Muckraker

It’s time to name and shame, John

LANDS minister John Nkomo at the weekend disclosed that 397 people had so far been identified as multiple farm owners. He didn’t say what kind of people they are, their social status or their positions in government, the party

or business. Still, Nkomo reiterated his determination to enforce party policy of one-man one-farm.


“There is a lot of resistance but I can assure you the process (repossession of extra farms) is going on,” said Nkomo.


Unfortunately the minister appears to see this as a personal task and in the process leaves out of the fight what should be his key ally — the public, the people of Zimbabwe who are keen to know who took what and what is happening to them. Naming and shaming should be more effective than clandestine whispers in the ears of thieves. Does Nkomo have any names to protect?


A donor organisation has helped build an A-level classroom block in Saviour Kasukuwere’s constituency in Mt Darwin. As required by political etiquette, the NGO asked the local MP, Kasukuwere, to be the guest of honour at the official opening.


That was their blunder. He told the villagers, SFM reported last week, to be wary of NGOs that come with sinister agendas pretending to help. He said they should accept donor help “with a suspicious mind”. He then thanked the particular NGO that built the classroom block, which was not named.


It’s called looking a gift horse in the mouth Cde Kasukuwere.


Shouldn’t Zimbabweans be more suspicious of those who distribute computers, pairs of shoes, trucks and bicycles just before an election? What is the motive here Cde Kasukuwere? Isn’t it every government’s duty to make these things available all the time?


This is the same MP who is so fascinated with blair toilets that in 2002 he gave “Toilet” Tambaoga $200 000 for his toilet song but forgot that pupils in his constituency needed a classroom block. And he has the effrontery to question the motives of those who can identify a genuine need!


Jonathan Moyo’s “patriotic” Southern Times reported last week that Zambia would be celebrating 40 years of “freedom and pride” this month. Vice-president (until his abrupt removal this week) Nevers Mumba said South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki had been invited to the occasion along with Zambia’s past two presidents — Kenneth Kaunda and Frederick Chiluba.


Mumba observed that “unlike in most neighbouring countries” Zambia had enjoyed peace from one government to another.


He said government would launch the independence week from October 16 to 25 “with activities from non-governmental organisations, religious groups, cultural centres, diplomatic missions and the private sector”.


The same cannot be said of Zambia’s benighted neighbour where partisan galas have been turned into a national pastime, where national days have been reduced to campaign rallies.


From preliminary reports, there is no indication that an invitation has been extended to a neighbouring president suffering from an acute and very infectious disease called Blair fever — with symptoms similar to Bush fever. Muckraker understands the Zambians are afraid of catching the contagion and spoiling their 40th anniversary.


The same afflicted fellow is reportedly uneasy when issues of transition from one government to another are mentioned. It is against the cultural and liberation values of his country for a president to voluntarily leave power, Muckraker is reliably informed.


We hear his friend of the Namib Desert last week received a special honour from French President Jacques Chirac after he decided it was time to pass on the baton. Although he has been a staunch admirer of our leader, he has not gone on to destroy his country in solidarity. Don’t they say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery?


Mozambique’s Joachim Chissano has also launched a valedictory expedition with his “Don’t cry for me, Mozambique” tour. It looks like friends are dwindling. Which perhaps explains why our leaders have felt the need to find new ones.


Welcome Yoweri Museveni. Let’s put the small matter of the Congo war behind us so we can shake our fists at the West together. But we suspect Yoweri will meanwhile quietly remain Blair’s best friend, just as all our neighbours have!


We note that despite invitations to Museveni to criticise Tony Blair, he declined to do so preferring to talk about Britain’s colonial legacy. As for regime change not being for black Africa, when did Museveni decide that: before or after he toppled Milton Obote?


Musician and war veteran Dick Chingaira wants to dislodge Gibson Munyoro as MP for Makoni West. Chingaira says the constituency is now worse than it was in colonial times.


“The constituency is now underdeveloped and it is much more worse than it was during the liberation struggle,” complained Chingaira to The Voice.


He said potential investors were being “turned away by the state of the roads”.


To dramatise the sorry state of affairs in the constituency, Chingaira says he has composed a song titled “Campaign, Win and Forget” in which he exposes truant MPs who are seen only around election time. Once they are elected they disappear into the crowds in town.


It looks like the truth is getting too stark to be concealed when war veterans start drawing parallels between Ian Smith’s Rhodesia and Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. Especially when these comparisons are being made just before the country celebrates its silver jubilee of Independence.


The Voice’s editor Lovemore Mataire, in his weekly column about the “resurrection of Cde Tongo” only portrayed the late commander of Zanla as being intrigued by the new street names. He didn’t say if he would be impressed by the general state of decay across the city.


How was it possible for Tongogara to walk into town from Tongogara Avenue to Samora Machel Ave without crossing Herbert Chitepo Ave? Was this a genuine oversight or were you making a statement about the latter’s death? And why would Tongogara rush to see the nondescript Harvest House and miss Shake Shake Building whence emanate all the policies that have caused the ruin of so much potential in this country? Wouldn’t he want a cockerel for a meal?


By the way, when did Tongogara die? December 1976 or 1979?


We would also have loved to hear Tongogara’s views on the Chimoio Solidarity Bash. Would he have approved of adults and youths shamelessly commercialising the mass murder of refugees in Mozambique to bribe the nation to forget the daily deprivations of the most basic commodities?


Cde Goings On at the so-called Sunday News — which never has any — seems a tad miffed by our nomination of him for Bootlicker of the Year award. He attempts to even the score by casting all sorts of aspersions about people working at the Independent. Trevor Ncube is not the real owner of the paper, he darkly suggested.


If Cde Going Going Gone, who styles himself a journalist, knows who the “real” owner of the Independent and Standard is perhaps he could tell us. What is the point of calling himself a journalist, advertising a hot story and then declining to disclose it? What a tease!


We liked Munyaradzi Huni’s latest conspiracy report in the Sunday Mail. “Controversial” UNDP resident representative Victor Angelo is being recalled amid reports that the world body is “furious” with his “meddling” in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs. So “furious” are they that they are offering him a “higher post”, we learn. This will result in him “being used” by Britain and Germany, Huni says.


But it would appear he has already been “used”. He worked closely with former British ambassador Brian Donnelly, Huni tells us.


In fact, anybody following this issue will know that Angelo went rather further than many Western diplomats were comfortable with in trying to help Zimbabwe out of the hole it had dug for itself. He tried to get the UNDP involved in land reform, indigenisation, and electoral capacity-building, in each case trying to rehabilitate a recidivist regime. Angelo was Zimbabwe’s friend. But such is the blind and obdurate nature of its rulers that they couldn’t see that. Very simply he got in the way of the demagogues in our midst.


We can all therefore safely conclude where the Sunday Mail story came from: the same person who appeared to be having a go at John Nkomo last week over the “disastrous” implementation of farm evictions and who authorised a hatchet job on Didymus Mutasa recently while President Mugabe was out of the country.


These are the “dirty hands” that Mutasa referred to in an interview with the Independent last week. Their prints are evident in any story that has a bearing on the succession.


Finally, we were surprised to see Dr Timothy Stamps, who grandly styles himself “Health Advisor in the Office of the President and Cabinet”, writing to the editor of the Sunday Mail in response to a letter in the Independent.


Clearly, although he may appear confused about which paper he should be writing to, he has not been idle in his current post. He has evidently been absorbing some of the melodramatic language that is the speciality of that august department of state.


Stamps describes our correspondent’s letter as “disorganised, dishonest, deceitful, defamatory” and “prejudiced”.


He then prays that God may heal the writer of his “bitterness”.


We can be sure that the last thing our correspondent wants are the prayers of somebody who kneels aboard the gravy train. But from a public-interest point of view, does Stamps’ portfolio apply to all members of the Office of the President and Cabinet, or just its chief beneficiary?


And can you imagine the sheer stupidity of this same office complaining to the Media and Information Commission about publication of a picture of President Mugabe hoisting up his pants at the Harare Show when he was surrounded by journalists and photographers?


This is a blatant abuse of Aippa by Mugabe’s apologists. What will the next step be: no pictures of the president unless they have been first vetted by his office to ensure he is doing nothing indecorous?


Nothing could have been more calculated to invite the world to laugh at the foolishness of Zimbabwe’s control freaks. They deserve all the publicity they got.