Muckraker

Why whine to dine with a kangaroo?


WHO is this fello

w called Killer Zivhu? For one thing, he seems to be good at his game of killing. For another, not even the government or its media appear keen to tell us who he is. The only thing we are told is that his organisation called Crossborder Traders Association of Zimbabwe has achieved what even Zanu PF could not, that is to virtually kill the formal banking sector and create an unprecedented cash crisis in Zimbabwe’s history.


Killer’s followers are now dubiously credited with exporting “billions of dollars in local currency” and want to be granted safe passage to bring it back, according to Monday’s Herald. What puzzles Muckraker is that state media carry these reports in such a matter-of-fact way as if everything were normal. Could this possibly be a hint that this killer is connected to politically-correct and patriotic public officials?


Or is this yet another of many smokescreens being waved in the face of the public to shield government’s ineptitude? Are there any billions of dollars stashed in some vault across our borders and if so, what are they being used for? What we know for certain is that the Zimbabwe dollar is not a convertible currency. So what are these crossborder traders keeping it for? And why has government’s reaction to Killer’s claims been so muted as to suggest complicity in the cash crunch?


Meanwhile we have been promised there would be plenty of money by next week after Killer and the Gang were given an amnesty to surrender their loot by Sunday with a no-questions-asked assurance. We all await Killer’s miracle.


Muckraker understands a lot of the cash is in fact floating around the country in the boots of the latest 4x4s to be exchanged for foreign currency. Wholesalers are also said to be doing tremendous business selling the cash at a premium to a desperate public. Surely this shouldn’t be an issue too far beyond the reach of the law for the police to deal with. But then the problem is whether we have the rule of law or a government that knows what it is doing!


After all his ranting and raving against talks between the MDC and Zanu PF, Nathaniel Manheru did get one question right on Saturday. The Meteorological office had said the rains were coming (as if that were news) but: “Where are the agricultural inputs such as tillage, seeds and fertiliser?”


Reading the lead story in the Herald of the same day, “Land audit report complete” one would have thought Manheru’s question was the most logical sequel. The Herald told us the report would be ready within a week. It quoted chairman of the Presidential Land Review Committee Charles Utete as saying what was left was just the editing.


“We want to say that what remains is polishing up the report,” said Utete. “It was very complex,” he said of his committee’s task. “We were required to travel the length and breath (sic) of the country.”


It does, however, appear that despite the committee’s breathtaking whirlwind tour of the country, and no matter how soon they want to present it to President Mugabe, the report is outdated before it is edited.


On Monday the Daily News reported that 1 000 settlers had been ordered out of Little England farm in Zvimba to make way for the president’s relatives and a few chosen families. The undesirables were given up to the end of the month to vacate Little England and probably return to Zimbabwe where they had originally come from in the euphoria of land invasions.


According to the Daily News report, the bearer of the message had descended from the “highest offices” to deliver the good news to the startled beneficiaries of the land reform and he would brook no questions from anyone. He carried the sceptre from high up. The messenger declared: “We are not going to accept questions from you. The time for questions has passed and we are here to deliver the message. This is a directive coming from the highest offices so I will not answer your questions.”


The land takeovers are not done and we can safely assume Manheru is putting the  cart before the horse. Tillage, seeds and fertiliser are not a priority for those who have destroyed our agriculture. We wonder where that leaves Utete’s completed report!


Meanwhile Muckraker hopes New England farm will be appropriately renamed New Zvingland to reflect  our rediscovered Africanness without completely losing our colonial linkages. After all President Mugabe remains a spitting image of the English gentleman, resplendent in his designer suits as he riles against cultural imperialism.


The Herald on Tuesday this week carried a huge front page picture of Harare councillors at Town House with Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo ensconced in the chairman’s seat. Chombo reportedly told the councillors to stop being “confrontational” as this would stifle development.


“I dare say there is a danger of council losing its relevance where it continually refuses to participate in matters and issues that are obviously beneficial to the residents,” said Chombo. “You will agree that unless and until your council realises the value of complementarity, conflicts will continue to prevail.”


Muckraker does not believe Harare residents agree with Chombo’s diagnosis. Far from ratepayers seeing councillors as a hindrance to development in the city, it is government interference that we view as the problem. Councillors were elected to perform a service for city residents but government has refused to let go of the council’s purse strings.


Chombo is right to say local authorities perform a delegated function by virtue of the Urban Councils Act. He is however not entirely correct in declaring: “Naturally having delegated the authority and functions pertaining to the management of the welfare of its citizenry, government retains the responsibility to monitor, supervise, assist and, in some cases, even direct the manner of operation by any local authority, rural or urban.”


So far as the Harare City Council is concerned, it has never been given the chance to show what it can or cannot do. Instead of delegating power to council, Chombo appears to be personally keen to run its affairs himself. How can council’s performance or lack therefore be fairly judged when Chombo has decreed that it cannot employ certain people he does not like and cannot make financial appropriations without his say so?


Another point Chombo is missing is that the concept of delegation implies that you set a good example for subordinates to follow. Central government’s failure in this regard verges on criminal neglect. Why then should it be trusted to direct and monitor council’s effectiveness when it has itself woefully failed in its mandate to manage the country’s affairs?


Perhaps Chombo is admitting that he has failed in the higher task as a minister and wants to try his hand as council chairman. From the Herald picture, he looked more comfortable there.


Australian prime minister John Howard’s remarks that President Mugabe was an unelected despot seem to have touched a raw nerve at Munhumutapa Building. Information minister Jonathan Moyo went apoplectic, branding Howard a kangaroo prime minister and wondered aloud why his embed at the Sunday Mail, Munyaradzi Huni, found “time for this kangaroo rubbish”. Despite claiming that government had better things to do than worry about Howard, his frenzied tirade against the Australian leader ran into almost 500 words.


“We are convinced that this is kangaroo noise from a kangaroo prime minister who is frustrated that the international community has refused to be used as a kangaroo court against Zimbabwe and President Mugabe,” raved Moyo as if that was one of the “constructive things” he  was busy doing.


“The Commonwealth has never belonged to a kangaroo. That is one thing that is uncommon in the Commonwealth. Howard is the only kangaroo in the Commonwealth.”  Well said Moyo. We wonder why you are so keen to wine and dine with a kangaroo?


Huni claimed in the story Howard’s remarks had surprised many in the Commonwealth. The body of the story only revealed himself and Moyo as the “surprised many”. Nor does Moyo’s language belong to the Commonwealth either. The reason is simple. He is another unelected noise-maker. They say in Nigeria that an old woman is always unease when dry bones are mentioned in a conversation.


Head of Moyo’s Media and Information Commission Tafataona Mahoso refused to be outdone by his master on the “cash crisis” front. With some epiphanic realisation, Mahoso declared in the Sunday Mail: “With less selfishness, less corruption, less greed, less racism and more patriotism and a higher degree of public morale — the foreign currency we get would be enough to meet our priorities. Without patriotism we do not have commonly agreed priorities. So no amount of foreign currency can ever be enough.”


His article was titled “Who is to blame for cash crisis?” Unfortunately he didn’t have the courage to carry the argument to its logical conclusion. Almost everyone knows it is mainly Zanu PF hangers-on who have access to foreign currency.


Mahoso knows as most of us do which ministers have their children studying at universities and colleges outside the country to escape the poisonous fumes of Hondo Yeminda and Rambai Makashinga.


How are their fees paid when the country is failing to pay staff at foreign missions abroad? Mahoso knows too that if agriculture and mining were as vibrant as they used to be and industry and commerce had not been sabotaged from the top, he would have as much forex as he wants.


Do we need to ask him why there is no “higher degree of public morale”?


Instead of telling his masters the truth about their mismanagement of the economy, Mahoso got himself lost in the Third Chimurenga bush pursuing some “young African woman” who told him the land reform would be reversed by an MDC government. Poor fellow.


When next Muckraker located him he had forgotten about his unpatriotic cash and forex hucksters. He was now attacking banks for installing television sets and playing videos in banking halls to entertain customers tired of standing in long stationary queues.


Someone should tell him this is a common practice in the whole civilised world. You find this form of customer diversion even in airport lounges while you wait for your plane. The good thing is that Mahoso can ignore all this and read the Sunday Mail instead.


Mahoso was also worried about “down time” at banks when computers were off-line. The government, which should be sorting out problems of fuel, forex, the cash crisis and food shortages, has been in “down time” for nearly three years. Is Mahoso the only one in Jerusalem who doesn’t know this?

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