We need more such   brave young men

IT is hard to imagine how any serious diplomat could have managed to respond with such calmness to Caesar Zvayi’s insulting and tendentious so-called questions as did British a

mbassador to Zimbabwe, Andrew Pocock. Who is Zvayi to define the job of a foreign ambassador and under what protocol? At what level should Pocock be seeking to “engage President Mugabe in an open forum” so that Zvayi “can judge who is right and who is wrong”?

That was the subject of Zvayi’s “Conversation” this week.

In the event, we found Pocock’s response not only diplomatic but also enlightening to those seeking the same. He stated for Zvayi’s information that the EU had no sanctions against Zimbabwe. Instead it only had a ban on arms sales, a travel ban and assets freeze on 126 members of Mugabe’s regime.

He didn’t prevaricate on the issue of governance and human rights. “It is for Zimbabweans themselves, no one else, freely to determine who should govern them, and how they want to be governed,” he said. Anything else would have been interpreted as interference in Zimbabwe’s affairs, wouldn’t it Zvayi?

It is only the most obtuse pretender who can argue that the Tony Blair government was responsible for the havoc called Operation Murambatsvina and the foolish destruction of commercial agriculture in the name of land reform.

Ambassador Pocock ignored Zvayi’s provocation and merely stated the facts for those in need of information. That should include Zvayi.

Does anybody still recall government’s “Health for all by the year 2000” slogan? It was a policy adopted by government soon after Independence to spread health delivery to every corner of the country.

We were reminded of that lofty ambition by a story in the Herald this week about central hospitals working towards ISO certification. This would be done through regular “clinical audits” to ensure patient care and service delivery.

Our understanding is that such a certification requires rigorous maintenance of records, documents and information. It is a major requirement for companies wishing to export their products. For a health institution the basics would be a certain staffing level for doctors, nurses, lab technicians and their assistants.

The story acknowledges that virtually all hospitals in the country have been hit by a brain drain of doctors and nurses. The few remaining junior doctors are striking over poor working conditions and low salaries — issues that government is failing to address. How does an institution without standard requirements like doctors, nurses and drugs qualify to be a hospital?

We applaud the ambition but believing they can attain an ISO certification is a leap of faith.

Bravo to the young DJ on SFM on the night of July 25. He evidently loves Thomas Mapfumo’s music and had a number of songs in his kitty on that night. At around 1:30am he played a hit from the early 1980s, Pemberai (Celebrate) composed in the euphoria of Independence, about the time Matabeleland and the Midlands were burning under Mugabe’s scorched earth policy to rid the country of PF-Zapu vermin.

It was played “to the last note”, as Tinashe Chikuse is wont to say. At exactly 1:55am he was back with another Mapfumo hit done almost 20 years later in 2000. This was the song from Disaster album titled Mamvemve (Tatters), a track we suspect got the album blacklisted. In the song Mapfumo laments the ruin of the Zimbabwe we all yearned for during the liberation struggle — now a veritable disaster.

It was played for no more than 15 seconds before the station went dead. It was soon replaced by a song by Mechanic Manyeruke, something about Moses meeting a snake in the wilderness. Lyrically sweet but spiritually poisonous. Back to the DJ. He was replaced by the voice of a woman.

We hope he wasn’t ordered to lug his bags and leave immediately in the dead of night. We need more such brave young men.

Japan’s new ambassador to Zimbabwe, Takeo Yoshikawa, had news that government loves to hear when he met Zanu PF chairman John Nkomo last week. He said Zimbabwe had the “potential” to become an economic powerhouse in the region because of its abundant human and natural resources.

“Your country should be a leading country in the sub-Saharan region,” said Yoshikawa, to which Nkomo responded by saying the Japanese should not be “fooled” by those who claimed there was a lot of insecurity in the country.

A member of the Japanese delegation, Yoshinori Ohno, must have nodded politely at this diversionary tactic but was clearly not fooled. He told his host what was needed for Zimbabwe to realise its potential: “We need to share the same values of freedom, democracy and a market economy.”

As for potential, it’s likely to remain just that so long as government pursues anti-people policies.

By the way the Daily Mirror which carried the remarks, would do well to update its information. Tsiuneshege Iiyama, the former Japanese ambassador whom it claimed met Nkomo, is far away in Slovania. One would expect CIO operatives interested in media business to know better.

Chiefs are not interested in the succession debate, head of the Chiefs Council Fortune Charumbira assured President Mugabe at the Kariba retreat last week. He said it was ministers, politburo and central committee members who wanted Mugabe’s position.

It would have been interesting if he had named one or two people known to be interested in the hot seat. Instead he said they were waiting to hear from Mugabe when he was ready to retire.

We can all understand this grovelling. Being a chief has become almost formal employment with monthly allowances of up to $20 million and vehicles and electrified homes. Who would not be grateful to Mugabe for his inventiveness? Now he can be assured of a permanently captive rural constituency under the heel of suborned Zanu PF chiefs.

We were interested to hear a Newsnet report in which Zanu PF was investigating its MP for Hurungwe for improper association. Zanu PF provincial chairman for Mashonaland West, John Mafa, said: “There were complaints from members in Hurungwe that the MP, Cecilia Gwachiwa’s boyfriend was a member of the MDC. Further allegations are that Gwachiwa benefited financially from the MDC and that her boyfriend has guns that he got from a former white farmer he used to work for.”

Mafa said as the disciplinary committee in the province, they were investigating whether Gwachiwa’s boyfriend was indeed an MDC member, whether he has many guns and whether the MP benefited financially from the MDC.

We know there is no love lost between the two parties but we were not aware things had gotten so bad as to affect personal relationships. Sleeping with the enemy, somebody called it. Isn’t it also time to investigate Sekesai Makwavarara’s relationship with the MDC?

We must thank Zvayi for reminding us of Zanu PF’s long forgotten Leadership Code.

For all its exhortation against lying, immorality, malfeasance, theft, personal aggrandisement, nepotism, tribalism and corruption in general, only one has been strictly adhered to, and that by only one person. It is about dressing properly and it says a senior member of the party shall not be “repeatedly dressed in a slovenly or inappropriate manner thereby failing to maintain personal neatness and cleanliness”.

The trophy for snappy dresser — since 1996 — goes to President Mugabe.

There was an interesting story in the Saturday Herald saying Harare has a lot to learn from Lusaka. It was about the way the local authority had designed its major bus terminus, the Inter City Bus Terminus,
to avoid the confusion and chaos that we have come to associate with Mbare Musika. The story was done by Michael Padera.

Two things caught our attention. Why should the Herald visit Zambia “to study the operations of its bus terminuses”? We thought that would be a task for Ignatious Chombo’s girl at Town House! Or is the Herald doing consultancy work for Sekesai Makwavarara’s commission.

Secondly, we were just curious to know if Padera had registered with Zambia’s own Tafataona Mahoso before taking the pictures of luxury buses and the Lusaka City Market and his interview with Lusaka’s director of public health and social services, Bornwell Luanga. We ask this advisedly because recently some two or three foreign journalists were arrested near Norton for “practising journalism without accreditation” after they were caught taking pictures of people queuing to vote. As you read this, two Batswana journalists are standing trial before a Plumtree magistrate for the same criminal offence.

Why should we be happy to walk and work freely in other countries but treat their citizens as criminals when they visit? Or did Padera have to lie that he was a tourist working for the city of Harare? Talk of blatant hypocrisy.

A colleague has noted however disproportionate favouritism at Herald House in that while Victoria Ruzvidzo was given an air ticket to fly to Dubai to shop for trinkets, Padera was shoved into a bus on a similar mission to Zambia. We know it’s all malicious gossip.

Cyclone Gono hit Zimbabwe with the ferocity of an Asian tsunami this week. Inevitably, many people were caught off guard, perhaps parking their vehicles full of bearer cheques at Roadport bus terminus where Zimbabwe’s well-heeled money changers conduct their illicit trade.

We wish Gideon Gono all the success in the fight against all forms of illegality that have put every new economic policy initiative out of kilter and turned every honest worker into a pauper. Our reservation is that in most cases only the small fish get caught in the net. We doubt that the leaders of the foreign currency syndicates will ever feel the pinch.

As analysts have already indicated, there is likely to be a bout of price increases as barons of the black market seek to dispose of their hoardings on groceries, real estate and other properties. Again it is the small fry who gets burnt while the real felons plot fresh mischief. It’s likely going to be a very gory and long battle before people regain their senses and accept once more that it is possible to lead an honest life and still prosper.

There was of course the inevitable confusion caused by the decision to slash the three zeros and devalue the currency at the same time. The first victim was the Herald. We were told on Tuesday that the NEDPP had raised $2 500 000 ($2,5 million). This was converted to US$2,5 billion. How did the Zimbabwe dollar regain such incredible value over night after a 60% devaluation the previous day to $250?

Is this one of the miracles Gono was talking about we wonder?

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