Muckraker

Law has been unkind with Moyo

THERE is no mistaking the bitterness in Jonathan Moyo about MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s acquittal by the High Court last week. The reaction was expected though.


He had hoped by some strange logic that

Tsvangirai would be convicted. We don’t know why he was so optimistic against the facts although we know why a conviction would be good. That would create the much-prayed-for leadership crisis in the MDC to enable Zanu PF to win next year’s election by default. In other words they don’t believe their own propaganda that the MDC is dead and buried.


The law has been very unkind with Moyo. Now instead of resting after Tsvangirai should have been benevolently put out of the way by the courts, he must continue the propaganda fight until next March.


But surely how did Moyo expect a conviction from a videotape that was described as incomprehensible at best? Otherwise it was absolutely useless although government forked out US$200 000 of the taxpayer’s money for it.


The propaganda machine has been running at full steam since the judgement by Justice Paddington Garwe last Friday. But the tenor has dramatically changed. The ruling was proof that democracy was alive in Zimbabwe and that the judiciary was independent, said Moyo.


We are not going to intrude into that debate. The verdict was simpler: the court found Tsvangirai innocent. From the evidence produced in court, even a Zanu PF caucus would have found it difficult to convict Tsvangirai. The judge said as much when he ruled that it was almost impossible for a reasonable court to find for the state.


In short, the state had no case. Its claims were frivolous and vexatious. All it did was squander national resources on a case that turned out to be a huge embarrassment. A case that was more costly for democracy than for Tsvangirai. A case that sought to drive a wedge between Zimbabweans along political lines.


Why did a party that boasts of nationalist credentials rely on a “suspect” white spy for a witness?


Did government have to waste millions of dollars giving Ari Ben-Menashe five-star accommodation at the Harare Sheraton at a time thousands of Zimbabweans were facing starvation and had to survive on the charity of foreign donors? And Moyo has the cheek to tell us Zimbabweans will have their chance “to extract their natural justice” against Tsvangirai in next year’s election, according to the Chronicle.


Muckraker has no doubt that if Moyo himself took a stroll in downtown Harare Zimbabweans would not wait for March to avenge their dignity, which he has so recklessly abused.


The sense of fear and paranoia was evident for all to see on judgement day. From Harare to Bulawayo there was an attempt to put on a brave face by the wanton show of state power against unarmed citizens. The anti-riot vehicles whose existence the state tried to deny last year were on red alert in Harare, Chitungwiza, Gweru and Bulawayo.


Sources in Bulawayo say the riot police looked ridiculous as people studiously ignored them and went about their daily business. The judgement was being delivered in Harare and therefore they had nowhere to sit and listen to the judge. In the end they were seen chasing away street kids going about their scavenging business.


In Harare a bunch of police details wielding truncheons cordoned off the High Court. People couldn’t get into the court because it was full, said a very aggressive, short woman at the corner of Sam Nujoma and Samora Machel. She asked why we wanted to get into the court, as if that was the new role of a police constable. While we tried to explain, she was beckoning some mean-faced colleagues to drive us away.


There were also Air Force of Zimbabwe jets thundering across the Harare sky, and the spectacle of mounted police patrolling the streets while members of the military police helped block traffic into town. It made nonsense of police assurances the previous day that Zimbabweans should go about their business as usual as the police would guarantee their safety.


How can it be business as usual when armed police put up senseless roadblocks that delay your journey to work by more than 30 minutes and they don’t tell you what they are looking for? And in the process you waste many litres of scarce petrol while your blood pressure shoots up as people lose their tempers.


It was interesting reading Vimbai Chivaura’s latest discovery in the Sunday Mail this week. That Africans don’t deserve so-called “universal rights”. He says these belong to the white man. We suspect this was a broadside at non-governmental organisations that have been engaged in voter education and the rehabilitation of victims of Zanu PF violence.


We wonder what he has been reading all these years if he has just discovered The Struggle for Zimbabwe and how charitable King Mutota was in his day, even if it means quoting the same whites that he is vilifying. While the poor were well taken care of by the king, Muckraker can tell Chivaura that life today is a dogfight.


How many “blind people and street children” do we have on the streets and yet we have all our land back? Has the good Dr tried to park a vehicle in the city centre and observe how hungry people suddenly mob him? Or is Chivaura so lost in his ivory tower at the University of Zimbabwe he can’t smell the overpowering rottenness around him — the corruption, the violence and the poverty that has reduced most urban Zimbabweans to scavengers?


“David Livingstone continues to be celebrated in Zimbabwe today as a hero,” declared Chivaura. “His statue still stands tall at Victoria Falls and throughout the country 24 years after Independence.” Who is “celebrating” Livingstone and how many statues of his do we have in the country?


We know Chivaura has some catching up to do since the debacle at New Ziana. It pays to keep close to the professor at all times. His colleague Rino Zhuwarara has since parked his trademark rickety bicycle he used at the UZ in exchange for an executive vehicle as head of Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings, plus a driver and a farm for a good measure.


Similarly, Cde Tafataona Mahoso has since shed all idealistic pretensions as a socialist after his brief but nasty encounter with the real struggling masses when he tried to make his way into town on foot after a “presidential gala” at State House in 2002. He has fully embraced the 4×4 club of NGOs and capitalists and their ostentatious lifestyles.


Chivaura is singing for a ride on the gravy train too.


Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa last week had to do away with diplomatic niceties regarding who can vote and who cannot. He was quoted in the Herald telling parliament that Zimbabweans abroad would not vote. His logic was devastatingly simple.


All Zimbabweans outside the country are MDC, Chinamasa suggested. Answering a question by MDC MP for Nkayi Abedinico Bhebhe whether government would follow the example of other countries in the region that are encouraging their nationals to vote, Chinamasa declared that the MDC had campaigned for the imposition of sanctions on the country and therefore could not hope to benefit from external votes.


Muckraker reckons there can be no better way to score an own goal. Why does government think it is entitled to receive foreign currency from Zimbabweans in the diaspora? How is Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono hoping to promote his Homelink project abroad when those who are expected to provide the money are being denied their constitutional right to vote as citizens of Zimbabwe? Why should MDC supporters help a Zanu PF government oppress its own people? Has Chinamasa heard of a campaign against “taxation without representation” we wonder?


And, with friends like Chinamasa, does Gono need a Blair or a Bush?


Asked whether the opposition would be granted access to the public media, Chinamasa declared: “If the opposition wants to use the public media to say the government should be removed violently, we will not allow that, we are not stupid.”


Pretty clever. Who said they were? Do we need a professor of rocket science to tell us who said Zanu PF was stupid when we have all the evidence from Chinamasa’s own response? The story was headlined “Zimbabweans abroad will not vote”.


As if to confirm our worst fears and expose Zanu PF for what it is, on Page 15 of the same edition the paper ran a story headlined “Mozambique allows citizens abroad to vote”. It was the same in Malawi. Botswana is pleading with its citizens abroad to register to vote. All political parties are featured in a song telling Bastwana why they need to vote. It’s only in Zimbabwe where a government declares war against its citizens abroad and still expects them to pay tax.


Incidentally, why is it that only MDC MPs ask questions in parliament? Half the time either Zanu PF MPs are not in the House, they are jeering at MDC MPs who ask questions or they are attacking Tony Blair. What is their constituency?


We were left none the wiser for watching Tazzen Mandizvidza’s Media Watch on Monday. Dr Mahoso was allowed to ramble on about the so-called “anti-Zimbabwe report” presented in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Both didn’t appear to have any clue as to what the report contained. At the end of the programme we still didn’t know what the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa report said about Zimbabwe that Mahoso and his team of Jonathan Moyo and Paul Mangwana were so keen to conceal.


Their embedded reporter Munyaradzi Huni made a splendid job of keeping us uninformed. Good time away to earn a few imperialist dollars. What would Zimbabwe do without such sterling reporters?


The Ministry of Local Government has released another list of those who have been allocated stands to build residential accommodation. Despite the small instalment published in the Herald this week, there are already glaring anomalies.


A number of those published on Tuesday appear twice. In fact nine of them appear twice on separate stands. Then there is the luckiest of them all, Shingirai Wagonekwa, who has been allocated a whole block of four stands.


It is obvious that the same unprofessional hands that caused chaos during the land reform programme are at work again here. We don’t want to insinuate any corrupt tendencies, but another Charles Utete or Flora Bhuka inquiry won’t be amiss. Multiple farms and multiple stands.


The most ridiculous spectacle of the week was seeing Agriculture minister Joseph Made on ZTV frothing at the mouth after his Tuesday tour of unpatriotic Windmill fertiliser company in Harare. The company was accused of collaborating with the British government to sabotage the land reform programme. Their crime was unpardonable: they were demanding cash upfront for their fertiliser.


We were only amused by Made’s stage-managed anger as he accused Windmill of “holding the country to ransom” by “hoarding” tonnes of fertiliser and demanding cash payment.


Who is not demanding cash these days when it’s so expensive to secure a loan from banks? That’s if there is a bank solid enough to give you the loan in the first place? Made should be told in no uncertain terms that not everyone is so lucky as to run a company the way he did Arda and still be promoted to a minister. Most mortals survive on their jobs on a performance rating, not because they carry party cards!


In any event, 18 000 tonnes of fertiliser won’t save a disastrous land policy. If he has been lying to Mugabe, at last the chickens are coming home to roost.


Can somebody tell Carlton Majuru of Live 60 on SFM that he doesn’t have to start every sentence with “Of course”? There is also a huge difference between a programme being featured every day and one that is broadcast every other day. Live 60 is broadcast every day.

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