He was not just a former member of the Selous Scouts, the paper alleged, “but is an unrepentant Rhodie who even tried to undermine the country’s Independence in 1980”.
This assertion was based on statements by war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda and others. Sibanda said: “There is no way we can tolerate Bennett. For us to accommodate people like Bennett is an insult to those who liberated the country.”
It was claimed that Bennett had once been active in an organisation called the Republican Front and later the Conservative Alliance of Zimbabwe.
During the liberation war, it was claimed, he was a member of the Selous Scouts.
President Mugabe has maintained that Bennett could not be sworn into office so long as he was facing “serious charges”. Now that he has been acquitted of those charges and the state’s evidence discredited, Zanu PF is thinking up new ways to block his appointment. The state has appealed against the acquittal. And it is mobilising its spokesmen, some of whom did not participate in the liberation war, to say that Bennett’s appointment would be unacceptable because of his war record.
The Selous Scouts helped to perpetuate Ian Smith’s apartheid regime, we are told.
“It was the most feared apartheid regime in Africa,” Sibanda said.
We rather thought the apartheid regime was the most feared apartheid regime in Africa! And where did Sibanda get his information that Bennett was a Selous Scout?
Here we have a perfect example of why the state media cannot be trusted. A war record is concocted for Bennett by Mugabe’s spin-doctors and handed to editors for unadulterated reproduction. No research is done as to whether the information is accurate. It is simply invented and repeated by people like Sibanda who don’t know any better.
But what we have here is a wider issue. Should Bennett be refused appointment on the grounds that Zanu PF doesn’t like him and has made up stories to justify their refusal to block him from office?
So there is no rule of law; no adherence to a solemn agreement. Just a big lie and a compliant media.
The allegation that Bennett is “an insult to the struggle” is considered sufficient grounds for his being denied access to the post the MDC-T has designated for him, as they are entitled to do.
This is the rule of law turned on its head. Zanu PF — hardly a disinterested party — is able to deny an opposition politician his constitutional right to participate in the political process because the former ruling party fears his popularity and what he may uncover during his tenure at the Ministry of Agriculture.
When Zimbabwe’s delegation to the forthcoming re-engagement
talks in Brussels finally arrives there, could the EU negotiators please investigate this egregious example of misrule and subornment of the media instead of indulging our politicians, as their representative here, Xavier Marchal, is inclined to do.
“Reports indicate,” the Sunday Mail said,” that Bennett was “part of a group of Rhodies that confronted other whites who had defected to join Zanu PF in the early 1980s”.
So was that an offence? Isn’t that the routine stuff of politics? It happens every day in a democracy. Ask Nick Clegg.
Didn’t Bennett not have the right to dissuade others from making a certain political choice? Only in the over-heated Sunday Mail newsroom does this become a hanging offence.
And don’t we recall the same Bennett being a Zanu PF activist in the late 1980s? Did he not move around in Manicaland with Christopher Mushohwe and Didymus Mutasa tohelp raise funds for the party? How come that bit was airbrushed out of the Sunday Mail story?
They were happy to have his support then. And there were no silly stories about Selous Scouts. They only surfaced when he became a popular MDC MP! And how “repentant” has Zanu PF been about the widespread killings in Matabeleland in the 1980s?
We have seen a number of reports about Zimbabwe giving wildlife to North Korea. In one of the reports, in the Sunday Times, we see a spokesman for the “North Korean embassy” saying: “Maybe this is a private arrangement. All I know is that the laws in Korea on the transportation of wildlife are very strict.”
Now we don’t want to be too harsh on what looks like a rookie reporter. But if he can manufacture a non-existent embassy, perhaps he can manufacture a quote as well!
Meanwhile, Zanu PF is planning to seize more land — suburban this time.
The party is planning to nationalise private suburban property.
The latest edition of the People’s Voice, the official organ of Zanu PF, contains an article penned by self-confessed political dinosaur Don Muvuti, headed “How should urban land be shared?” In it he suggests the following solution to urban land shortages.
“The answer can also lie in nationalising the low-density suburbs along with residential premises on them. This should enable the city and town councils to at least rule out abuses designed to prevent the indigenous Zimbabweans from effecting entry into them.”
So suburban land-grabs are being mooted. Take this as a warning if you are thinking of buying property in any of our towns and cities. Investors in particular should watch out.
Muvuti by the way is billed as the newspaper’s proofreader. Bennett is not once spelt correctly in the paper’s front-page article or its Comment column. And in Muvuti’s own piece, we have “no-going” instead of on-going.
We can be sure of one thing. This man is an on-going disaster!
US “business guru” Elzie Higginbottom has been visiting Zimbabwe to explore investment opportunities, Sunday Mail Business tells us.
“This is a market I would definitely like to be in,” he declared. He said he wasn’t particularly bothered by the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act. But he was bothered by the hostile international press.
“I strongly believe that based on my own observations that Zimbabwe has lost the ‘public relations war’,” he said. There is no doubt the Zimbabwe that has been portrayed by the Western media is not the Zimbabwe of reality.”
Higginbottom said he was going to be personally involved in helping to correct “the substantive image of Zimbabwe in America”.
“I am personal friends with both former President Bill Clinton and the current Secretary of State Mrs Hillary Clinton,” he said. “Within a week of my return to Chicago I will discuss with both of them the unfair manner in which Zimbabwe is being treated regarding the sanctions.”
That should be interesting to watch. Can you imagine the Clintons saying: “Yes, we agree with you, President Mugabe has been cruelly treated by the Western media”?
Not very probable is it? More likely they will explain to him that so long as cases such as that of Jestina Mukoko and Roy Bennett feature large in the news, there is no prospect of avoiding a bad press. Then of course there are the on-going farm seizures, disregard for the rule of law, and abuse of the public media. How exactly are the Clintons expected to agree with Higginbottom that all these matters should be ignored by the media?
ANC youth leader Julius Malema has a bone to chew with Jacob Zuma for calling him to order.
The youth league now wants to expose Zuma’s lifestyle.
The youth league was angered by the ANC’s refusal to overturn a punishment slapped on Malema for disobeying Zuma.
Because of that they are planning to challenge Zuma’s leadership by questioning his “risky” behaviour saying the president must not hide behind culture. Zuma has three wives and numerous offspring.
A South African newspaper said although the league had launched the one-girlfriend-one-boyfriend campaign two years ago, it was, however, emphasised that it would go public by challenging ANC leaders, especially Zuma, to lead by example. He recently tested negative in a public HIV test.
The reports said Malema himself didn’t want to entertain the issue because “he did not want to be seen as challenging Zuma”, but his organisation was hell-bent on pushing for the campaign.
Coincidentally, Malema condemned the practice of multiple partners during his address to the women’s assembly last weekend.
“As men we have a responsibility to ensure that the rights of women are protected, and find a correct balance between expressing our cultural rights and respect for women in South Africa,” he said.
“It can never be permanently correct that men are forever at liberty to have many sexual partners, when women are demonised for engaging in such practices.”
Is this the same Malema who told South Africans last year that Zuma’s sex life was a “private affair” which had nothing to do with governance?
We could not make head nor tail of a story carried in the Tuesday issue of the Herald headlined “ZRP sets up WC command centre”.
The paper quoted police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka telling us the police had “established a command centre for the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup at the Police General Headquarters to contribute to regional safety and security”.
But the paper immediately told us that “several policemen will soon leave for South Africa to assist in the centre’s operations”.
We were also told that members of the public have been urged to use Harare hotlines 703631, 253245 and 777777 to assist the police.
Good developments there but after reading the Herald story we were left wondering as to where exactly the command centre had been set up.
Meanwhile, police in Bulawayo assured the public that the force was in “total control” and ready to deal with any criminal activities. CID coordinator Assistant Commissioner Erasmus Makodza said criminals were “small boys” that the police could effectively deal with.
“We are ready to deal with them because they are not complex, but are just small boys,” he was quoted as saying. So no worries there.
Finally, we assume Tendai Biti is feeling a little less lonely following recent events in Greece. Zimbabwe is probably now wealthier than they are, or at least less debt-bound. But it can’t be true that Angela Merkel asked for the Parthenon as collateral against the euro loan.
Failing that (so the story goes), she asked for Crete which was very popular with German visitors in 1941!