WORLD Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) chief executive Vince McMahon recently did some stunning on-the-stage stuff, subtly calling Zimbabweans zombies during a WWE championship match in Oklahoma, the United States.
This is what McMahon is quoted as saying in his opening remarks at last week’s WWE championship match in question: “Because when I look into the eyes of all these Oklahoma natives, there is no difference than looking into the eyes of Zimbabwe natives.”
Quite a mouthful.
More importantly, though, is that the seasoned wrestler deliberately uses the word “native” twice, obviously for effect, with the second time usage being in direct reference to Zimbabweans.
And just from nowhere, too!
McMahon, without deviating from what appeared like a well choreographed speech, ignored disruptions from his rather vociforous Oklahoma audience, making sure that an average Zimbabwean listener would understand the import of his message.
Considered in its context (to be discussed later), McMahon carefully weighs the word “native” so it signifies adherents of a punishing schedule of retrogressive cultural norms – imposed on a people by their leadership in strict observance of tradition.
Just like in many other paternalistic societies, a number of Zimbabweans have been conditioned through fear of torture or death to heave with fear at the slightest sign of rebuke by those in authority, even in things that would make for their good.
Unlike in other jurisdictions such as neighbouring South Africa, hordes of disgruntled Zimbabwean demonstrators would recoil in fear at the sign of a single baton-wielding police officer and run away in all directions.
But it is what McMahon says next about Zimbabweans that is disturbingly worrisome: “I have been to Zimbabwe; I know.
“I saw the same vacant stare on Zimbabweans that I see on you here tonight.”
The phrase “vacant stare on Zimbabwe natives” is a clearly a euphemism for zombies.
The English Dictionary defines ‘zombie’ as a person, usually undead, animated by unnatural forces (such as magic), with no soul or will of his or her own.
But it is still not clear by whose influence, if any, McMahon was acting here.
What is clear though is that subsequent United States presidents – including incumbent Donald Trump – have all indicated their revulsion of Zimbabwe’s domestic policies, in particular since around 2000 when the country embarked on a violent land reform programme.
So, in McMahon’s view, it is only zombies who will allow the so-called land reform programme – in which the ruling elite and their sidekicks alloted to themselves allbl prime land – to pass for a national programme in spite of the ernomous economic consequences associated with it.
Zombies, in McMahon’s view, will also allow for elections to be stolen as appeared to have happened in 2008, with the winner later settling for a Government of National Unity with the ‘loser’.
But before that in 2003, the same “Zimbabwe natives” had also cringed in trepidation as Mugabe embarked on Operation Restore Order (Operation Murambatsvina), destroying citizens’ homes – including even those of the country’s security personnel – calling them slams.
This is not despite the fact that the so-called illegal structures had been put up in full view of government, only pulling them down after urban dwellers had spurned Mugabe’s Zanu PF in favour of the late Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC party in the previous 2002 elections.
Then in November 2017, Zimbabweans were blindfolded – perhaps just like zombies would – into participating in a coup that was orchestrated by then Army General Constantino Chiwenga, which resulted in the ejection of Mugabe from the helm.
The opposition MDC party also participated in the coup, which ushered incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa to power, believing they would be co-opted into a GNU, something which never happened!
But as if to justify his reference of Zimbabweans as zombies, McMahon adds: “You know, that stare like maybe you are not right there upstairs; you know what I mean?”
So, in McMahon and and his WWE’s view, it is only mentally deranged “Zimbabwe natives” who can allow themselves to suffer such magnitude of abuse at the hands of an authoritarian and perhaps self-serving regime.