Muckraker: Put your money where your mouth is, Sizzla!

THE 21st February Movement gala held at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Grounds in Bulawayo last Friday was a spiritually captivating affair, the Herald reported. 

Jamaican reggae artist, Sizzla Kalonji, was the star attraction at the gig to celebrate President Mugabe’s 86th birthday.
We are told that when Sizzla took to the stage people went “ballistic” and some tried to jump on stage. Security had to move in fearing for the musician’s safety.
“Security had a hard time trying to disperse the crowd that was closing in on the reggae artist who, seemingly unaware of the danger he was in, discouraged the police from dispersing fans,” the Herald reported.
What we find interesting is that Sizzla appeared oblivious of the fact that he was in real danger of being harmed by his “fans”. We are not surprised there was chaos at the bash because it was mostly populated by supporters of Zanu PF.
Webster Shamu and George Charamba were among the fans who joined in the dancing. Let’s hope George was not wearing his Mugabe shirt and little red scarf. That could be taken down and used as evidence against him at the inter-party talks.

Perhaps Sizzla did not see he was in danger because he was high. The Sunday Mail told us: “The 34-year-old self-confessed mbanje (marijuana) smoker, anti-gay lyricist and champion of the repatriation movement of black people living in the Western hemisphere, promised love, happiness, togetherness and righteousness to music lovers…”
Talking about his desire for black people to be repatriated to Africa, Sizzla should lead by example by making a permanent move to Zimbabwe. But that may prove a tad too challenging for the Jamaican performer.
He is probably not aware that millions of Zimbabweans live in the Western world after deserting their motherland because of economic and political problems created by President Mugabe and his Zanu PF party who he has been flown in to publicise. 
We are tempted to know how much Sizzla was paid to perform at the Trade Fair grounds because he appeared careful not to upset his promoters.  The Sunday Mail quoted him saying reggae artists like him needed money to survive.  He could not bite the hand that fed him. We would also be keen to know who underwrote “Comrade” Coltrane Chimurenga’s recent visit here.

We notice the Herald will not relent in its attempts to exaggerate Benjani Maruwari’s soccer exploits. We have always regarded Benjani as a good footballer who has kept our flag flying high in the prestigious English Premier Soccer League, but it does not help matters to overrate him and compare him with stars such as Brazil’s Robhino. 
“Benjani decided to leave the world’s richest club, where his chances of first-team football were limited, for the Black Cats of Sunderland hoping to be a regular member of Steve Bruce’s team at the Stadium of Light,” the Herald wrote on Tuesday, adding: “Brazilian forward Robinho, who at one stage was rated as one of the best five players in the world, also left Manchester City — during the same period and for the same reasons — and returned home to Santos. Both men have made it clear that they believe they have unfinished business in their international careers.”

‘Robinho wants to be part of the Brazil team for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa while Benjani still dreams of a dance with the Warriors at the 2012 Nations Cup finals. They believed those dreams were fading fast because they were apparently being frozen out at Manchester City, the ambitious club with rich pockets, which bought an array of attacking power that includes Carlos Tevez, Roque Santa Cruz and Emmanuel Adebayor.”
As we said, Benjani is a good player. But let’s not stretch patriotism too far and mislead readers into believing he is in the same class as the Samba boy called Robhino.
Perhaps the writer was overwhelmed by the “revolutionary spirit” that pervaded the International Trade Fair Grounds during the February 21st celebrations in Bulawayo last weekend. The same spirit was evident in newsrooms of state-controlled media houses. Presenters wore the North Korean-style scarves. Do these guys not have any sense of professionalism? Don’t they care that the country has moved on from that sort of childish conformity?

Listening to Good Evening Zimbabwe Spot FM news bulletin at 6pm on Monday brought some lighter moments. The newsreader had a slip of the tongue bordering on “treason” at ZBH.  While reading the bulletin’s main news headline, the female newsreader said: “Prime Minister, Comrade Morgan Tsva… I beg your pardon.”
Then she restarted: “Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai…”
The PM had just met a top Danish diplomat and reportedly discussed the issue of sanctions and the GPA. Could it be that the message from the PM was too “patriotic”; that the newsreader easily mistook it as coming from some comrades such as Webster Shamu or Rugare Gumbo?
But why there wasn’t a voice recording so listeners could hear for themselves exactly what Tsvangirai had said remains a mystery. Almost all the news reports in that bulletin except the PM’s were accompanied by voice recordings.

We were happy to see a “clarification” from Justice Ben Hlatshwayo on his relationship with Ariston Holdings following a story in the Independent. He now occupies a farm, Kent Estate, on land Ariston offered for resettlement in 2003, the Sunday Mail helpfully reported. He has a valid offer letter, we are told, and relations with Ariston are “excellent”.
Justice Hlatshwayo said he had “managed to do well in a short period”. So far he has 130 hectares of soyabeans, 40 hectares under seed maize, 40 hectares of seed sorghum, and 40 hectares equally apportioned between commercial maize and sugar beans.
He has clearly managed to hold down a busy job as a High Court judge and as a farmer!
But what surprised us in the Sunday Mail article was the absence of any mention of Gwina Farm. Could the paper please tell us what happened to that holding and why Justice Hlatshwayo felt the need to move?

We were interested to note the small war the AAG is starting up with Telecel because their management is not Zimbabwean. This followed Aimable Mpore’s deportation. He obviously found Zimbabwean officialdom less than amiable!
Talented Zimbabweans in the job market needed to be engaged, said Charles Nyachowe, president of the AAG’s Harare province chapter in an interview with the Sunday Mail. Some, such as Sifiso (not Siphiso) Dabengwa, who is MTN’s chief operations officer in charge of Africa and the Middle East, were driving the telecoms business of other countries, he said.
Fair enough. But then his argument came off the rails.
“We want to see small media players participating,” Nyachowe said. “The cake is too big for advertising agencies such as Baker McCormick (Barker McCormac Ogilvy) and Michael Hoggs (Michael Hogg). Where is Yebo Communications, Dicomm and other black-owned and managed industries?”
Where indeed? What happened to Michael Hogg after it was “indigenised” three years ago? How much value did Sharon Mugabe add to Imago Y&R as the agency became?
Where is the Dicomm owner? In the US we gather. And what about Albert Nhau at Lintas? Did Zanu PF ever pay the agency for election expenditure? Lintas was once one of the most prosperous agencies in the country. What happened?
What we see in all these cases is indigenously owned companies demonstrating their gratitude to their political sponsors in Zanu PF only to discover they were not expected to charge for party ads!
Nyachowe said it was the AAG’s mandate to “police the implementation” of empowerment laws. We know what he means. How many rural bus owners have been ruined because Zanu PF declined to pay their bills?
And the next time the Sunday Mail’s business reporter writes on this topic at the behest of AAG vultures it might be useful to know just a little about the advertising business and spell a few of the names right of those involved.

Much is expected from President Zuma’s visit to London this week. He will stay with the Queen at Buckingham Palace and ride in an open carriage down the Mall. Talks with Gordon Brown will include Zimbabwe. But Zimbabweans should not get too excited by that. The two leaders have much else to consider including world trade and climate change. And Zuma has events back home to worry about.
He has problems with his own restive population, not to mention the small matter of his wives. This resulted in laughter in parliament during his state-of-the-nation address recently. He was the only person not laughing. It happened when he congratulated football administrator Ivan Khoza on progress in the World Cup preparations. Khoza’s daughter has been the latest victim of presidential depredations.
In this connection we enjoyed the following letter to the editor of the Citizen recently.
“I phoned the President’s Office and thank goodness I did. If it was not for me making that call our Zumie would have ended up with 16 wives in the very near future.
“Very early in our discussion it became clear to me that the whole problem is purely because our president misunderstood his wedding vows. He thought the priest had said ‘Four better, four worse, four richer and four poorer.’
“So you can all relax. He now understands that he doesn’t have to have 16 wives.”
In all fairness, Zuma did throw out an interesting remark on Zimbabwe last week that warrants repetition. While he condemned sanctions, he attempted to justify his “park and proceed” policy with the following: “Suppose somebody in Zimbabwe is using these issues to maintain tension until elections. You are playing into the hands of such a person,” he said.
Indeed!

Last week in this column we referred to the “murder” of “commercial farmer Jock Kay”.
That should have read David Stevens. Our apologies for the error.

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