangling the neck as usual. In its place was an unknotted, dangling pink neck-tie that hung loosely across the old, creaking alabaster shoulders while on his face lay a sheepish, stupendous grin that betrayed a vacuously blank mind as two aides held his outstretched hands.

The aides are seen accosting him to what looked like a reluctant podium that appeared not keen to host one so highly inebriated!

A prudent national leader should never be the object of mirth and derision. But when the leaked video of a whole President, visibly drunk and dishevelled at a public function, was circulated widely across the country, some of us knew that a clown had occupied the palace.

When in April last year Mnangagwa sought to give a public lecture and told a bemused nation that when one wants to write one million in figures, they should start by writing down six zeroes, a comma and then the figure 1, we all knew that a clown had occupied the palace.

At one point while in the middle of a public delivery during Easter holidays, unaware that he was on a live microphone, he was heard asking his aides whether Easter was that time when Jesus was born or died . . . He didn’t even know whether Easter was the commemoration of Jesus’ birth or death and loudly asked his minions in the middle of his speech.

Some of us knew then it was all because the clown had occupied the palace.

After officially opening a mortuary, Mnangagwa said he had placed his hand inside and felt that the temperature was okay as it was very cold, adding that he would give a prize to the first bereaved family to use the mortuary: “ Ndakaisa ruoko rwangu maitonhorera chaizvo . Kana watanga kupinda
ndinomupa mari .”

When he made this public promise to reward the first bereaved family to use the mortuary, some of us knew it was all because the clown had occupied the palace.

Nobody but an unhinged clown could crack such a gothic joke.

At one time, he told despondent Zimbabweans to avoid meat if they could not afford it. He instead urged them to settle for cheaper relish such as vegetables and potatoes. He hollered like a tout: “Idyai murivoooo nemapotatoooo!” We knew then that the clown had occupied the palace.

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mnangagwa drunkenly exhorted every Zimbabwean to get vaccinated. He made his public statement while smiling sheepishly: “ Jungwai . Munhu wese anofanira kujungwa.”

Indeed, the clown had occupied the palace.

At one time, Mnangagwa said the government would arrest anyone whose house was found with roaches and other creeping insects: “ Tichasunga munhu wese ane musha une mapete.” The clown had definitely occupied the palace.

When Zimbabweans complained of high prices of goods and services, Mnangagwa urged them to equally hike the prices of whatever they were selling themselves, adding that those who had no price to hike should hike their own trousers and pants: “Kana usina chokukwidza kwidza bhurugwa!” The clown had occupied the palace.

Upon his return from the COP26 summit in Scotland a few years ago, where his minions appeared with trolleys laden with whisky bottles, Mnangagwa, with the exhilaration of an impressionable teenager, told a shocked nation that at long last he had shaken hands with United States President Joe Biden and then British Premier Boris Johnson. A rookie in the world of diplomacy, Mnangagwa naively expressed gratitude that the two leaders had smiled back at him when he greeted them: “Ndakavakwazisa vakanyemwera.” The clown had occupied the palace.

Remember, dear reader, that when a clown occupies the palace, he does not become a King. He simply turns the palace into a circus because by tradition, clowns don’t run countries.

Welcome to the circus that is in Zimbabwe! — Nehanda Radio.

Luke Tamborinyoka is a citizen from Domboshava. He is a journalist and a political scientist.

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