‘Fist’ versus ‘Open Palm’: Season of Symbols, Slogans and Chants
Zimbabwe has entered in another interesting, yet frightening season of party symbols, chants, ululations, jingles, songs, poems, dance and slogans. It is an era of the unfolding of different linguistic jargon that seeks to manipulate public consciousness. Many now fear for their lives, as Zimbabwe seems geared for a make or break election come hail, come thunder! Politicians across the political divide are now in an election mood. This speaks to the fact that, we are going to witness another bloodbath as aspiring legislators canvass and lure the electorate for votes at whatever cost. It is an era that will be characterised by the instrumentalisation of fear. An epoch, when politicians legitimise and condone violence. Like in any other previous election, taking from the year 2000 to date, this year’s elections are going to be decided basing on the narratives surrounding these two images (fist and open palm).
We have indeed entered a season were we are all subjected to hearing the monotonous jingles by the hip-throwing and bum jiving Mbare chimurenga choir-Vapambevhu vari kuzhamba (colonisers are crying).It is an era were we are subjected to huge dosages of party propaganda. The season of manipulation and indoctrination is upon us. It is a season in which we all fear the knock on our doors after dusk. A season of uncertainty, mistrust, fear, political madness, division, acrimony and fist fighting. It is also an era characterised with hate speech and language.
In the ZANU PF party, they will use the famous slogan which reads Asingazivi ngaadzidziswe loosely translated meaning (those who don’t know should be taught).This teaching involves the use of force in teaching (the so called sell-outs) the party ideology. During this season, we will all forget Jürgen Habermas’s description of an ideal public space, a space where people can engage in open and rational debate over matters of general concern, and in which “agreement should be secured through the force of the better argument, rather than through any exercise or threat of physical force.” It is a season when people will choose to resort to the latter.
For the MDC this is the season for the slogan Naye mudenge ,muroverei pasi bwaa loosely translated meaning (lift him in the air and smash him/her to the ground). It is a season when we forget to speak law to power.
It is a season of dominant political party campaign discourses and narratives. However; more often these narratives are half-truths and at most outright lies. It is an era of the framing of the election manifestoes which are peppered and curried with flowery sweet nothings. Oftentimes, concepts like good governance, human rights, empowerment, rule of law, indigenisation, growth and development become more prominent than ever before. Oftentimes, these concepts are abused and emptied of their true meaning and value. It is an era/epoch of donations amidst ululations, song and dance.
It is an era of ‘I will bring you more if you Vote for Me’. An era of ‘I am your child’, ‘I was given the mandate by the people’, so Vote for me and I will source for donors and I will create employment for the youths. It is indeed an era of countless promises. Despite all the lying and political grandstanding, we have now entered again in an era when the fist and the open palm symbols become more significant. It is an era of the waving of an unclenched fist-epitomising, transparency, accountability, justice, freedom, equality, rule of law, social justice, emancipation, growth, equity, job creation and sustainable development. It is also a season were the same hand at any moment can be clenched into a fist. The fist will signify and act as a typification of the revolutionary symbol (unity, patriotism, pan-Africanism, self-determination, sovereignty, territorial integrity, anti-neo colonialism, afro-centricism, empowerment, indigenisation, and agrarianism). It is a season where our fate and destiny is going to be decided through these two political party symbols. It is also a season, when the spiral of violence will recur, painfully, it is an era when the spiral of silence will also take centre stage in our public discourses.