By Chido Makunike
PERHAPS it is unfair to merely criticise President Mugabe’s recently announced cabinet like most people have done without making suggestions on how it could have been better.
I wish to now propose a more dynamic cabinet than the one we have, taking into account the challenges that are likely to be uppermost in Mugabe’s mind at this time.
The next general election is around the corner and the conditions that made the opposition MDC win almost half the seats last time despite beatings, intimidation and a crude propaganda by the Jonathan Moyo-run press have only worsened. There is a real possibility that the MDC might do just as well or better this time around despite its many problems.
There needs to be a trusted cadre to make sure the election provides the “right” outcome even if the opposition party succeeds in confusing people to vote for it like it did last time.
I am promoting Tobaiwa Mudede from his current position of registrar-general to the new cabinet-level position of Official Fixer and Elections Czar. Mudede will no longer have the distraction of having to worry about passport, birth certificate and identity card applications. He will be a fulltime election official tasked to make sure that the vote turns out “right”.
After the results have been announced, and obviously the ruling party must win, he would be in charge of forestalling any challenges of the results by the opposition.
If a game of hide and seek with ballot papers is required, Mudede would be expected to see what he can do. If there are still any misguided elements in the judiciary who have not yet been softened up by threats of being fired, jailed or embarrassed in the Herald who make unrevolutionary judgements against Zanu PF, Mudede would be trusted to fix the situation by innovative means.
After all, it is easy to misplace records, ignore inconvenient judgements or to find mercenary lawyers to put up weak but time-buying challenges that will drag on for years!
Mugabe’s propagandist and junior minister Jonathan Moyo has earned his stripes in the aggressive service of his boss and is due for a promotion.
I am appointing him to the prestigious position of Chief Weapon of Mass Deception. His title and improved perks should reflect the key role he is expected to play, but his job description remains pretty much the same as it has been since Mugabe lured him from being his chief critic to being the one who keeps the presidential boots nice and shiny with his tongue.
As in the recent past, Moyo will be expected to work very closely with Media and Information Commission chief Tafataona Mahoso. Sekuru Mahoso becomes the new Chief of the Thought Police.
The role of this new crack paramilitary unit is to kill off any independent thinking that is outside of permitted revolutionary channels.
Among his important tasks will be to dictate who is an African, how that person should think and is permitted to express himself.
Sekuru will be expected to devise penalties for the misguided elements who stray from the straight and narrow path he would have set down. These would range from being labelled a racist, Western-sponsored Uncle Tom and sell-out in his Sunday Mail column (complete with book references from Sekuru’s impressive library) to being jailed for the terrible crime of “thinking, speaking and writing outside of the revolutionary strait-jacket”. More severe offenders may need to be jailed, their newspapers banned and the favour of their being allowed to think, speak and write as they believe withdrawn.
Pastor Tom Deuschle of the prestigious, upmarket Hear the Word Ministries becomes the new Minister of Praise, Worship and Fundraising. Praise and worship of Mugabe, not of God, and the $30 million his church raised to “honour” Mugabe recently would serve as useful seed money to solicit a lot more for the added glory of the president. Having Deuschle in his pocket serves a useful purpose for Mugabe, who in the midst of his often frightening, hate-filled rhetoric, has times when he finds it useful to utter religious-sounding statements.
When he can do so without the churchmen getting in the way of whatever he wants to do, he enjoys getting the approval of prominent members of the religious establishment.
Many of the high priests of the religious establishment have their own utterly cynical reasons for wanting to hobnob with Mugabe and his top cronies. Study your world history and you will be amazed at the corrupt uses to which religion has often been put by churchmen and religious leaders alike against ordinary people. Both politics and religion are teeming with egotistical, hypocritical, unspiritual false prophets.
I am appointing a cabinet-level committee to spearhead economic revival by whispering sweet nothings into the president’s ears.
Among prominent citizens who have earned their place on this committee are Zimbabwe Open University Vice-Chancellor Primrose Kurasha and purported Rusape-area Zanu PF warlord Didymus Mutasa. By giving the president constant positive reinforcement as these people have shown themselves amply qualified to do, they help to promote stability and counter the relentless attacks on the maximum leader by the critical press and the other misguided stooges of imperialist powers.
These are all dirty jobs but somebody has to do them and I have tried to choose the most qualified people among us for them.
* Chido Makunike is a regular Harare-based columnist.