Muckraker: Apologists and their disgraceful excuses

TAFATAONA Mahoso has been waging war against the Law Society of Zimbabwe for several years now. It is therefore surprising that he can’t spell Sternford Moyo’s name correctly. It is not “Stanford”.

Mahoso was using his tedious column on Tuesday to attack the Zimbabwe Independent and other publications for being part of the campaign of “illegal” sanctions and “criminal defamation against Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans which the MDC formations mounted on behalf of white Rhodies and their Anglo Saxon sponsors in order to make the illegal and racist sanctions appear to be justified”.
Phew! Apart from anything else he clearly needs an editor.
Mahoso compares the MDC-T’s call for a calibrated reduction in sanctions to a torturer removing the instruments of torture slowly in order to relish the prolonged suffering of the victims.
Interesting isn’t it that Mahoso should invent a case of torture when last week we carried MDC-T transport manager Pasco Gwezere’s very real account of torture at the hands of state agents. He said at one time they tied his arms and legs together and put a tow bar beneath his knees and suspended him between two tables and began to beat him. They called this torture method “Birchenough Bridge”.
When this didn’t work, Gwezere said, “they resorted to “the undertaker”, whereby they threw him into a shallow grave and shovelled earth on top of him. They showed him a report they said they would send to the editor of a state newspaper which claimed that he had escaped from police custody.
He said the torturers said they would give the statement to the press after he failed to cooperate and they had killed him.
So here we have Mahoso engaged in fictitious drivel about a defamation campaign against Zimbabwe involving “slow torture” when he ignores the well-reported use of torture as a weapon against individuals seen as opponents of the party he so slavishly supports.
Then Zimbabwean authorities bleat about sanctions when they have sick apologists for dictatorship like Mahoso writing in their newspapers.

Who is responsible for the chaos in the corridors of power?
At three o’clock on Monday afternoon we got a message from a Mr Nyagumbo in the president’s office inviting our editors to a briefing with the president on Wednesday. The next day, Tuesday, at 9:15 the briefing was cancelled.
This is the second time this has happened. A press briefing with the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity was scrapped at the last minute towards the end of last year.
What is the matter with these people? If a date is made it should be kept.
George Charamba promised the media greater access to the president at a Unesco workshop last year. But we haven’t heard from him since.

Sacked Arda general manager Erickson Mvududu, giving evidence to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture last week, opened a can of worms with his description of how Arda goes about its business.
He said during his 17 months at Arda he witnessed rampant looting of equipment by influential people and corruption by senior managers.
He said he suspended a manager who had placed his farm workers on Arda’s payroll and was cannibalising the parastatal’s tractors by stripping them of spares to repair his own, the Herald reported.
At one stage Arda had 20 000 head of cattle but this was reduced to 3 000 owing to theft and abuse by senior managers.
“I noted there was some equipment that had not been utilised for five to 10 years,” the Herald reported Mvududu as telling the committee, “but was just there for some people to come and strip.
“You would find that a manager might not be producing at an Arda farm but if you go to his farm he would be producing.”
Could there be anything more emblematic of Zanu PF’s corrupt cronyism than this?
And who was accountable for this shocking state of affairs? The minister, Joseph Made, will remain safely ensconced in his office because he is the president’s agricultural advisor.
Arda’s board chairman Basil Nyabadza had a ready explanation for all this.
It could not be divorced from “illegal Western sanctions”, he claimed.
That is the most disgraceful excuse for mismanagement we have heard for a long time. But it confirms what we know about parastatal bosses and the sheltered employment Zanu PF affords them.
“Come and feed at this trough,” they are told!

Here’s another excuse worth noting. AAG president Supa Mandiwanzira attacked Nestlé last year for failing to indigenise.
“As AAG we cannot accept this continued harassment of the Head of State,” he told the press.
“The First Family is a symbol of economic empowerment and they have taken a battering simply because of the steps they have taken to empower the majority.”
So the First Family has taken a “battering” because they have “taken steps to empower the majority”? Was it the majority that got empowered Supa? Don’t we recall Zanu PF proclaiming a one man/one farm policy a few years ago? What happened to that?
Perhaps Supa could tell us.

In an interview with the Herald last Saturday Arthur Mutambara was in gushing mode.
“Zimbabweans must show maturity by giving respect where it is due,” he said. “President Mugabe is a founding father of the nation who was part of the liberation struggle. He has generational results which you cannot take away.”
Not content with this glowing tribute, the rocket scientist continued to gush.
“You cannot take away 1980 which he brought to Zimbabwe and 1980 will be celebrated 500 years from now. These are generational results, so is 1776 in America and 1876 in France.
“You cannot take away President Mugabe’s education policies. I am a product of his education policy.”
In that case we are sure Prof Mutambara would not mind “educating” us about the events of 1876 in France. It was as far as we know a fairly quiet year. But the educated one might know something we don’t.
Now 1789, that was a different matter. So was 1793, 1815, 1830, 1848 and 1870. But 1876? Nothing. Nada Zilch!

We have occasionally in this column drawn attention to Zanu-PF proxy organisations masquerading as part of civil society. These include outfits like Martin Dinha’s Zimbabwe Lawyers for Justice which was active in the Sadc Tribunal case, and the Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations.
But more recently a couple of more dubious organisations have appeared on the scene. 
These are the Zimbabwe Exhumers Association which, it seems, won’t let fallen heroes rest in peace, and the presumably related Zimbabwe Coffin-Makers Association.
Then this week another one popped up. Youth in Natural Resources Management made itself known in support of the Indigenisation Act. Its chairman is Wellington Peyama who was happy to say youths needed to benefit from Zimbabwe’s resources.
Is there no end to this flood of Zanu-PF pawns? And is there an office in Munhumutapa Building where fictitious outfits are invented to provide helpful statements for Herald stories?

Muckraker is grateful to the Embassy of the United States for their Christmas card which arrived on February 10. Is this a record, we asked ourselves? The capitol is shown covered in snow and we must assume the same blizzard delayed the reindeer on their journey south. Or perhaps they were recalled for safety checks.

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