The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has written to the South Korean embassy in Harare to inform them that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who was in Seoul recently to receive an award, does not have the authority to operationalise any Bippa agreements.
George Charamba told the Herald that no such agreement existed.
A Foreign Affairs official said the South Koreans had been informed of the constitutional position.
What have we here? A crass attempt by reactionary elements in government to sabotage the prime minister’s attempts to secure trade benefits with one of the world’s most dynamic economies.
It is a shocking example of the problems Zimbabwe faces as it attempts to re-establish improved relations with the world. And it is all about Mugabe’s waning prestige.
In fact no Bippa is needed for Zimbabwe and Korea to sign trade agreements. And if Mugabe’s hangers-on are so desperate that their boss should be recognised as the sole authority in Zimbabwe, why was Tsvangirai invited to Seoul and not him?
The Koreans, with close ties to the Americans, will be only too aware of the bid by the last-ditch gang and their collaborators in the Herald to hang on to power even if it means jeopardising economic recovery. They won’t be inclined to take the Foreign Affairs letter too seriously knowing where it originates and the fevered politics in Harare. What they will want to see is the same as the Fishmonger Group — recovery and reconstruction in line with the GPA terms.
The South Koreans will also know that Zimbabwe has been renewing relations with China in recent weeks. The Wang Gang has been in town. Here again we see the politics of yesteryear being revived. But at the end of the day how sensible is it for officials in Munhumutapa Building to undermine their own prime minister when he is seeking economic assistance abroad. Isn’t that his brief? And what will the world make of officials who resort to pathetic self-assertion of this sort because nobody else will engage them?
The leader of this gang was spitting venom at our publisher Trevor Ncube last weekend, claiming he “faced no political impediments at all” to securing his licence.
Really, none at all? Don’t we recall this same individual threatening Barnabas Thondhlana at a Unesco meeting last year if he dared publish before a licence was issued for NewsDay?
Public spats are not confined to our own government. The Congolese have their fair share. But it is difficult to decide who is most at fault, DRC opposition leader Tshimankinda Ngandu Kalala or DRC ambassador to Zimbabwe Mawampanga Mwana Nanga.
A public row, reported in NewsDay this week, doesn’t reflect well on either of them. But perhaps that’s the way they do business in the DRC.
Firstly we had Kalala, on a visit to Harare, taking a pot shot at President Joseph Kabila.
“There is so much misery among the ordinary Congolese, you cannot believe it,” Kalala told NewsDay. “Our country is endowed with rich mineral resources but something has gone terribly wrong somewhere. The present government has destroyed the country.”
Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
But then Ambassador Mwana Nanga waded in declaring Kalala was “a political joke”.
“He is not even known in DRC opposition politics.”
So why call him names?
And in another familiar echo, Kalala accused Kabila of selling mineral rights to the Chinese and “pocketing the money”.
He said corruption had taken root in the government of the DRC and Kabila was provoking wars with neighbours.
Kalala described President Mugabe as a “wise old man” from whom Kabila could take advice. He said the young DRC leader was fortunate to have wise elderly leaders within the Sadc community but was just not taking their advice.
Kalala is clearly immune to advice — from Zimbabwe’s voters. Does he really think he can walk into a neighbouring country and completely misread the political climate?
But which is worse: firing salvos at your head of state while you are abroad — something even the MDC avoids nowadays — or lashing out at opposition leaders, as Mwana Nanga did when ordinary diplomacy requires you be even-handed and welcoming to all visitors from your country?
So what is the Media Commission going to do about Tafataona Mahoso?
Here is Muckraker’s opinion for what it is worth. We can understand the Zanu PF view that bygones should be bygones and everybody should have a chance to redeem themselves.
But has Mahoso shown the slightest hint of repentance? Has he expressed remorse for all those journalists he put out on the street or forced into exile? Or whose address he gave to the CID?
And what about those tens of thousands of people who would have liked something different to read other than the Herald and Sunday Mail? Has he apologised to them for the stifling media climate he helped engender?
Has he written anything apart from partisan tracts designed to advance the cause of a political party decisively rejected by Zimbabwean voters?
The ZMC should be clear on this. Mahoso is anathema to local journalists because of his terrible record at the MIC where he disposed of people because Zanu PF didn’t like what they wrote. He was an obedient executioner.
His scribblings by the way are something no journalist should ever be — unforgivably boring. He cannot proceed, it would appear, beyond a couple of paragraphs without the help of Noam Chomsky.
If and when he repents his ways there might be a place for him in the apparatus of the ZMC, he should be told. But until that epiphany occurs he had better get used to making tea.
Oh, and those members of the ZMC who think Mahoso should stay on, please tell us what qualities they most admire in him? We would be fascinated to know! And do they think he should get to keep the 4X4?
SO there is no mercy for poor old Jacob Zuma.
After one of his wives strayed out of the kraal we expected an outpouring of sympathy for the South African leader.
But that was not the case. Several Talk Radio 702 callers last Friday said Nompumelelo Ntuli’s reported infidelity was a “victory” for South African women.
One SMS said: “Viva MaNtuli Viva. If Zuma can get some on the side, why can’t you?”
Meanwhile, Zuma has put on a brave face saying he was “not losing any sleep” over the reported cases of infidelity on the part of MaNtuli.
“We differentiate between personal matters and matters of the country,” he told journalists in Pretoria.
MaNtuli had an affair with a bodyguard who reportedly was the father of her unborn child. The bodyguard then committed suicide.
But latest reports suggest that MaNtuli had another relationship with famous actor Joe Mafela, but long before she met Zuma.
Mafela admitted to the Sunday Times that he had an extra-marital fling with MaNtuli. MaNtuli was reportedly unhappy that Zuma had fathered his 20th child out of wedlock with Sonono Khoza. MaNtuli was also aggrieved Zuma had taken Thobeka Madiba on a state visit to London instead of her.
Zuma is not the only one with several wives. Our own very enterprising Minister of Local Government, Ignatius Chombo, is reported to have several.
His estranged wife, Marian, has made it known that Chombo has five wives. We now hope women’s organisations in Zimbabwe will show the same solidarity as their South African counterparts and declare a “victory” for Zimbabwean women.
But what we find curious in the whole Zuma saga is the sudden appearance in the picture of Julius Malema, the ANC youth leader. Does anyone remember the ANC Youth League taking Zuma to task over his “risky” sex life?
Malema rushed to Zuma’s defence saying: “We have seen the latest reports, they are nothing, you are the president, you must never be demoralised by petty things.”
But Zuma appears content after he was given a white goat by MaNtuli, as an apology for straying out of the kraal.
The state media continues with its attempts to hoodwink gullible Zimbabweans into believing the country is part of the World Cup showcase in South Africa.
The Manica Post recently gave us a good example of such efforts. The paper told us “hundreds of police officers have been deployed at strategic points in Manicaland as the province tightens security measures ahead of the Fifa Soccer World Cup”.
Just how hundreds of police officers can be mobilised as part of the force’s efforts to keep law and order inside Zimbabwe is a big surprise.
But the Officer Commanding Manicaland Police (Operations), Assistant Commissioner David Mahoya, tells us the deployed officers would be on the look-out for locals and foreigners who might want to take advantage of the tournament to indulge in the illegal diamond trade.
“There are some who will come into the country and, indeed, visit the province as genuine tourists, but with a hidden agenda to indulge in illegal diamond trading. We are not going to be asleep or going to be carried away with the soccer matches,” Assistant Commissioner Mahoya said.
Is this not another attempt to hoodwink us? We know who is involved in the illegal trade in diamonds. Just ask how some big chefs have suddenly become cash rich. That is where the ZRP investigations should begin.
We were surprised that public companies such as Zimpapers and ZBC could “sponsor” a campaign for a war veteran to take over a leadership post.
We got the evidence from the Manica Post when the paper reported the election of a new Manicaland leadership for the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association at the Mutare Polytechnic.
Apart from thanking Jabulani Sibanda for supporting them to organise the elections, we were told war veterans’ political commissar Ben Moyo thanked companies such as the Manica Post, the Herald and ZBC for their sponsorship. We were not told whether it was in the form of publicity or cash donations. This was followed by a very long quote from Moyo thanking Mutare companies for sponsoring their elections.
“May the spirit of oneness abide (with) us all as one nation?” he preached. “Special thanks to the following sponsors: Matan Holdings, Holiday Inn, Bhadhella Wholesalers, Mutare Merchants, Zvirimugwara, Dhlanjara, Carswell Meats, Palmex Investments, Mutare Mart, Mupfumi Tours, BBC Hardware, Masara Transport, P Makwanzini, Selfast, Nematec, Dollar Shop, Ali Bhadhella, Jays Wholesalers, Blue Star, Automotive Precision, Top Quality, The Grocery Shop, Mutare Propshaft Centre, Mega Meats, Manyuchi Filling Station, the Manica Post, ZBC, Herald, Cde Mbengo, Bauline Butchery, Mazara Transport, Raffles, Jerams, Spareport Centre, Mr Mudzi, Sugar Centre, Bhufaro Hardware, Cut Price, Brothers and Woodlands. We are also thanking all those we have not mentioned by name,” Moyo said.
Is there anybody left? At least Mutare residents know where not to take their business if they want to make a protest against the depredations of war veterans and Zanu PF. The participation of public media represents a particularly shocking betrayal of public trust. Let’s put it on the record.
The case of Kimberley Process Certification Scheme monitor Abbey Chikane is a strange one. A couple of weeks ago he told the press that a “naughty intelligence officer” had broken into his case in his hotel room and photographed documents. That is how, it was suggested, the state media was able to publish a story about how the Americans were plotting to manipulate his recommendations and prevent any concessions to Zimbabwe.
Now we learn he has stated that Zimbabwe has satisfied the minimum KPCS requirements. All very mysterious. Did the “naughty” intelligence officer get it wrong or did Chikane change his mind after being sat on? And how professional is it to abandon an informant knowing what his fate is likely to be? Perhaps he was just naive!