HomeOpinionMuckraker: Food Summit Trip’s Irony Totally Lost on Mugabe

Muckraker: Food Summit Trip’s Irony Totally Lost on Mugabe

IT WAS reported this week that President Mugabe took an entourage of 66 with him on his trip to Rome for the FAO food security summit. Many of those making up the presidential party, we are informed, were ministers and their wives.

Here is someone whose government has done more to reverse the gains of post-Independence agriculture than any hostile force or drought could manage. And then FAO boss Jacques Diouf is surprised when Western countries declined to take his junket seriously and stayed away.
He was photographed “sharing a lighter moment” with Mugabe.
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development minister Joseph Made compounded this surreal atmosphere by claiming efforts to improve irrigation infrastructure were designed to recoup losses suffered “when some white farmers vandalised equipment when their farms were allocated to new black farmers under the land reform programme”.
He didn’t say what happened to Kondozi Estate when ministers vandalised and plundered one of the country’s most productive agricultural schemes. Wasn’t he Agriculture minister at the time? And there was Mugabe in Rome speaking about the West’s “ruinous policies”. He didn’t have to look too far to find “ruinous” policies.
What happened to our horticulture industry? Where is the dairy sector? What terrible cruelty has been inflicted on farm animals in Chinhoyi by a senior Reserve Bank official who wouldn’t allow them to be fed or watered as he attempted to wrest control from a South African farmer?
Nestlé has been threatened with retribution if it doesn’t buy milk from the privileged beneficiaries of land seizures.
Diouf needs to be acquainted with these realities before he is next captured “sharing a lighter moment” with the president.

President Ian Khama of Botswana cannot be accused of propitiating Africa’s rulers. He is very clear on the issues Mugabe says don’t exist.
Speaking to the Botswana parliament in his state-of-the-nation address recently he said he had to express concern at the “continued failure of Zanu PF to fully honour the spirit of the power-sharing agreement”.
In the absence of genuine partnership, he said, “it would be better for all parties to go back to the people for they are the ultimate authority to determine who should form the government of Zimbabwe”.
“There can be no substitution for free, fair, and credible elections where people in any country should be allowed to elect representatives of their choice and not have them imposed on them through rigged elections, brutalising opponents, military interventions, constitutional amendments to stay longer in power, and one-man rule that goes on for decades.”
Khama said: “One thing which I fear may become a trend in Africa if not stopped is where an individual and/or a political party in order to come into power or stay in power engage in unconstitutional or undemocratic actions to achieve this which we have already witnessed result in power-sharing arrangements and one-man rule.”
We publish these remarks for the public benefit in the safe knowledge that the Herald and its team of lickspittle contributors will ignore them on the grounds that they are inconvenient to Zanu PF’s political posturing.

In this connection, we note Tafataona Mahoso’s racist attack on Georgina Godwin and Gerry Jackson in his rambling column last Saturday.
He fatuously labelled them “the newly recruited frontline troops for white soft power” in the 1990s.  This he sees as part of a Western plot to “rehabilitate apartheid and settlerism”. This led in turn to the granting of the Nobel Peace Prize to FW de Klerk, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu and “the false conversion of the former white racist settlers into human rights activists some of whom now form the Rhodie core of the MDC-T”.
Whose rotten core does he form part of, or is it all too clear?
Actually, Godwin and Jackson were victims of the regime’s failure to uphold the rule of law. Jackson was fired by ZBC for warning motorists of flashpoints to be avoided during riots that were taking place in early 1998.
When she and Godwin set up their own radio station in response to a Supreme Court ruling that the ZBC should not enjoy a broadcasting monopoly, they were raided by the police and forced to pursue their profession abroad. Many other Zimbabweans followed.
Mahoso omitted to mention any of this. But he purports to speak for the regime in its media policies. Media minister Webster Shamu has assured editors that there is no threat to what the regime calls “pirate” broadcasters if they wish to return home. Mahoso’s menacing remarks suggest otherwise.
Let’s be clear on this issue as the Maputo deadline looms. The public media continues to be a captive operation in the hands of a losing political party. Its manipulators seek to reverse the popular vote. They won’t succeed. People like Mahoso are completely delusional and would be figures of fun were they not so dangerous.

Is there for instance anybody left apart from Mugabe and Gono who want to see a return of the Zimbabwe dollar? And does Mahoso think that by slipping the word “British” in front of Commonwealth he can turn the tide of history? Is anybody buying his arthritic mantras?
He accuses the MDC-T of “lying to the people”, believing they are “too stupid to understand what is going on in the economy”.
This invites the obvious question: Who exactly is lying to the people, thinking they are “too stupid to know what is going on”? That sounds very much like Mahoso.
Also inviting derision is Reason Wafawarova who ends his Herald contributions with the flourish: “It is homeland or death.”
Further examination reveals that the homeland in question is Australia!
No wonder he wants to stay there. Life is more comfortable that side!
What a bunch of hypocrites these apologists for misrule are: Wafawarova comfortable in Australia and Mahoso having resort to his chauffeur-driven 4×4 because the streets of Harare are no longer safe. The money needed, by the way, to keep Mahoso in the style to which he has become accustomed comes from state depredations upon media houses. In other words we actually pay for him to bore us to tears with his vituperative and malevolent outpourings.

‘Yes, some mistakes were made during land reform and we do not want to repeat that,” Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere helpfully admitted last week. Indigenisation of the economy should not be mistaken for expropriation, he said. Government only wanted to “change the landscape of this country”.
It has already done that. Where once there was productive green pastures, there is now dereliction. Where once there was a trade surplus, there is now donor-dependency.
Yes Saviour, you have surely changed the national landscape.
“We must empower our own people first and then we can look at outsiders,” he said.
This neatly encapsulates Zanu PF’s approach to the economy. They see it as something they own. If foreigners want to come in they must do so on Zanu PF’s terms which invariably involve losing 51% of their investment to fat-cats from Kasukuwere’s party.
Just in case a potential investor can’t find a suitable local
partner, government has a list of individuals ready and waiting to consume the productive output of others.
This is not theft, we are told, it’s empowerment.
Sadly, foreigners will not see it that way. They have worked hard to build their companies and have no wish to see a predatory elite acquiring their assets. Why should they when countries such as Botswana, Namibia, Mauritius and Mozambique offer more attractive terms to investors? They get to keep their money while creating employment for locals.
Kasukuwere obviously doesn’t understand these basics. Under Zanu PF there will be no investment and no growth. It’s as simple as that. Nobody is going to do them a favour by giving them their hard-earned money.

Finally, we were struck by a glaring contradiction in the Herald on Wednesday. The paper carried a picture of “Shona girls stand(ing) proudly in short traditional skirts and jewellery”.
The picture, we are told, was taken around 1880.  It formed part of a feature by Joyce Jenje Makwenda, a researcher, headed “Women must celebrate their bodies”.
The only problem was the Herald had clumsily covered their breasts with paper masking so as not to offend its more conservative readers.
So much for celebrating womanhood. Perhaps Joyce could tell us who was responsible for this crude censorship which negated everything she had written!

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