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Sucking Up: President ED Mnangagwa is not Some Ice Cream

Dear congregants don’t be intimidated by the big words, you know these sycophants, these flatterers and apparatchiks. These are those peopl...

Dear congregants don’t be intimidated by the big words, you know these sycophants, these flatterers and apparatchiks. These are those people who praise your every decision, who even before seeing you tell you how smart you are and how brave you are. 

They tell you that everyone loves you so much. You know them, those smooth talkers who deceive you with their lush words that are meant to make you feel good.

We are not going to waste time on professional pessimists in our midst. These were always waiting to say something negative about President Mnangagwa and his new Cabinet. The biggest worry for President Mnangagwa are the sycophants, flatterers and apparatchiks.

The Bible in Ephesians 6 vs 6 calls them “man-pleasers” and it has no kind words for such people because they lived and continue to live for nothing else but to please their rulers. Let me bring this story home and put it into context so that you know exactly what I am talking about.

“Truly speaking, in heaven there is God and here on earth there is an angel called Robert Gabriel Mugabe. You are representing God here on earth.

“I promise you, people, that when we go to heaven don’t be surprised to see Robert Gabriel Mugabe standing beside God vetting people into heaven. Gushungo, you are an angel.
President Mnangagwa and Former President Robert Mugabe

“Amai Mugabe, you are a wife of an angel so when people enter heaven and when it’s Zimbabwe’s turn, you will be seated there, with secretary for administration (Ignatius) Chombo having names, while you will be vetting those whom you know.” Do you remember these words by former Zanu-PF Youth League leader Kudzanai Chipanga?

It’s important to clear the air – Former President Mugabe remains Zimbabwe’s founding revolutionary leader and his special place in history is guaranteed, but what kind of bootlicking was that from little Chipanga?

Maybe Chipanga was trying to outdo Cde Webster Shamu who in 2011, shocked the wondering world when he called the then President Mugabe “cremora” adding that he would have preferred the President to be his father. “Gushungo, people say you have cremora, the whole body. . .” said Cde Shamu without any shame.

Hope you now get the drift dear congregants. Such people are going to swarm President Mnangagwa. If you think Bishop Lazarus is just being a hater, just look at how both the private and public media are being swarmed and bombarded with messages to congratulate the President. 

The job for advertising managers in the media has never been this easy because the adverts to flatter President Mnangagwa keep coming. Full page adverts and adverts on prime pages – never mind the advertising rates. Kunanzva mukuru ED hakuna price that’s too high.

Let’s define terms briefly so that we are all on the same page. Sycophant was a term used in the legal system of Classic Athens but in modern English it refers to someone practicing sycophancy what others call obedient flattery. 

Professor Shrikant puts it clearer when he describes a sycophant, a flatterer as an intellectual person, a good judge of nature and situation, who possess presence of mind and has command over certain words. Such a person has a well-rehearsed way of presentation and a “sweet” tongue mixed with immense patience to wait for the right moment.

Just looking at the plethora of adverts and some of the congratulatory messages from Ministers, Government departments, parastatals and local authorities, one can see that President Mnangagwa is going to be overwhelmed by these sycophants. President vachapera nekunanzwa.

For those with a keen interest in understanding what President Mnangagwa is going to face, the book “Sucking Up: A Brief Consideration of Sycophancy” by Deborah Parker and Mark Parker is a must read. In graphic detail, the book examines sycophancy from several perspectives from the earliest types in classical literature and history, through the models developed by modern sociology, but most of all through the lens of literature.

Then there are the apparatchiks, which is a Russian word from Communist times which meant bureaucrats, who ended up working in some system. These people virtually lost their identity to the system and became part of it. As they seek promotion in the system, these bureaucrats’ conscience is silenced in order to facilitate their safety and rise up the ladder.

These apparatchiks will be found in abundance in Cabinet and Government corridors. Vanhu kunyarara kuti ziii, kwanzi tingatsamwise President basa rikapera. We saw many of these apparatchiks during former President Mugabe’s time.

But some people argue that all human beings are sycophants, one degree or another. They even add that there is nothing to be ashamed of as sycophancy is one of the most moral and ancient traditions because most religions require people to be worshippers.

For example, these people argue that we must pray to gain favours from God and that praying is a public display and acknowledgement that one is a faithful sycophant of God.

Vamwewo nemafungiro avo, but what is obvious is that flattery and sycophancy well-used can be a powerful tool for advancement. Bishop Lazarus is seeing sycophants who think their path to glory and promotion rests in “licking” the President. Such people have no other motive or goal than to please the President.

They will silence their conscience in order to submit their hearts and lives to please the President.

Well, Bishop Lazarus has very bad news for the sycophants and the apparatchiks both in and outside Government. President Mnangagwa is not some ice-cream. Those with insatiable appetite for “licking,” the advice is simple – tengai ice-cream yenyu munanzve musiyane naPresident.

President Mnangagwa knows that elections are coming next year. He knows some people are accusing him of turning Cabinet into an “industry for his boys.” He knows some in his Cabinet are being labelled as dead-wood. He knows all eyes, both locally and internationally are on him.

The President resisted the temptation to form a transitional government incorporating the opposition political parties. He refused kumutsa zvitunha zveku opposition zvanga zvoti heyo resurrection.

You really think the President doesn’t know tsoro yavari kutamba? Just a quicker reminder – President Mnangagwa is a qualified lawyer, a veteran of the liberation struggle and a long-time student of one of Africa’s political grandmasters, Cde Mugabe. Surely, such a politician knows kuti joker anokandwa what time.

With elections coming next year, why would he want to give the opposition some piece of glory? Kudzosa Morgan mugame kuti zvadii? The opposition continues crying foul, but President Mnangagwa has shuffled his cards and thrown his joker.

Air Marshal Perrance Shiri zete at the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement and Major-General Sibusiso Moyo pfee as Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Tell me something dear congregants, so you thought soldiers belong to the barracks and all they could do was to drive those menacing army tanks? Kunyeperana kwanzi masoja haana kudzidza. Well, we have gone command economy and these comrades have a point to prove.

Seeing that mining contributes significantly to the revival of the economy, President Mnangagwa hunted for Mr Winston Chitando, the chief executive officer at Mimosa Mining Company. Kwanzi mining yese iri kufara because panoti Chitando ndipo panoti mining. The man has been doing wonders at Mimosa and Hwange Colliery. Lets just watch as Chitando does what he knows best.

Besides assembling Cabinet, President Mnangagwa has already started tweaking laws that have been scarring international investors and blocking direct foreign investment. Everything is being done meticulously so as to come up with win-win deals.

Bishop Lazarus is actually excited about this Cabinet. The ministers know that soon it will be judgment time. Somewhere in 2018, a protest vote is waiting if the President and his team fail to deliver.

So this is not the time for sycophants and apparatchiks. Enough of the congratulatory messages in the media. Those messages don’t kick-start the economy and those adverts won’t win President Mnangagwa votes next year.

In the book, “The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu,” Zhuangzi warns us that “Moreover, I have heard that those who are fond of praising men to their faces are also fond of damning them behind their backs.”

Machiavelli offers some advice saying: ““There is no other way of guarding oneself from flatterers except by letting men understand that you will not be offended if they tell you the truth. . .”

President Mnangagwa should be ruthless in dealing with sycophants and apparatchiks because nguva yekunyeperana and yekufadzana hapana. The people are watching and as the President has repeatedly told us “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” - The Sunday Mail

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