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Peaceful demo?: Part Four

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A PIOUS woman supporting the peaceful demo had urged the youth: “Endai zvenyu vanangu. 

“There is nothing to fear because God is in it. 

“Did you not see from social media how churches, civic society organisations and the opposition leadership have all been praying for divine intervention.”

A guard on a downtown shop munaKaguvi said to a street-dweller: “Uri kuona zviri kuitika?”

The street-dweller split a smile littered with nicotine-stained gnarled teeth and nodded a head as dirty as a public-toilet mop.

In the adjacent alley, some men were hastily loading a kombi (commuter omnibus) with goods from the back of a hardware shop. 

A guard on the look-out gave them a thumbs-up sign and they drove out and he jumped into the vehicle and left with them.

The guard said to the street-dweller: “They are staging a break-in in the name of the demo.”

The street dweller said to the guard: “Let me run and get my share while the chance is still there. 

“Ko ndini ndadii?”

When the street dweller was gone, he did not leave the mind of the guard. 

The street dweller was a new face around Kaguvi Street and the guard thought that he was strangely not difficult to like. 

There was something not of the street in him. Something not easy to finger. 

The guard’s humble intellect lacked the sophistication to pin-point the inconsistency. 

He shrugged his poor shoulders and keenly awaited the return of the native.

He had enjoyed his company throughout the night and wanted him to stay until he knocked off at nine.

In a surgery in the avenues, a patient waiting for the doctor to arrive was offered magazines to read and she happened to come across an article that said that one in every 1 000 African-Americans was expected to be killed by police. 

She was mortified.

Not the US!

Not the free world!

Not the land of opportunity!

The Patient showed the receptionist the article and asked: “Nhai zviri kutaurwa apa ichokwadi here?”

Her own daughter had just gotten a visa to go there. Getting the visa had been a feat – a study programme and exams testing the applicant’s intimate knowledge of the Founding Fathers of the US. 

The Patient had helped the daughter revise the information given by the embassy and now knew lots about Christopher Columbus, George Washington, General Eisenhower, General Grant … much, much more than she had ever cared to know about Murenga, Chaminuka, Chinengundu and others.

The receptionist finished reading the article and looked awkwardly at The Patient.

When the question remained on The Patient’s face the receptionist felt compelled to say something. 

She leaned forward and said: “It looks like the victims are mostly the descendants of former slaves – the descendants of those stolen from Africa. 

“They invoke the US constitution to demand equality with Americans of European descent who know that they descended from slaves and despise them. 

“On the other hand, the black people who are awarded American visas today go there as beneficiaries of white supremacist mercy. 

“The attendant feeling of gratitude very often translates to a self-censorship that compels them to accept second-class treatment. 

“In that sense, they are considered a lesser problem because they have generally accepted the inferiority status that feeds the white supremacist ego.”

There were parts of the explanation The Patient did not understand but much of it made enough sense to make her no longer celebrate her daughter’s visa achievement.

The doctor came in.

The receptionist greeted him and he said: “I almost decided not to come. 

“The quiet on the ground is promising a violent peaceful demo.”

The Patient said: “Musanditaurire. 

“How am I going to get back home?”  

The human rights activists demonstrating at the UN and the opposition lobbying the US Congress for stiffer sanctions against Zimbabwe wanted pictures and videos especially of security forces beating up ‘peaceful demonstrators’ on the street.

One of their many people on the ground was telling them to wait. 

He was promising that things would soon heat up.

The youths who had turned-up for the beers and other things to prime them up for the peaceful demo had been far more than the man on the ground had expected. 

If the sponsors had seen the milling youths, they would obviously have seen an advantage in that. 

They would have been elated. 

But it was not so for the man on the ground. 

He had already committed their money to something else. 

He had bought his girlfriend a VW Polo!

The situation was getting even more complicated for the man on the ground. 

There had already been a fight in his backyard. 

A couple of youths had been caught trying to sneak out with some of the beers and other things already in short supply and they had been given the beating of their lives.

When the man saw the video of the beating caught on his son’s phone, a solution to his problem had suddenly occurred to him. 

The video could be edited and posted as state-sponsored youths breaking-up a peaceful demo.

But it soon became clear that it could not be that simple. The agitated youths were demanding more beers and other things and their song, ‘Hameno Ikoko’ was an unmistakable call for violence:

“Vatipa doro ka2-litre

Ndokumona mbanje ye-centimetre

Tinodhakwa here vakomana?

Tinodhakwa here boyz dzangu?

Manje hamheno

Hamheeeno

Manje hamheno

Hamheno ikoko!”

He desperately started thinking of a way out. 

His losses could ultimately surpass the cost of the VW Polo he had bought for his girlfriend.

The husband of the woman who had been beaten-up by her friend’s house maid and was not angry that his wife had been beaten-up was glad he had not gone to work. 

His wife was in bed and refusing to talk to anyone.  

He thought it was a blessing in disguise because he no longer had to worry about her participation in the peaceful demo. 

He had brought out some beers and settled to watching TV.

And, on CNN President Paul Kagame of Rwanda was saying: “Democracy is not defined by the West. 

No. 

If it does then what happens of the contradictions that happen in the West where they elect their leaders and then turn around and start complaining about the same leaders they have elected. 

So, you are telling me democracy, therefore, has imperfections whether it is in the West or anywhere else.”

At the surgery in the avenues, the doctor was done with The Patient who immediately asked if she could remain in the clinic until the peaceful demo was over. 

Social media was already awash with gruesome images of the peaceful demo. 

One image showed a man lying in a pool of blood alongside a bruised half-naked woman. 

Both were apparently dead. 

There were other images of burning tyres and rocks strewn on roads and making them impassable.

On the TV hung up high on the clinic wall, Al Jazeera was covering the story of French soldiers using Afghan prisoners of war as live targets for shooting practice in the armed democracy they had helped create in Afghanistan.

A Nigerian in a motor spares shop heard the singing and checked his weapon, a 9mm Browning pistol sold to him by the boys. 

He did not have papers for it. 

He had been shown how to use it but had never fired it.

The wife looked at him and asked: “What do you intend to do with that yooo?”

“Protect my property from the thieves,” he said. 

“You think I can just lie back and let them break in and take everything?”

He pushed the loaded magazine into its slot and it clicked.

The wife got frightened and said: “I won’t be there.” She walked out and left him alone.

The weapon had strange mass.

He remembered the process the seller had called ‘cocking’.

He got hold of the top part of the weapon and slid it back and immediately let go.

Pleased with his progress, he said to himself: “What next?”

He remembered the thug pushing a small lever on the side of the weapon

He turned the weapon sideways and found the lever and pushed it down

He raised the strange mass to look at closely in admiration.

His finger moved in the trigger guard.

There was an explosion, the sound of a falling body and other sounds of uncontrolled movement.

The wife came back running and screamed.

The husband was lying slumped against a bench on the floor.

The door into the street was still locked from inside.

On social media, some tweets were questioning the total absence of those who had organised the peaceful demo from the street.

To be continued…

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