Editor’s Memo

Duped or doped?

Vincent Kahiya


IN an effort to shift blame away from himself, President Robert Mugabe has once again pointed his finger at yet another fall-guy, and says he was “cheated” into appointing former Information minister Jonat

han Moyo to his cabinet in 2000.
 
He told party supporters in Chegutu last Thursday that for all his pretensions to being all-powerful, he was fallible after all.
“Leaders are fallible and can also be easily duped by these opportunists,” Mugabe said.

“But I do not think it will happen again to my government as happened when Moyo joined us …I was fooled because he came in as a hard-worker…He rarely spoke in cabinet. He was always writing and taking notes during cabinet meetings and we do not know where he took them to.”

Does Mugabe by any stretch of imagination expect public sympathy for his confession?

This quest to secure public sympathy to mask incompetence and failure is preposterous to say the least. We have always been made to believe that Mugabe is a shrewd tactician firmly in charge of proceedings in his cabinet.
 
But Mugabe is also a master at apportioning blame. He is quick to take credit for positives and to blame the men and women around him for the many failures apparent in his 26-year rule.


Considering the monumental failure of his cabinet, I shudder to think of how many times the president has been duped into appointing certain men and women to ministerial positions. In the case of Moyo, Mugabe without doubt found the professor extremely useful in fighting opponents at home and abroad.
 
Moyo was useful as long as he did not have ambitions which threatened the established order. After the Tsholotsho debacle, Mugabe woke up from his reverie to discover that he had been “misled”.

So, was he wrong in appointing Moyo by believing those who misled him? Or did he know that appointing the professor was a maladroit move but he did it anyway for political expediency? Either way, it is Mugabe who has a problem here.
 
As an omnipotent political player with pretensions of omniscience, it should not have taken him half a decade to realise that Moyo was a fraud.


In 2000 he appointed Nkosana Moyo to his cabinet of technocrats, heaping kudos on the team which in addition to the two Moyos featured Joseph Made and Simba Makoni.

Nkosana Moyo, disillusioned by mounting repression and policy inconsistencies, fled the country in 2001 and resigned by a faxed letter. He quickly became a target of presidential abuse.

Nkosana “grew cold feet”, Mugabe told us in July 2001. “I do not want ministers who are in the habit of running away. I want those I can call amadoda sibili … people with spine. Our revolution … was not fought by cowards. If some of you are getting weak-kneed, tell us and we will continue with the struggle.”
 
His amadoda sibili are still soldiering on and blundering big time and President Mugabe is aware of it. In an embarrassing self-indictment, he told the nation during his recent birthday interview that his ministers were self-centred and had failed to meet set goals.

Responding to a question on whether his cabinet had lived up to its name as a development cabinet, he said: “To some extent yes, but to a greater extent no- no! no! no! There is a lot of self-centeredness that one sees amongst my ministers. When we talk of national development and a development cabinet, we would want to see each and every ministry moving towards the attainment of the goals set.”

Asi nhai Gushungo, what have you done about this?


In Esigodini at the Zanu PF congress last December the president complained about the late delivery of agricultural inputs saying there were “serious shortcomings in government planning”.

But the Agriculture minister for example, whose portfolio has failed to meet set targets and has been consistently in error since 2000, is most likely to be retained as minister in any future reshuffle. I do not want to believe that the president was cheated in appointing an ineffectual and bungling cabinet team.
 
As long as he does not act on misfeasance, Mugabe should shoulder the full blame for the failure of his government to attain its goals.  The president has surrounded himself with deadwood and he seems to enjoy the smell of the furniture immensely.

 Indeed, every now and again he varnishes it.

Duped or doped by the aroma Mr President?

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