Muckraker

New vehicle numbers a pyramid scheme


SO the Central Vehicle Registry is phasing out the “new” vehicle numbering system stolen from Zambia?


The numbering system, involving three letters of the alphabet and four digits, was introduced

barely eight months ago to “make it impossible” for thieves to forge vehicle documents, we were told then. Today the same argument is being used for the sudden change.


The addition of the ZW acronym will put the country at par with the “latest European Union and international standards” and leave no room for forging of registration documents, reported the Herald with the same certainty.


What we found really startling was CVR registrar Allowance Sango’s denial that the change had anything to do with protests from Zambia over the theft. The change, Sango said, “is not a reaction to press reports or a result of any form of complaint by the Zambian authorities. But this product (numbering format) came about as a result of our quest to address those challenges that we came across on implementing the number plate project.”


While we were still trying to figure out the meaning of this “quest”, Sango quickly came to the rescue: “So far we have raised at least $30 billion in revenue from payments made by motorists when they get the new number plates.”


So this is in fact a money-making pyramid scheme? He has no scruples that they got it all wrong so long as they have the money. And motorists are expected to meekly go over the same fraud again to make some officer’s wife richer!


What has Mr Liar Sango got to say about a court ruling on the numbering format in favour of Zambia? Wasn’t that the really pressure for change, that there was nothing original in the so-called new numbering system but plain intellectual property theft? The level of self-deception keeps getting more and more threadbare. What a shameful lot we have!


While we were sold the lie that the system was foolproof against theft, the Herald reports almost innocently that scores of con-artists “had of late mushroomed, subjecting the vehicle numbering system to abuse”. We hope it’s not the same original fraudsters mutating to expand their industry to dodge the taxman!


By the way, was there a tender for this multi-billion-dollar golden goose?


So what has happened to the child molesters at Macheke government school who raped or were complicit in the rape of over 50 primary schoolchildren last year? The last word we heard was that the felons, including the headmistress and matron, were being transferred to other schools, hopefully to continue their heinous careers.


Education minister Aeneas Chigwedere reportedly visited the school for an inspection in loco. As a show of opprobrium at this iniquity, he expressly ordered the transfer of the criminals as punishment. That’s all.


Has the lawlessness of the past five years so deadened our conscience as a society that such large-scale abuse of children is now taken as a trifling offence? And where are our donor-driven do-gooders from the women’s lobby? High up on 4X4s, hiding behind dark glasses not to see the woes of the madding crowds below!


Some say the country is gone to the dogs. We bet there won’t be takers in Sodom and Gomorrah.


But just where are the criminals? Where are the police who were so enthusiastic about Operation Murambatsvina and the destruction of people’s homes? Isn’t this a more appropriate task for them? No double standards please and there is no need for prompting.


Talking of Operation Murambatsvina, is it true then that the whole charade was an anti-poor blitz?


Haven’t the 10 days by which Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo said residents of northern suburbs should have “regularised” their illegal structures elapsed? And we are supposed to believe everything was so regularised that there was no need to start the engine of a single bulldozer.


How easy it is to copy the methods and tactics of the oppressor. And true to the scriptures, for those without, even the little they think they have shall be taken away. So the poor have been left poorer while money speaks for the rich.


Scientists at the Met Department are under fire. They were this week accused of giving misleading or “incomplete information” about the weather. This has contributed to food shortages because farmers are planting the wrong crop varieties, Newsnet reported on Monday.


The farmers argued that if they had been given accurate and reliable information they should have planted the right crop varieties according to rainfall forecasts. This, unfortunately, has not been the case in the past four years, they said.


It is significant that these doctored weather forecasts occurred in the past four years. That was the period of compulsory patriotic reporting, when even weather reports had to be vetted by the President’s Office. It would have been ill-advised to say anything negative about falling productivity coinciding with blacks reclaiming their soil. Remember their tireless slogan: “The land is the economy, the economy is land.”


Of course nobody wants to talk about the impact of land degradation because of the unplanned cutting down of trees and uncontrolled veld fires destroying the environment. So the culprits must be the Met guys, presumably working in cahoots with the Americans to create drought conditions in Zimbabwe.


For the past four years we thought it couldn’t get worse. Who is the next scapegoat for the national malady?


Talking of which, Interactive Affairs minister Chenhamo Chakezha Chimutengwende vehemently denied on the Voice of America radio that there were food shortages in Zimbabwe. He denied supermarket shelves were largely empty, insisting people who made such claims had “an agenda”.


What evil agenda, you might want to know? It was the same people who wanted government to make a formal appeal for food assistance, complained Chen self-righteously. Government was not going to make such an appeal because “we have put together enough resources to import maize from South Africa”, said Chen. He protested that it was not in the national interest to receive food from the United States.


Told by the reporter that the food would be bought by the World Food Programme, Chen was adamant that a formal appeal was out of the question because it would impair “our dignity”. Can anything beat that?


Here is a so-called people’s government that destroys the whole agricultural sector, destroys people’s homes in the midst of winter in the name of slum clearance and then claims to have dignity to protect? Who has been lying that the emperor still has his clothes on we wonder? So the people must starve for the sake of keeping appearances?


Public Service and Social Welfare minister Nicholas Goche needs help in the art of political subterfuge. He told The Voice’s Target Shumba that the Zimbabwe government had the capacity to feed its people and would not bend to the “machinations of the West”.


He is quoted as saying: “Instead we are asking for nations of goodwill to come forward with any assistance they might be in a position to offer as a complementary effort and not the other way round.”


The minister wants us to believe that his government is not begging for food and is simply seeking “complementary” efforts. But he could not hide the true picture. He said Zimbabwe needs 1,2 million tonnes of food. Out of that the World Food Programme would import 600 000 tonnes and to date government has only imported 300 000 tonnes. The remainder would be imported through “various arms of government”.


In case the minister is not aware, half of the food requirements will be imported through the WFP using funds contributed largely by the European Union and USAid. Last Thursday the EU announced US$5 million additional funding to feed people in the region. The EU’s contribution now totals US$25 million and Zimbabwe is set to benefit from 114 000 tonnes of maize purchased by the EU which is in the West and not East.


Evidence of Zimbabwe’s begging abounds in the countryside. Grain bags with an EU or USA insignia are a common sight. The West is not complementing government efforts. It is actually feeding us. We expect more intelligent tricks from intelligence functionaries.


There was shocking news in Jonathan Moyo’s pan-Africanist project called the Southern Times this week. A Swapo youth leader in Namibia resigned his ministerial post over allegations of corruption involving R30 million.


The deputy minister allegedly abused public funds to make personal profits from a “pyramid investment scheme”. Paulus Kapia could not endure further revelations that he was an active shareholder in the fraudulent scheme and decided his best option was to quit public office.


The fraud allegations have reportedly claimed the life of the mastermind of the scheme, one Lazarus Kandara, who is said to have died of shame last Wednesday.


We wonder how many would retain their offices in Zimbabwe if suddenly all public office bearers had their consciences restored. Why shocking? Because it’s unAfrican, it’s for Western hypocrites. The manly thing in Africa is to deny and deny any wrong-doing until the third cockcrow.


It looks like everyone on the continent is under attack for the politics of puppetry except President Mugabe and the dunderheads in the state media.


In the past it was President Festus Mogae of Botswana. Nigeria’s Olusegun Obasanjo has become the butt of state media ridicule and scorn. The latest barbs are aimed at South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki from the same omniscients who can’t manage their own affairs.


This week Nathaniel Manheru attacked South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission as an insult to Africans who were made to assume the “burden of guilt” for apartheid. Under former Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu, said Manheru, the commission “expiated the sins of southern Africa’s evil white tribe, removing the important psychological barrier” which should have disabled them from active politics.


Those of us who have experienced at close quarters Zanu PF’s politics of labelling and exclusion appreciate the full import of those tactics. White Zimbabweans who had naively assumed that the policy of reconciliation enunciated at Independence in 1980 was anything but a charade learnt the hard way when they tried to join the MDC in 2000.


The lucky ones lost their farms. Others were not so lucky to escape with their lives for trying to break the “psychological barrier” to active politics — a perpetual sense of guilt for the sins of our forefathers. When it’s convenient to it, whites remain an evil tribe in the Zanu PF psyche.


It was that child of slavery Martin Luther King Jr who remarked: “Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation.” That’s a moral lesson Zanu PF mandarins love never to learn.


Mbeki was attacked for letting the law get in the way of good politics. According to Manheru’s evil genius, Mbeki should not have let his former deputy Jacob Zuma be fingered by the Scorpions for alleged corruption. He should not have fired him when allegations of sleaze got really messy. This was a way of placating the West at the expense of the ANC, was Manheru’s papal verdict.


In other words Mbeki should have taken the Robert Mugabe Way and told the judiciary what to do.


Those who have fallen foul of Zanu PF such as Phillip Chiyangwa, James Makamba and Chris Kuruneri know how it is possible in a democratic Zimbabwe to spend a year in remand prison without trial, that the law can be made to “fix” you. That is the predominant mentality of those who fashion the laws of this nation.


Mnheru’s attack on the Zimbabwe Independent last Saturday proprietor Trevor Ncube is misplaced. It assumes that he writes and edits stories for this paper. It doesn’t deserve a rebuttal. It invites contempt which it richly gets.


Manheru darkly hinted that he would rather have the CIO run the Independent “in the light of sinister sell-out politics whose inauguration began a long time ago”.


Was Trevor Ncube among those arrested last year for selling “state secrets” or is this a case of convenient amnesia?


It certainly can’t be a case of mistaken identity considering Manheru’s position in government’s perking order.