The sins that Comrade Paradza committed

MUCKRAKER was intrigued by a report in the Sunday Mail last weekend suggesting Makonde MP and former journalist Kindness Paradza was scheming with ANZ executives to obtain financial support from the perfidious

British for his Tribune newspaper.

“ANZ officials indicated that in the event of them securing funding for Paradza, they would want to have a say in the editorial policy of the Tribune, saying this is a clever way of bringing back the Daily News,” the Sunday Mail’s usually suspect sources were reported as telling the paper.

Indeed, it sounded exactly like something a Sunday Mail source would be likely to say!

But how do we explain the dramatic disclosure that Paradza is plotting with the ANZ to obtain filthy Breetish lucre, leading to “serious questions about (his) suitability as a Zanu PF MP”?

Apparently Paradza committed the heresy of suggesting in parliament that Aippa and the Broadcasting Services Act should be revisited because they were discouraging investment in technology and the media.

And that’s not all. He committed another unpardonable offence, according to the Sunday Mail.
“On April 16 the Tribune carried an editorial in which it clearly bemoaned the demise of the Daily News.”
Surely not? One newspaper championing the right of another to exist? What next!

A half-baked “political analyst” was quoted as calling it a “stupid editorial”, thus helping us to appreciate the intellectual reach of state-media commentators.

But, in addition to all this, there appears to have been another, undisclosed, factor leading to the Sunday Mail’s attempted hatchet job. On April 23 the Tribune carried a front-page story about the battle for Kondozi Farm headed “Msika lashes out at Moyo”. The battle had intensified, we were told, “with Vice President Joseph Msika reprimanding the Minister of Information and Publicity, Professor Jonathan Moyo for leading, together with other junior ministers, a clandestine campaign to take over the lucrative farm using Arda as a guise”.
Now we see where Paradza really went wrong. All is clear at last!

Meanwhile, Zanu PF MPs should beware. Speak out in parliament and you could find yourselves deselected next March by a minister who has never been elected to anything in his life!

Can somebody please help us get to the bottom of this Kondozi project! Just what is Moyo’s interest in it that has led to this reported standoff with the VP?

Muckraker is informed there was a delegation of 70 traditional leaders from Manicaland which came to see VP Msika over that disputed farm. They were not “villagers” as claimed by the Herald. The delegation was led by Chief Marange himself and included at least 39 chiefs. That is why the VP was ready to meet them. He said the acquisition had not been done properly and ordered Arda to step back. To which the puffed up Moyo took what looked like a few pot shots at Msika while purporting to comment on the Standard story: “…there is no going back on Kondozi, come rain, come sunshine and Arda as an institution is there to stay”, he declared.

The Herald reports that Chief Marange “has since disowned the villagers”. We hope its readers are aware that they are being treated as fools. Why would Chief Marange disown a delegation that he himself led to Harare? This would be the first African chief to disown his people. It’s unheard of in our African culture.

Muckraker reckons we need a huge billboard at Africa Unity Square facing Herald House with a bold warning: “Beware of Made.” We have not forgotten his aerial bumper harvest last year. We know what followed. He is already predicting another one. MDC agriculture spokesman Renson Gasela has predicted a grain deficit this year from a survey they carried out across the country. For this heresy he has literally been demonised.

We are not so naïve to take the MDC’s predictions as gospel truth, but we have even less inclination to believe Made any more. Apart from “economic saboteurs” trying to “derail our very successful land reform programme”, there were real shortages of inputs such as seed, fertiliser, draught power and diesel in addition to erratic rains throughout the cropping period. But Made, borrowing generously from his friend Moyo, now wants us to believe that “what Gasela is saying is the figment of his imagination and of course it is the work of the enemy. It is clear that Satan has taken hold of Gasela and his party.”

Quite revealingly, he didn’t have any figures to disprove Gasela’s claims. He didn’t explain why the police and GMB officials were seizing maize from urban dwellers returning from communal lands at roadblocks if there was plenty for everyone.

“The police officers are only enforcing the laws … which control the movement of grain in the country,” was the lame excuse from Made. We thought it was commonsense that you only ration or control a product that is in short supply.

If anyone was unclear about Zanu PF’s propaganda pitch ahead of next year’s poll, it was set out quite neatly by Morris Mkwate in last weekend’s Sunday Mail under the heading “Private sector chiefly to blame for economic woes”.

“Although public sector corruption levels remain high, startling revelations of massive corruption in the financial sector have dispelled the myth that the government is solely behind the economic meltdown.”

That’s strange. We don’t recall the state media ever saying that the government was even partly to blame!

“Renowned economic analyst” Dr Samuel Undenge was quoted as saying corruption in the private sector had brought the country’s economy to its knees.

So that lets President Mugabe and his ministers off the hook. Their economic management can now be safely removed from the public spotlight. That includes all those parastatals that were encouraged to charge in forex or find their fortune on the parallel market. How very convenient!

By the way, were you aware that all those millions of South Africans casting their votes two weeks ago for the ANC were really voting for President Mugabe?
One of his apologists in the Herald was very clear on this last weekend.

“Their overwhelming vote for Mbeki and the ANC was not an acceptance of the status quo,” we were told, “only a recognition and reward that the ANC wishes to challenge and change it. And Mugabe personifies that no-nonsense change they yearn for and will get or wrestle sooner than later.”

Has anybody told the South African public this? The cheer he recieved at the inauguration emanated largely from the VIP stands, we are told by somebody who was present. The general public were less enthusiastic. Meanwhile, it was rather remiss of the ANC to block the PAC’s attendance at last week’s Zanu PF solidarity shindig and then not turn up themselves.

We can’t count the embassy staff who were sent along. They were civil servants whatever their party credentials.

Muckraker can well understand Pretoria not wanting the PAC grandstanding in Harare on the government’s alleged failure to deliver on land and then returning home to agitate for land occupations.

But the ANC should have come along to say that planned and consensus-driven policies work better than racist demagoguery. That would have made South Africa’s approach to addressing colonial anomalies crystal clear to the investor community.

Meanwhile, our commiserations to the PAC for obtaining less than 1% of the popular vote.

There was an interesting report in the Herald last Friday concerning the re-arrest of safari operator Emmanuel Fundira. His lawyer George Chikumbirike complained that magistrates were being used as “toys” by either the police or politicians. One magistrate orders the release of a prisoner while the police approach another magistrate with the same old affidavit seeking to arrest the same prisoner.

When Harare magistrate Sukai Tongogara ordered Fundira released because he had been arrested without a warrant, the police quietly left and approached another magistrate in the same court building for the warrant.

Chief Superintendent Patrick Ncube explained to the court that he made sure that this time around the police had a warrant to be “served to Fundira after he was released from prison”. They waited for Fundira to be brought to Harare remand prison to collect his personal effects and Ncube instructed his officers to go and wait for him outside the prison gate.

“I informed them that they should see that formalities had been done … signing of the liberation papers, that he has been given his clothes and he has been freed,” Ncube revealed. It’s a matter of form, not substance.

In other words, when the police are not actively ignoring court orders they are calculating how these can be circumvented without them appearing to defy the magistrates issuing those orders. Meanwhile, the accused is made to feel that he has been “liberated” as prison officials go through the motions of giving him his clothes and perhaps even his relatives are waiting for him at the gate. As soon as he puts on his clothes and steps outside the gate the police pounce. What a better way to cause maximum pain and break a man’s heart!

We do hope those entrusted with protecting people’s liberties are treating this travesty of justice seriously. It’s not just diabolical, it makes an ass of the law. That’s exactly how James Makamba was waylaid after the court ordered his release and he has not been “liberated” since. We hold no brief for a Zanu PF opportunist like Makamba, but his case represents the most shocking abuse of the legal system since the Cain Nkala affair.

President Robert Mugabe’s Independence Day speech was a huge yawn. Not for lack of invective against phantom enemies threatening our sovereignty, but for a surfeit of imagination and scapegoating. The opposition MDC was conspicuous by its absence in the written speech, although it got more than its fair share of bashing in off-the-cuff remarks for lack of proper ideological orientation.

While the speech opened with bluster about Zimbabweans facing the “future with confidence, hope and dignity” it was so laden with anger one was left wondering where the confidence about the future lay. It was a litany of problems more than solutions. We are not sure when land will be repossessed from “greedy multiple owners” for distribution to the needy — those trained at numerous agricultural colleges who can put the land to good use. What happened to Mugabe’s ultimatum issued in July last year regarding multiple owners? Is it being implied that there are sacred cows in Zanu PF who can defy government policy with impunity?

The most astounding claim was the cause of the country’s economic decline and it bears quoting at length to do justice to it.

“Our economy has been badly bruised by some in our midst given to greed and corrupt practices. The situation that has been obtaining in the financial sector is simply disgusting and has required a very robust response,”said Mugabe. “Millions in foreign currency have been externalised through a variety of fraudulent activities practised by highly placed people we had trusted to manage our economy.

Now we are very clear that far from deserving our trust, these fraudulent and thoroughly dishonest people are the real enemies of our country and people, whose place and permanent home is the prison.”

Now don’t we recall the president boasting in 2000 that “no one could have managed the economy better than I have”? Who are those that we are now told “we had trusted to manage our economy”? So which economy was he managing?

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