THE state media is doing its best to provide a silver lining to the dark clouds that hang above the nation.
On Friday, November 7 the Herald carried a front-page picture of a truck with water bowsers parked in Budiriro. The caption read â€œBudiriro residents fetch clean water from bowsers provided by the government and its partners as efforts to tame the cholera outbreak in the suburb intensifyâ€.
This was disingenuous to say the least. The bowsers were supplied by Unicef and the German Agro Action agency. These were the â€œpartnersâ€ who got a passing mention. The governmentâ€™s role was largely fictional.
But this sleight of hand enabled the Herald to introduce a story on the injection of US$2 million in medical supplies with the following: â€œAs water started flowing into several Harare suburbs yesterdayâ€¦â€
How many residents of Harare saw water â€œflowingâ€ into their suburbs two weeks ago? That was probably something else they saw flowing in their streets!
To what extent has cholera been â€œtamedâ€ in recent weeks? Even governmentâ€™s panel-beaten figures for casualties suggest the genesis of an epidemic.
Last Friday it was announced that an inter-ministerial taskforce had been set up to combat the cholera outbreak. It comprised â€œa competent teamâ€ to manage the situation, we were told.
Health minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said the taskforce would focus on mitigating the spread of the epidemic.
And how would it do this? People should wash their hands with â€œclean running waterâ€, he wisely opined. He didnâ€™t say where the water would come from. Perhaps one of the bowsers in Budiriro!
There was another â€œsunshineâ€ story in the Herald recently announcing that Zimbabwe would get US$21,4 million for food production from the World Bank and Food and Agriculture Organisation.
Why are UN bodies having to contribute to Zimbabweâ€™s survival when the country used to provide for its own needs and export a surplus to the region? Are these issues raised when officials hand out these millions? Letâ€™s hope they are not satisfied with deceitful drought-and-sanctions explanations. You have to be a real dummy to swallow that one!
Talking of which, whatever else you may think about Information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, he never fails to entertain.
Last weekend he was quoted by the Standard as saying MDC leaders should have been arrested to force them into joining a government of national unity.
Mugabe was frustrated by delays in setting up a government of national unity, Ndlovu said, and it was important that measures were taken to compel Tsvangirai to join the government.
Â â€œThe government has been lenient and patient with Tsvangirai and this leniency is not a weakness,â€ Ndlovu declared. â€œWe could have invoked serious harsh measures and arrested the MDC leadership long ago and gone ahead to form a governmentâ€¦â€
That would have been a suitable reaction to Western â€œinterferenceâ€, he suggested.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa dismissed Ndlovuâ€™s statement as the â€œrantings of a loserâ€.
â€œSuch statements can only be said by someone who has either lost his mind or an election,â€ he commented.
What about somebody who has lost both and is about to lose a by-election?
This fits neatly with Patrick Chinamasaâ€™s claim that Ian Khamaâ€™s proposal that Zimbabwe should hold free and fair elections was â€œprovocativeâ€.
Now we learn that incarceration is a suitable response to those who refuse to join Mugabeâ€™s cabinet.
Perhaps we should reopen our â€œOnly in Zimbabweâ€ segment.
Does anybody recall a few weeks ago Gideon Gono saying, in response to objections, that there would be â€œno going backâ€ on forex shops?
This steadfastness of purpose did not apply, we presume, to RTGSs.
Is there anything else the good governor would like to tell us will/wonâ€™t be reversed before it is/isnâ€™t?
Zanu PFâ€™s friends have yet to realise there will have to be some â€œgoing backâ€ on a number of issues including the printing of money that is having such a devastating impact on the economy.
A loaf of bread which cost $320 000 on Monday last week, cost $390 000 last Wednesday and $1 500 000 on Saturday. What it is this week is anybodyâ€™s guess. What we do know for sure is that the Zanu PF government is doing absolutely nothing to rein it in and more than a small amount to fuel it while proclaiming itâ€™s all the fault of Tsvangirai and sanctions.
Have they not woken up yet to the reality that nobody believes them anymore â€“â€“ if they ever did? It wasnâ€™t Tsvangirai or the British and Americans who seized productive farms and transformed them into deserts. It wasnâ€™t Tsvangirai or the British and Americans who dispossessed investors who had brought their money into the country under bilateral investment agreements.
Now these same brigands expect Tsvangirai to rescue them from the consequences of their plunder while they continue to insult him on a daily basis in their captive press.
Even children have been roped in. One, in the Herald Letters column on Tuesday, calling himself â€œChild Parliamentarianâ€, accused Tsvangirai of fighting a â€œhollyâ€ war against â€œour liberator, President Mugabe, who has made us the most literate nation in Africaâ€.
Not apparently in this case!
Perhaps all this abuse helps them to feel good in the wake of popular rejection. But it wonâ€™t bring in the bucks.
Speaking of President Mugabeâ€™s contribution to literacy, may we please know where his offspring are being educated? We heard some time ago that Grace was in the Far East looking for suitable educational establishments for young Bona, who voted in Harare in the March election, but we have received no confirmation of what sort of place, if any, was found.
While it could be argued the education of First Family members is a private matter, that all depends whether public funds are used or not.
Hong Kong, we gather would hold some appeal for the president: It is British in many of its characteristics but Chinese in ownership and therefore beyond the reach of the pesky human rights crowd.
But it would be a costly business finding a university in the former colony and suitable lodgings, not to mention the upkeep of security details.
Whatever the case it would be useful to know, given Mugabeâ€™s charitable role in sending students to Fort Hare, where he has decided to send Bona.
We gather some of the Fort Hare undergraduates were summoned to Sandton recently to demonstrate for Zanu PF at the Sadc Summit. But they were chased off by the more numerous MDC mob.
We drew attention recently to the scandalous decision by Zesa to refuse cheques from hard-pressed subscribers. We still havenâ€™t heard from Gideon Gono on this score. Now we hear Tel*One is doing the same thing.
A customer calling at their Emerald Hill offices this week was told their whole computer system was down so they couldnâ€™t tell him how much he owed. And no, they wouldnâ€™t take a cheque to cover what the customer might owe.
As the customerâ€™s phone has been out of order for several months you would have thought they would want the money. But no, only cash will do â€” even for dead lines!
Remember that little room we speculated about where government officials meet weekly to think up ways of making life as difficult as possible for the public? They are evidently still very busy.
The semi-literate Voice carried a piece this week claiming Tsvangirai was â€œpursuing other agendasâ€ in refusing to implement the Sadc resolution.They turned out to be harebrained claims that the MDC-T leader wanted to bring his â€œWestern handlersâ€ into the country to promote instability.
The article was written by somebody called Tendai Mugabe.
What these clueless scribes at the Voice donâ€™t seem to understand is that most people in this country would welcome Western advisors brought in so we could have a telephone system that works, safe water supplies, reliable power distribution and access to our bank accounts.
Zanu PF is unable to ensure even the basics of a stable state like health and education so until it can do something useful its media apologists should either put up or shut up. If they all hate Tsvangirai that much why are they begging him to join their inept government?
An â€œupcomingâ€ real estate company has been advertising in the Herald for a secretary. â€œGood pecks on offerâ€, it assures applicants.
This is presumably a reference to membership of the nearby gym.