By Maynard Manyowa
Zimbabwe’s Information Minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo, and South Africa’s first black central bank Governor Tito Mboweni were last week engaged in a bitter, fierce, no holds barred fight on twitter.
I showed up a little bit late to assume my seat and enjoy Africa’s equivalent / rendition of Mayweather – Pacquiao.
By all means and yardsticks, never mind the vulgar protestations of some quarters, Prof Moyo and Mboweni are giants in Africa. Jonathan Moyo, sparing no reservation, is an immense figure in Africa’s political dynamic. Hate him or love him, the Professor is the most uncredited cog in the infamous Zanu PF machine.
History rudely pronounces that during the lengthy time of his unceremonious absence in Zanu PF’s politburo and government, the machine lost elections spectacularly, to the point where alleged voter rigging could not help them. (i.e. 2005 Parliamentary elections, and 2008 harmonised elections)
Tito Mboweni on the other hand is one of Africa’s most celebrated economists, and a respected voice. The eighth governor of South Africa’s central bank, Tito was the first black person to occupy that post.
In a clash not foretold even by contemporary prophecy, the two giants of the south clashed on twitter. As the matter eventually meandered to its natural ‘trend death’, I could not help but reflect on the entire clash, and weigh in with a decree that I am well entitled to.
While Tito Mboweni may have had the unequivocal support of the masses, and though I, like many, definitely differ with Professor Moyo on a lot of issues outside the bone of contention central to the subject at hand, it must be stated, from a basis of sense, intellect, and debate, that Professor Moyo stripped Mboweni bare to his knickers!
The base of Mboweni’s entire argument is daft. According to him, “young people =democracy & old people =dictatorship!”
This is thorough rubbish! Mboweni’s tweet easily implies and states as fact, that, democracy is correspondent to age. That young leadership under 50 is defining of egalitarianism, and absolute rule is synonymous with old age. I must say, such reasoning borders on unintelligent absurdity.
Surely Mboweni is an educated economist, but if he believes being long-standing translates to despotism, then he is undoubtedly a hapless ‘no-brain’ in the political realm.
The fact is, more than a few autocrats are under 50. North Korea’s dictator is 32! A good 18 years below Mboweni’s superficial timestamp by which leaders spontaneously become dictators. This means that, either Mboweni has somewhat lost his numerical prowess, or he views Kim Jong-un’s Korea as a very democratic state. All of which does make him appear very dull!
This has nothing to do with a certain nonagenarian who is repeatedly called a dictator in a certain land north of the Limpopo by the way. Educated and perceptive minds must discuss and debate fact as it is, and the plain fact here is that Mboweni’s belief in age=democracy does not even rise to the levels where it can qualify as bull excretes!
Tito’s claim is as silly as they get! Professor Moyo was bang on the money in his factual rebuff. Deep down, a proud but defeated Mboweni knows this, hence he was very quick to drift away from arguing for his ‘drunk’ hypothesis, which is very deficient of reality I must add, and instead choose to draw on Moyo’s poor conduct and record in other matters, which are outside of the initial argument.
Put simply, Professor Moyo stands accused of ‘gross things’, and that is as polite as one can ever put it. But that does not disqualify him from reprimanding unsubstantiated and ignorant statements, even from a respected economist like Titus Mboweni.
Look, even Mboweni himself stands faulted for perpetuating black impoverishment. Under his watch, poor blacks remain rooted in the slums of Khayelitsha and Diepsloot, while his imperialist ‘white masters’ lick the good honey off SA.
Should this accusation then disqualify him from making comments about Jonathan Moyo’s horrific inadequacies? Probably not, but I guess in a bare knuckle public fight, there are no rules and sense does not prevail. In a political fight, it is not a facts game, after the warm greetings, it quickly becomes about hitting where it hurts the most, and both brawlers held no punches.
Though they were somewhat irrelevant, we cannot ignore the real matters that Tito Mboweni raised. Jonathan Moyo is in some way or another involved in the destruction of a once vibrant and growing Zimbabwe, and for that he deserves a ‘talking to’.
It is a fact that Zanu PF Big Wigs trot down to the rainbow to enjoy luxuries that they deny their own people, largely through bad governance and poor policy. In that regard, Mboweni is correct to call Moyo to order! Moyo cannot be highly critical of a government and a people who are doing so much better than him, and his (sic).
It is also undebatable fact that at least 3 million Zimbabwean migrants in South Africa agree with Titus. The good life is in Mzansi, not in sovereign Zimbabwe!
Look, even Professor Moyo’s children have reportedly graduated from South African institutions of higher learning, despite his pride in Zimbabwe’s education system. While he was enforcing 100% local content on state operated broadcasters, he lavishly enjoyed the extravagance of South African Satellite Broadcaster, DSTV. So I guess, even Professor Moyo too knows the good life is in Mzansi!
Mboweni is spot on to lambast that ‘educated’ Zimbabweans are waiters all the way from Musina to Capetown. These are highly proficient and intelligent Zimbabweans, failed, not by a supreme education system, but a very corrupt government. Mboweni rightly stresses that his efforts to help Zimbabwean people while governor of SA’s reserve bank during the crisis of 2008, were stifled and spurned by Moyo, though he does mean people like Moyo.
In concluding scrutiny, Tito Mboweni is wide of the mark in his deliberation that age = democracy, but he is precise in his conjecture that Zimbabweans are suffering under the brunt of poor governance, from Jonathan Moyo, or people like him if you want to nit-pick!
Professor Jonathan Moyo is dead-on to argue that Mboweni’s age = democracy hypothesis is nonsensical, but he is in the wrong to argue that he, and all other Zimbabweans revel in a better lifestyle than South Africans. That is preposterous!
The twar (twitter war) seems to have died down, and I will retreat to further thought.
Enough said, this is Africa! ….
Maynard Manyowa is a political & social analyst. You can reach him for feedback via his website www.maynardmanyowa.com , via email – firstname.lastname@example.org , on Twitter – @iAmKudaMaynard or by liking his FB page – Maynard Kudakwashe Manyowa