HomeBusiness DigestMuckraker: A rogue ‘best’ friend we could do without

Mpofu defiant on diamond revenues

IT MAY be time for our old friend Patrick Chinamasa to cool his heels in the transit lounge at Brussels airport.

He has been busy blocking the work of the Council of Ministers by thwarting the Government Work Programme which sets out government business over the year.
Permanent secretaries aligned to Zanu PF have used the state media to say they would not attend meetings of the Council of Ministers because they were unconstitutional.
Chinamasa blocked moves by secretary in the prime minister’s office, Ian Makone, to “clandestinely reassign cabinet powers to the Council of Ministers chaired by his boss Morgan Tsvangirai”, the Sunday Mail told us.
Documents seen by the paper show that Makone had tried to summon permanent secretaries to the Council of Ministers and in the process get them to report to the prime minister and not their line ministers.
“However, these attempts were blocked by Justice minister Chinamasa who had to write to the Minister of State in the PM’s office, Gorden Moyo, explaining the constitutional position and the manner in which government operates”.
The Herald had it “on good authority” that the Government Work Programme has not been approved and “remains a wish list from the PM’s office”.

This is all useful to have on the record ahead of the Brussels meeting on reengagement that was postponed last week because of the volcanic ash.
Chinamasa has faced difficulties getting a visa to travel to Europe. If and when he gets there he must be “grilled” on his attempts to thwart progress in the government of national unity.
Here we have several examples of Zanu PF’s delinquency. First of all partisan permanent secretaries have been feeding confidential documents to the state press. This underlines the dangers of unprofessional officials continuing to hold office.
Secondly there is the more serious problem of Zanu PF-aligned officials blocking government business.  PM Tsvangirai is desperately trying to revive the economy by harnessing ministers and their officials to a common programme. It was always feared by those wary of working with reactionary elements in the Mugabe regime that they would prevent change.
That is exactly what is happening now under the guise of upholding constitutional procedures.
EU officials have been trying to be helpful to the GNU by promising the lifting of certain measures at the behest of PM Tsvangirai.
It must be obvious to even the most naïve observer that the old guard is blocking reform and systematically undermining Tsvangirai’s authority.
The GNU project is under threat and this is in turn impacting on investment. It will be very difficult in the circumstances for Elton Mangoma’s team in Brussels, when it gets there, to argue that there has been change. In fact it would be foolish for them to even try. EU officials should take note of the latest developments in the GNU and read the poisonous tracts attacking the MDC-T appearing in the so-called public press. These are very often penned by senior government officials and tell us all we need to know about Zanu PF’s commitment to change.

One area the MDC-T omitted from inclusion in the GPA was that of foreign policy. How can you have a government seeking international approval and assistance for recovery measures hobnobbing with rogue regimes that believe the Holocaust didn’t really happen?
This deeply offensive stance is one of several held by President Ahmoud Ahmadinejad who paid a flying visit to Zimbabwe last week. He is responsible for ruthlessly crushing protests against electoral manipulation in Iran last year. His opponents in the poll say he used state agencies to steal the election.
He was therefore, some may say, an entirely appropriate visitor to Harare. But as the MDC-T pointed out, they could not be expected to welcome the Iranian leader when they had not been consulted about his visit to open the ZITF in Bulawayo. There were some very silly remarks in the government press about how the MDC-T was getting its marching orders on Ahmadinejad from Washington and
Does it really take instructions from the West for the people of Zimbabwe to realise this was the representative of a very odious regime who didn’t even have the full support of his own people judging by the election results. Zimbabweans were able to see the film footage and cellphone pictures coming out of Tehran last year in the wake of the stolen poll.

On a lighter note it was good to see the two self-appointed champions of anti-imperialism sitting in the back of a 1960 Austin Princess, once seen carrying the Queen Mother to the opening of the Central African Trade Fair, as it was then called.
Back then the trade fair was a bustling showcase for the products of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. It was packed with exhibitors and visitors from far afield. Now, with most exhibitors staying away, it is little more than an exclusive Iranian showpiece where the most impressive items are a handful of tractors.
The state media in extolling the products of Iranian manufacturing appear not to know there is a precedent. Back in the days of the old Soviet Union, the appearance of tractors as symbols of a new socialist era was something of a legendary joke among Western visitors to trade fairs.
Meanwhile, the MDC-T urgently needs to demand consultation on the issue of foreign policy. We cannot have a situation where a defeated party speaks for the country and heaps shame upon Zimbabwe by associating with notorious enemies of democracy.
“Choice of friends defines character,” the MDC said, “and inviting the Iranian strongman to an investment forum is like inviting a mosquito to cure malaria.”
Iran is obviously Zimbabwe’s new best friend. But what happened to all the others? Anybody remember Malaysia, now frantically trying to rescue its investments in the Burma Valley? And more recently Equatorial Guinea? What happened to that undying friendship? Perhaps the release of Simon Mann irked the Zimbabwean authorities who like to hold on to political prisoners for as long as possible. Reports say Mann was made to feel comfortable in the klink — a far cry from the usual Blackbeach accommodation — with his food prepared at a local hotel.
And then there are the politics of oil. There is a weekly flight to Malabo from Houston. That may prove more persuasive than any solidarity with Zanu PF!

By the way, has anybody noticed the anti-Mandela campaign going on in the state press? They hate his international standing. But why parade their hostility now?
Meanwhile, the Johannesburg  Sunday Times ran an incisive editorial on April 18.
“Robert Mugabe and his shrinking coterie of beholden allies will be alone in their unqualified celebration of today’s 30th anniversary of their country’s Independence,” the editor wrote. “It was indeed a great day when Rhodesia shrugged off the yoke of colonial rule. But today, after three decades of Mugabe’s ruinous rule, there is nothing left to celebrate.
“For the millions who cheered that country’s freedom on April 18 1980 this anniversary is a memorial to shattered dreams. Mugabe’s survival in office after a string of brutally stolen elections offends every genuine democrat. His destruction of Zimbabwe’s vibrant agricultural and industrial economies weighs upon the development of the entire African continent. The example of despotic rule encourages nascent dictators like our own asininely ambitious Julius Malema…”

Young Julius we hear has been a guest of the equally unhinged Hugo Chavez this week. They have a common agenda: nationalisation. And that’s where Saviour Kasukuwere comes in.
The Standard carried a front page story on Sunday on how one of the most successful and prosperous companies in the country, UTC, is unable to pay its workers because it has been run into the ground.
Kasukuwere is part of a consortium of local businessmen who acquired the company in 2001.
Having taken a cut in wages, the workers say they now want their wages paid in full having observed that management continue to enjoy benefits such as fuel and school fees.
Here is a company that should have been the flagship of indigenisation. Instead it stands as a warning of what could happen to the economy as a whole under Kasukuwere’s plans.
Zanu PF: You destroy everything you touch. Why should anybody trust you with their investments?

Ever since their historic defeat in 2008, Zanu PF’s propagandists have become uncontrollably shrill. They are now mostly confined to the leader pages of the Herald where they wave their pathetic fists at the MDC and its leaders. These Jurassic misfits do no more now than elicit a laugh at their crass and spurious patriotism. Finding themselves on the wrong side of history, the best they can do is turn up the volume.
Tichaona Zindoga, for instance, under the Soviet-era heading, “Zimbabwe and Iran, sturdy fronts against US hegemony”, describes the reaction to Ahmadinejad’s visit by some MDC-T supporters as “at best arsinine (sic) and unfortunate, and tragic and evil at worst”.
Which bit was “evil” we wonder? Staying away from the welcoming ceremony?
“President Ahmadinejad came as a friend of Zimbabwe while the MDC hobnobs with enemies of the country who are bent on reversing the just cause of the Zimbabwean majority.”
Is that the same majority that voted against Zanu PF in 2008?
“We believe in common principles,” Mahmoud Dinner-jacket explained.
You bet. Beating the life out of opposition demonstrators is one.
Iranians are becoming increasingly disillusioned with their rulers just as Zimbabweans did after 2000.

Then we had that other Jurassic inhabitant, Tafataona Ma-
hoso, claiming that Zimbabwe’s 30 years of Independence “could have been framed as 30 years of progressive internationalism”.
Really? Has anybody heard it framed like that? Is that a description of the 30 years of Zanu PF’s ruinous rule Mahoso is obliged to extol in his turgid weekly columns?
Apart from their political isolation, Zanu-PF’s publicists have something else in common: They are as boring as hell.
“To be continued”: The words that send a shiver down the backs of Herald and Sunday Mail readers!

Mahoso does not seem to relent in his defence of individuals suspected of having made a killing through the systematic plunder of our diamonds.
It seems he is doing battle to cover up for those suspected to have selfishlessly benefited from Chiadzwa.
Mahoso believes parliament’s portfolio committee on Mines and Energy has a sinister motive when they push to be allowed to establish the goings-on in Chiadzwa.
“In the instalment for April 11, I raised questions about the conduct and motives of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Mines and Energy in the face of illegal economic sanctions and a propaganda war fuelled by Rhodesian racism and vindictiveness against the Africans of this Southern African region, against Africans who are remobilising in order to complete their hard-won independence through the reclamation and redemption of their assets.”
Please Mahoso, the plunder of Chiadzwa has nothing to do with sanctions. Stealing diamonds from Chiadzwa must not be swept under the rubric of “reclamation and redemption of  assets”!

A good example of partisan deceit was evident on Wednesday. The Herald’s deputy editor wrote that “the Rhodesians did not cede power voluntarily as evidenced by Ian Smith’s tears as the Union Jack was lowered. . . just after midnight on April 18 1980.”
Shouldn’t that be “at midnight on April 17”? And Smith might well have shed tears had he been there. But he wasn’t. The Herald’s deputy editor made it up. Smith was unlikely to have  mourned the departure of the Union Jack. He removed it  in 1968.

Finally, Muckraker was intrigued to hear that King George Rd in Avondale was sealed off last Thursday evening while the Ahmadinejad family shopped for curios by the side of the road. It was good to know that something tangible emerged from the Iranian leader’s visit and not just hot air.

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