Muckraker

Delusional Huni turns to myth-weaving


THE Sunday Mail’s M

unyaradzi Huni cannot be accused of lacking imagination. Every week he writes one far-fetched story after another designed to show that the government is not responsible for the chronic mess the country now finds itself in. It’s all a plot by external forces — usually the British — working with the MDC to discredit Zimbabwe.


We appreciate it is the role of an apologist to be dishonest about the causes of national failure. But who buys this deceit? Do you ever hear people standing in line for a taxi saying: “It’s all a British plot”? Or: “Poor President Mugabe. He tries to make things better for us but then these counter-revolutionaries thwart him”?


Last weekend Huni was suggesting in all seriousness that British High Commissioner Sir Brian Donnelly was paying indigenous businessmen to import fuel. And as a result there was a shortage of fuel!


Get it? Nor do we!


Deregulation should have eliminated queues, Huni says. But now there are transport problems. And it’s all the fault of the British who have bought-off fuel dealers, who we always thought had close links to Zanu PF!


He seems unaware that it is not the business of indigenous fuel dealers to supply government and public transporters. That is the function of Noczim.


He refers to civil servants who have been “infiltrated” so they sell Noczim fuel above the gazetted prices. But he doesn’t say which government employees are involved — after a week of “investigation”.


All players in this “act of sabotage” remained mum, we are conveniently told. Huni puts “act of sabotage” in quotation marks although the quotation is entirely his!


He is hopelessly confused about prices. He still thinks the gazetted price is $1 170 for petrol and $1 060 for diesel.


A “political analyst” from the University of Zimbabwe, who is understandably shy about disclosing his identity given the intellectual paucity of his views, believes “the enemies” are fighting “to bring the economy to its knees”.


Deploying inspectors throughout the provinces to monitor civil servants was a “first step towards ensuring the enemy did not infiltrate the civil service”.


No doubt these civil servants will be wearing badges saying: “I have been infiltrated. I am a British agent. Please arrest me.”


 But what we don’t understand is why Huni carries an “enemy-among-us” story on the front page of the Sunday Mail when on the op/ed pages of the paper he says the enemy has been defeated and is on the run.


The closure of the Daily News was another sign that the government was once again victorious, we were told. The opposition’s chief mouthpiece had been dealt a fatal blow.


“Yes, the British had the BBC, the CNN, Reuters and so on to tell their lie, but there was need for a local that would seem to be telling the Zimbabwean lie from a Zimbabwean point of view,” Huni wrote. “The local was needed for believability and so the Daily News was formed. The MDC had finally got its mouthpiece and it was show time.”


It is Huni whose “believability” is at risk if he churns out such falsehoods as the British started the Daily News in order to help the MDC. The Daily News was launched at the end of March 1999 while the MDC was formed in September 1999. The Sunday Mail’s political editor doesn’t seem to know that. And he should tell us what the “Zimbabwe Lawyers Association” is.


“The government saw that Mr (sic) Donnelly was getting out ofhand and they put him under 24-hour surveillance,” Huni says. “Since then things have never been the same again.”


How effective is government surveillance if Donnelly can meet with indigenous fuel dealers on the outskirts of the city and plot to cause a fuel shortage?


“Munyaradzi” means “the one who consoles the bereaved, the one who cheers up or raises the spirits of those who are depressed”.


Living up to his name, Munyaradzi concluded his op/ed piece thus: “Now Mr Donnelly and his friends have put their tails between their legs and on the other hand the government is making progress towards the addressing of the social, economic and political situation in the country.”


So while Donnelly and other running dogs tuck their tails between their legs, Huni will be wagging his as he is patted on the head for another entirely delusional piece of journalism aimed at cheering up the not-so-bright party faithful.


 Just who is doing the patting became clear in this week’s Under the Surface column. It was a robust defence of the Minister of Information’s intervention in the soccer sector.


Last week Sport minister Aeneas Chigwedere was complaining bitterly that Jonathan Moyo had usurped his authority in football matters. Worse, orders had been given for Chigwedere’s views to be ignored by the Herald and ZBC.


He got his reply on Sunday from the usual bow-wow. Moyo’s favourite poodle barked furiously at the hapless Chigwedere.


“Well, well, well, what a revelation it was. Don’t write the truth. Don’t give the other side a chance to talk. Don’t criticise the minister,” the Under the Surface columnist wrote without the slightest hint of irony, “even if he was not there when the Warriors were stranded, even if he failed to raise any money for the Warriors, even if he has promised to come up with his trust a few weeks before the finals in Tunisia.”


The last point was a response to Chigwedere’s question about who the patron of the Warriors Trust was.


“That person is also contributing to this mess (at Zifa),” he was quoted as saying last week. Chigwedere said what was needed was for Vincent Pamire “to follow the law and not try to invent the law in order to suit his ambitions”.


Moyo was backing Pamire, Chigwedere claimed.


Whatever the polluted politics at the root of the Zifa rot, surely even Chigwedere can see how things are done nowadays. Every ministry is run from the Office of the President, including Sport. And if Chigwedere hasn’t realised that the law is invented according to individual ambitions he has evidently lost touch with the government of which he is supposedly a part!


It must be obvious to everybody that Chigwedere has been asleep on the job. It is inevitable that while he slumbered predators should move in on his belongings. Next they will be writing history books!


The government has identified soccer as a major distraction from social realities. It is to Zanu PF what bread and circuses were to ancient Rome. Only we don’t get the bread!


 Wayne Bvudzijena has said that if any wrong-doing by police can be established in the case of Beatrice Mtetwa’s recent ordeal, they will prosecute those involved, according to radio reports.


Mtetwa, the victim of a hijacking, was beaten up by a police officer at Borrowdale police station after being arrested at the scene of the crime.


We are pleased to have Bvudzijena’s assurance. At first he said he didn’t know anything about the case. But will this case be investigated with the same diligence as that of Job Sikhala? Let’s hope not.


Readers may recall that President Obasanjo, following talks with President Mugabe earlier this year, was persuaded to write to John Howard telling him that investigations into the torture of Sikhala were under way. This was used to show law and order had been restored in Zimbabwe. Now we know better.


 Still on the subject of law and order, we were encouraged to see that Tafataona Mahoso was subjected to a grilling in the Administrative Court last week. One reason he refused to register the Daily News was because it had a convicted criminal on its staff, he claimed. He was referring to the case of Chengetai Zvauya who had been found guilty of criminal defamation in a case relating to the report of the constitutional commission in 2000.


But wasn’t he aware, the ANZ’s counsel shot back, that the case was still under appeal? Mahoso didn’t seem to know. Was he an expert on the law? No.


So should he be judging others?


The point? That all he had to do was stick to the law, not decide things on the basis of his prejudice towards the independent press.


 In this connection, we were intrigued to see a report in the Herald on Monday in which ZUJ vice-president Isidore Guvamombe accused Misa of going on a two-week tour of southern Africa without including any ANZ employees.


In a letter to Misa which did not carry a ZUJ letterhead, Guvamombe accused Misa of wining and dining while ignoring the plight of ANZ journalists.


“How on earth do you cash in on the plight of journalists at ANZ through allocating yourselves huge allowances and hotel bills instead of practically involving them?” he wanted to know.


In fact the Misa mission to regional states was to brief them on the status of press freedom in Zimbabwe following the closure of the Daily News. There were only three people in each group. And they were away for less than a week. But what interests us is what prompted Guvamombe to write to Misa when only a couple of weeks earlier he had been privately telling them what great work they were doing, according to Misa staff.


He now warned that ZUJ was “carefully monitoring” Misa’s “mercenary attitude and hotel politics which were meant to enrich individuals who pretended to be champions of media freedom, democracy and accountability”.


Now who does that sound like? If ZUJ has now become the weapon of certain politicians pursuing a vendetta against the independent press we would like to know if all ZUJ members agree with this stance. Because frankly it is unconscionable that threatening letters like this using identical language to ministerial demagogues should be sent on behalf of ZUJ as a whole by pathetic little worms who actually don’t give a damn about ANZ staff.


 Posted recently on the Chronicle website was this funny little piece by Mthulisi Mafa spotted by an eagle-eyed Muckraker reader.


“Germany is a country that most Zimbabweans have less interest in setting their foot on and little is known by many about this European nation. The little that most of us know about Germany, we owe it largely to the thick European history that up to now I still do not understand why we spent most of our valuable time learning at the expense of our own history. Germany is famous for having been ruled by the world’s most famous despot Adolph Hitler and it is the home of the poshy automobile Berlin Motorways (BMW) vehicle.”


Our reader wonders how much of this sort of writing goes unnoticed in the Chronicle. And we wonder how BMW (Bayerische Motorwerke) will respond to the rebranding of their models!


 Finally, we all had a good chuckle over Stan Mudenge’s proposal to join the Portuguese Commonwealth. Stan, who occasionally reverts to his role as an historian, reminded army staff officers this week that Zimbabwe became a Portuguese colony in the 17th century after Munhumutapa Mavhura Mhande agreed to pay tribute to the Portuguese crown. He thus became a puppet of the Portuguese.


On the basis of these shady dynastic dealings in the north-east of the country nearly four hundred years ago, Stan now suggests Zimbabwe should join the Lusophone community. In other words we are to resubmit ourselves to Portuguese puppetry as retaliation for humiliation at the hands of the British!


Abuja will be avenged by the fond embrace of Portugal’s conquistadors!


Meanwhile, Muckraker can’t wait to see who will put himself up as Mugabe’s candidate for Commonwealth secretary-general against Don McK-innon. Former foreign ministers of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Malaysia have been mentioned. But none appears prepared to announce his candidacy. Is no one brave enough to receive the kiss of death?