Muckraker

Huni, Hungwe: sober up and get real
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Congratulations to the Zimbabwe Liberators Platform for embarrassing the government on Heroes Day by pointing out just how many genuine heroes lie in unmarked and forgotten graves, many within prison premises. This is while a number of criminals and imposters rest peacefully at Heroes Acre.


The distinguishing mark of Zanu PF has always been the yawning chasm between its claims and the reality on the ground.


“Let no one amongst us who betrays the cause of those who lie here,” Mugabe said on Monday, “be regarded as one of us.”


His speechwriters had evidently forgotten that the verb “to lie” has more than one defnition. There has been too much lying going on at Heroes Acre recently. It should stop.


Poor little Munyaradzi Huni. He is easily confused it seems. Despite having to write the same story every week, the Sunday Mail’s  political editor is clearly out of his depth.


The MDC should be told “to stop confusing us because Zimbabweans stand ready to defend themselves”, he wrote last weekend.


It would be nice to hear the BBC saying “the MDC leaders have told unrepentant Rhodesians and former Selous Scouts to stop confusing us…” he said.


One way he can stop being so easily confused is by refusing to repeat the silly lies he is fed by his political masters at Munhumutapa Building. What Selous Scouts is he talking about? Can he name any?


This is one of several lies generated by the propaganda machine in the Office of the President which any self-respecting journalist has a duty to question before regurgitating. Could Huni for instance explain the difference between David Coltart’s national service record in Rhodesia and Philip Chiyangwa’s? And has anybody at the Sunday Mail or Herald ever asked how their masters can keep repeating that Walter Kansteiner’s wife is ex-Rhodesian when she is not remotely Rhodesian and never has been? It would be easy enough to check on this but none of the state reporters have bothered because they are obliged to peddle whatever they are told regardless of its veracity.


“People want to hear the MDC suggestions, criticism and solutions to the problems facing the country,” Huni says. “They are tired of being told the lie that President Mugabe is the only one to blame and so if he goes the country’s problems will be over.”


He raises a useful point. Mugabe is obviously not alone in being responsible for the disaster now unfolding around us. The unemployment, starvation and isolation Zimbabwe is experiencing are the responsibility of the cabinet and politburo as a whole. All those in the business and civil sector that have collaborated with this delinquent regime must also accept some responsibility for the nation’s collapse.


But it is Mugabe who is blocking economic recovery, not his Minister of Finance. It is Mugabe who is bent upon political revenge, not the Speaker of parliament. It is Mugabe who has presided over the systematic subversion of the rule of law, not the Minister of Home Affairs.


As for the MDC, it has repeatedly set out its programme for the restoration of the rule of law, repeal of offensive and anti-democratic legislation, and the creation of independent electoral institutions. It also proposes to engage the international community in economic recovery and land reform so resettled people have access to infrastructure, training and resources instead of being dumped in the bush.


If Huni is ignorant of this programme he has only himself to blame. He says he can’t wait to see a headline in the Independent proclaiming: “Tsvangirai denounces Blair” or “MDC hails Mugabe”. After years of “fictitious stories” and “crazy scenario-building”, it will be difficult for some journalists to “sober up”, Huni declares.


Here are some other headlines he should look forward to: “Mugabe apologises for human rights abuses and incorrigible misrule”; “Zanu PF decides to put country first”; “Moyo promises ‘No more lies’”; “Made admits he misled the country”; “Public media to be run in public interest”.


Of course, after years of feeding on fictitious stories such as “Tsvangirai, Ncube on collision course over talks” and crazy scenario-building such as the imminent collapse of the MDC, bumper harvests and the Nuanetsi project, it is certainly going to be difficult for this particular journalist to sober up!


Masvingo governor Josiah Hungwe also needs to sober up. His particular brand of populism has done untold damage to the nation’s resource base. Hungwe must accept responsibility for the chaos in the conservancies south of Masvingo. He has been encouraging invasions of land unsuited to agriculture. It is not surprising therefore that people occupying land alongside wildlife should turn to poaching as a means of survival, as well as profit.


Game in some areas of the Lowveld conservancies has been decimated. Up to 70% of wildlife has been poached, according to wildlife managers. Hungwe claims “blacks are being put in the conservancies to fulfil an agreement made almost a decade ago between Vice-President Simon Muzenda and white conservancy operators.”


So why are thousands of ill-equipped people being resettled where there is no infrastructure or management training? What sort of management system is it that sees 70% of the assets to be managed consumed by those supposed to be managing them?


Hungwe should get real. His stupid talk of only “security conscious” people being put in charge is completely unconvincing. What does his colleague the Minister of Environment and Tourism think of unregulated resettlement that destroys the country’s rich wildlife legacy, undermines transfrontier park schemes, and sabotages the tourism industry?


Hungwe had better prepare his defence now. Future generations will not forgive his role in the destruction of the nation’s resources. And judging by his recent remarks, he plans to extend the chaos and destruction he has introduced into the Lowveld conservancies to other parts of the country.


In the circumstances it is delusional for the state press to continue carrying silly puff pieces about the imminent recovery of tourism. It isn’t going to happen.


The Herald recently carried a fanciful piece headed “Air Zimbabwe defies the odds”.


“Built from the ashes of Air Rhodesia,” the Herald’s enthusiastic travel writer told us, “Air Zimbabwe has remained the nation’s biggest airliner (sic), growing from strength to strength and flying high the colourful national flag.”


“Ashes”? “Strength to strength”? Air Rhodesia was a profitable little airline surviving the rigours of sanctions. Air Zimbabwe is broke and survives on government grants.


The excited commentator could barely contain himself on a recent trip to the Victoria Falls. The flight “left the whole lot of us wishing we had extended the journey by a few more hours”.


AirZim occasionally grants this wish to passengers left stranded at local and international airports. But what exactly was it that was so memorable about this particular flight to the Falls?


“Sandwiches and drinks were served amid comfort, pomp and zest”.


So there you have it. Sandwiches served with pomp and zest. Passengers could barely contain themselves!


“It is difficult to convey the feeling of exhilaration that we had soon after take off,” the travel writer bubbles on.


Had this person been on a plane before? Surprisingly he admits to travelling twice before. But the flight to Vic Falls was “awe-inspiring” we were assured.


If you are not tempted aboard international flights by the lure of chimukuyu and dovi, sadza and rape, or kapenta and rupiza, all glowingly advertised by the Herald’s intrepid reporter, you might be attracted by the possibility of being dumped in obscure locations because the president and his entourage need a lift!


Tafataona Mahoso, writing as “we remember the heroes who made Zimbabwe”, claims the Media Ethics Committee appointed by the government in 2001 to do an evaluation study of the media in Zimbabwe, was struck by one finding: ‘The majority of the people invited to make presentations felt that many of Zimbabwe’s problems arose from the fact that there was widespread lack of patriotism among a significant section of journalists, editors and publishers operating in Zimbabwe’.”


Did they really? Why does this sound more like something Mahoso or Jonathan Moyo would say? Strange isn’t it that the “people” in question never made the same remarks to anybody else except this dubious Media Ethics Committee?


Mahoso should stop telling stories. We understand he is now required to parrot the official line, even pretending that a “shortage of patriotism” explains the shortage of goods and services when everybody knows economic bungling at the highest level is to blame.


“We must be honest and confront reality,” Mahoso tells his readers.


But he doesn’t say when!


Congratulations to Vanessa Nicolle who told Sydney Sekeramayi a few home truths when he presented prizes at Borrowdale racecourse recently. She accused him of being part of a regime whose policies had turned Zimbabwe from a breadbasket into a basket case.


That is the truth that everybody now knows. Sekeramayi needs to understand that he and his colleagues will one day be held accountable for the destruction and starvation that is now stalking the land. The United Nations has been busy documenting the trail of plunder Zimbabwe’s political and military elite have left behind in the Congo. Now these ruling parasites have done the same thing here and think they will get away with it. They won’t.


Doris Lessing referred last weekend to the “layer of ruthless thieves” Mugabe had created around him. They shouldn’t for one minute think the world is unaware of their record or that one day they will be restored to respectability.


It’s just a pity Venessa didn’t tell that harridan Jocelyn Chiwenga that the law will catch up with her as well very soon. Does she really think this corrupt and lawless regime will last forever while she and her ilk benefit?


As for Ben Hlatshwayo who has benefited from the Nicolle’s Gwina farm, we will be interested to see exactly what farming skills he brings to this poorly judged acquisition.


‘What’s going on here”? asks the Sunday Mail’s “Under the Surface” columnist when the MDC finds it necessary to hire a South African counsel like “that Bizos guy” to defend Morgan Tsvangirai or when it consults Codesa.


Are they not confident of themselves, Cde “Under” asks?


Well, they are doing precisely the same thing the government did when it hired Advocate Nazeer Cassim from Cape Town to try and help Mugabe block electoral appeals in January 2001. That hiring was the precedent the MDC followed, or did Cde “Under” hope his readers would have forgotten already?


Cde “Under” suffered another attention lapse recently. For two weeks running Munyaradzi Huni has confirmed that talks have in fact been taking place behind the scenes between a Zanu PF team headed by Patrick Chinamasa and an MDC team led by Welshman Ncube. When the Independent revealed that these talks were taking place on August 1, Cde “Under” accused us of day-dreaming.


Perhaps his exclusion from the talks has led him to deny they are happening at all! By the way, Cde “Under”. Is Precious Shumba still a trespasser in a field “she” will never understand?