Muckraker: Name the Heroes of our Struggle

ZTV presenters this week sought every platitude to portray the late VP Msika as a gallant fighter and founding father of nationalism.

This has never been in doubt and there was therefore no reason for the presenter, Justin Mahlahla, to tell us that Zipra forces brought down a passenger plane with a landmine.
This was no mean achievement. How did they get the landmine into the air in the first place? Has anybody at Pockets Hill heard of a SAM?
ZTV should not be allowed to harm genuine nationalists with nonsense of this sort.
Did you see, by the way, how all the documentaries chronicling Msika’s contribution to the struggle were put on fast-forward between 1982 and 1987? To ZTV that part of our history does not exist. In the best Stalinist tradition it has been airbrushed out!

It is understandable that state institutions should want to advertise their loyalty to the regime. They know on which side their bread is buttered!
But we were struck over the holiday weekend by the predictable formulaic adverts appearing in the government media. There was nothing new or appealing in these declarations of loyalty. Just the same old predictable dross.
But the reform wing of the government of national unity is partly to blame for not providing its own tribute to Zimbabwe’s heroes.
The Commissioner-General of police and his colleagues provided an opening by inviting the nation to recognise “our fallen and living heroes”.
Why don’t we take up the challenge and name those who qualify.
Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika, democratic activists who were burnt to death in Buhera in 2000 by a state official who has been named in court but roams the country scot-free, come to mind. So do Gift Tandare and Edward Chikomba (2007) whose killers remain free and no doubt active.
Among the living heroes are Jestina Mukoko, Chris Dhlamini and Shadreck Manyere who have suffered untold pain and abuse at the hands of the regime because of their beliefs. Then there are our brave lawyers Beatrice Mtetewa, Alec Muchadehama and Harrison Nkomo who have been victims of the regime’s repressive violence.
Zimbabwe is a land of heroes, many of them active in the democratic struggle to this day. Let’s not forget them on occasions such as last weekend when so much self-serving partisan drivel was recycled by the state media.

On the subject of recycling, our attention was caught by a story in the Sunday Mail informing us that five candidates from the reform wing of the GNU will take up their posts as ambassadors later this year in fulfilment of the GPA terms.
The new diplomats (one from the Mutambara camp has gone Awol we are told) are attending a training course where, among other things, they are receiving lessons on Zimbabwe’s foreign policy and national heritage.
Secretary for Foreign Affairs Joey Bimha was reported as giving an introductory briefing in which he emphasised the need for exclusivity.
But he also stressed the importance of Zimbabwe working closely with “like-minded countries and organisations” such as Sadc, the AU, the Non-Aligned Movement and the G77.
In other words those who have indulged President Mugabe without providing more than a pittance in the way of assistance to the people of Zimbabwe.
What Zimbabwe urgently needs is a complete overhaul of its foreign policy. We need to get away from the pontifications of useless outfits like NAM.
If Bimha wants to stress exclusivity, then he should understand that ambassadors must reflect the new thinking in Harare which includes democratic reform. Nobody wants to hear about “sovereignty” and “national heritage” when those topics serve as masks for redundant elements from the ancien regime.
What the new ambassadors need to know are the principles set out in the Commonwealth’s Harare Declaration of 1991 and the friendship Zimbabwe enjoys with the wider international community which is actively helping us, not Chavez and Castro who are locked in the mantras of the past.

Muckraker was delighted to see Dr Timothy Stamps justifying his stipend by telling us all about the stamps issued by Zimpost to commemorate the lives of heroes. We were not quite sure if Stamps was leaping into print because he shares a name with the subject matter or because many of the individuals honoured by Zimpost have a connection to the medical profession.
Muckraker has always been fascinated by what Stamps actually does as “Health Advisor to the Office of the President and Cabinet”. This looks suspiciously like a sinecure. Is there any record of what his advice has achieved to date? Did anybody see him take charge of the HIV and Aids scourge or the cholera epidemic? He must surely be doing something to justify his upkeep at the taxpayers’ expense?
“Without our heroes’ active contribution, consistently and persistently,” Stamps wrote last weekend, “we would have been affected by the political machinations of our detractors who are still continuing to deny our Independence and sovereignty today.”
Did you really write that gibberish Timothy?
And did anybody notice how none of the stamps illustrated have a denomination of any sort? That’s so Zimpost can hike the price whenever it wants. That’s the sort of “heroism” we have nowadays.
Then there’s Noczim, “fueling (sic) the nation”, it claims –– as well as stoking inflation while it finds time to salute the armed forces.
And party propagandist Tichaona Zindoga who’s so busy fulminating at the West that he has trouble distinguishing between a “smooth and vanished devil” and a “smooth and varnished devil”.
We think it’s probably the latter insult he was attempting to deliver to President Obama!  

President Mugabe says he can’t understand why Western nations are proving reluctant to support the GNU. He said it was “surprising” the West continued with sanctions even after the formation of the GNU.
Not so surprising if you look at the facts. The CFU said last week it has recorded more than 1 800 incidents on farms between August 2008 and June this year, including violent attacks, vandalism and looting of property, assaults on farm workers, burning of crops and incidents in which the police have flatly refused to assist farmers.
Is it seriously suggested that donors and investors should ignore this growing body of evidence of lawlessness and pour their money into Zimbabwe regardless of the consequences?
The West can keep its money, Mugabe declared at Heroes Acre.
Which is fine if you have it. But, thanks to him, Zimbabwe doesn’t.

Finally Muckraker is told that Zimbabwe cricket players and officials were confused when copies of the Chronicle were tucked under their hotel room doors in Bulawayo on Saturday morning.
The daily’s sports section led with one of the most technically, grammatically and comprehensively wrong cricket reports you will ever see.
On Friday the Zimbabwe “A” team had beaten touring Bangladesh by seven wickets in a warm-up match to the ongoing five-match ODI series.
“The Zimbabwe A bowlers were on fire being economic as they restricted Bangladesh to a few runs and maintained their bowling lines,” went the match report.
Muckraker understands that when bowlers are on fire, they are bowling really fast and taking wickets. It’s not associated with being economical (yes, not economic).
Here is another line from the same report: “Ashraful went out with sevens runs after being bowled by Maruma and caught by Shingirai Masakadza having faced 26 balls.”
NB: When a batsman is bowled it means his stumps have been dislodged, so he is automatically out. There is no need to be caught by a fielder.
And on Monday under the same byline, reporting on the first ODI match, we were told: “Vermeulen who last played for the national team in 2004 when England (it was actually Sri Lanka) toured Zimbabwe was lucky to stay long at the crease when Hossain dropped his ball in the 33rd over.”
Ouch! There ought to be a very good surgeon somewhere in Bulawayo!


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