Copac — the Constitutional Parliamentary Select Committee —announced this week it had shelved plans to gather views from residents of Harare and Bulawayo because they could be glued to their TV sets.
“Copac realised at the last moment that few people would participate because of the football extravaganza under way across the Limpopo,” NewsDay told us.
Copac co-chairman Paul Mangwana confirmed on Monday night that “it had been realised at the eleventh hour that the World Cup football extravaganza could affect participation by urban dwellers.
“We realised that with some matches starting in the afternoon,” Mangwana said, “attendances would be very poor.”
Then there was another “realisation”.
“We also considered the likely possibility a longer consultation period of three days would allow some unscrupulous characters to appear several times to air the same views at different consultation venues.” So the consultation period in Harare and Bulawayo has been reduced from three days to two.
Asked why he hadn’t thought of all this earlier, Mangwana disclosed that “there is never a good time for thinking up good ideas. They can come anytime so you can’t ask why we didn’t come up with this idea (to postpone the process) earlier.”
Evidently, stunning minds at work here!
Muckraker was intrigued by the president’s remarks at the Copac outreach launch. He explained the sort of compromises that had to be made at Lancaster House such as over white seats and land acquisition.
But then he threw in the following: “We said the two Houses, that is the Upper House and Lower House, be cut into one, but later it was felt again that we needed a second House because we are independent and can choose our own destiny without any foreign interference.”
So the decision to have a unicameral parliament was a product of the post-colonial compromise? That certainly wasn’t what was said at the time. In fact Muckraker distinctly recalls that the single-House legislature was sold to the country as a nationalist project. Now we learn it wasn’t. The bicameral arrangement was the one that gave us back our sovereignty and Independence.
Anybody following this?
We were intrigued by a statement by Media minister Webster Shamu “castigating” some multinational companies for failing to plough back their output into the community “despite making huge profits from the country’s natural resources”.
In particular Shamu accused Zimplats of failing to develop the area surrounding its platinum mining ventures at Ngezi. He presented a chair manufactured by an indigenous company, Adam Bede, to Chief Ngezi as an example of what multinationals should be doing.
The chief was shown sitting in the chair.
This is populism at its worst. How does the presentation of a chair to a local chief match the vast resources channelled back into the community by Zimplats. Roads, schools, lighting, and recreation facilities have all been installed over the past 20 years. It is one of the most highly developed mining complexes in the region. President Mugabe has described the development at Ngezi as exemplary. During the Chamber of Mines AGM last month Mugabe spoke highly of Zimplats. So how does Shamu come into the picture?
This is a good example of a politician inventing a problem where none exists.
Shamu is MP for Chegutu East. He wants to have a beef with Zimplats so he can project to his constituents the image of an MP working hard for them.
But this is what the president said on May 28: “Zimplats’ social investment of building roads, schools, clinics and the fibre optic link to Norton and Ngezi has given examples of specific interventions that benefit communities. These examples of corporate social investment and responsibility give impetus to broad-based empowerment and qualify for credits on their quantitative and qualitative basis.”
We have reported in the past on Shamu contradicting Mugabe on developments at Ngezi. So who do we believe, the president or an MP looking for popular approval?
The minister has here an example of what happens when there is more than a couple of state newspapers circulating. Populist demagoguery gets exposed.
Something similar happened last week.
Britain’s ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mark Canning, was present during the debate on Zimbabwe in the House of Lords, we were told by the Herald last Wednesday.
Reported as present by whom, we wonder? Somebody who pops things into the Herald presuming nobody will question the veracity of these interventions.
Ambassador Canning has indeed been in the UK recently and met new Foreign Secretary William Hague. But he was not in the House of Lords on the day in question. In fact he was in Harare.
Told of the report that he had been to the House of Lords, Canning quipped: “I’m in trouble now. I told the wife I was just popping out to the shops.”
Muckraker was struck last week by remarks made in support of Posa by UZ political scientist and Human Rights Commissioner Joseph Kurebwa.
He said: “The police are incapacitated. The World Cup is one area they need to focus on, but I think the broader perspective of these bans is to do with the constitution outreach programme which needs the police to be on high alert.
“I know some people are now thinking some political party has started to use Posa again, but let us face reality, no party would want to come to power without a strict security law.”
We publish this extract from his remarks to the Financial Gazette to illustrate how hobbled the Human Rights Commission will be with people who think the police should be allowed to ban demonstrations, even when such bans are legally questionable.
No suggestion of basic freedoms here. Just blanket support for those who wish to suppress our liberties. The ZCTU wasn’t even allowed to commemorate the Hwange mine disaster of 1972.
What sort of democracy is this? And then, having locked up the director of an NGO committed to transparency in the movement of gems, the state can’t understand why it had to battle in TelAviv.
It is all part of an “anti-Zim lobby” we are childishly told. And what of ministers who became fabulously wealthy overnight? Isn’t it the public duty of newspapers to investigate the source of their good fortunes?
We have always been suspicious that the constitutional process will be manipulated by politicians and the people of Zimbabwe forced to rubber-stamp the document that reflects the wishes of the ruling elite.
We were vindicated by comments made by Didymus Mutasa at Odzi last weekend.
He said Zanu PF already has a position on what should be included or excluded in the new constitution.
“As a party, we now have our positions for inclusion in the new constitution and we hope these will be captured accurately,” Mutasa told his captive audience.
“Practices such as homosexuality, abortion and euthanasia which offend human and public morality should be outlawed.”
So why are they wasting our time and donor monies when they already have a position on the constitution?
Is it not clear that the people of Zimbabwe will be forced to rubber-stamp a document already crafted at the shake shake building? And what do we know about Mutasa?
Is he not the same person who told Zimbabweans after Zanu PF had lost the free and fair March 29 poll that his dear leader, Robert Mugabe would not lose the presidential run-off swearing, after it was put to him that they would lose even more decisively: “You do not know Zanu PF.”
We now know what he meant!
And the calibre of this Mugabe zealot can best be gauged by this facile remark: “Why should people push for abortion when they voluntarily engage in activities that result in them falling pregnant?”
South African President and serial father Jacob Zuma spent at least 12 minutes of quality time with each of his children on Fathers’ Day, a jocular internet site reported.
Zuma’s office said the day should be regarded a success largely because the president was able to remember the names of most of his 21 children.
“It can get confusing,” said presidential spokesperson, Teaspoon Human-Roe, “‘especially when the moms try to win favour by naming the little boys Jacob Junior.”
We were not told after the event whether he was able to identify all his offsprings by name but we know that his machine gun will continue firing.
Why did Elias Mudzuri make life difficult for himself when he announced there wouldn’t be any power outages during the Fifa World Cup tournament?
Most Zimbabweans have not been able to watch matches live on their television screens because of power cuts by Zesa.
If Mudzuri saw this as an opportunity to hog popularity he must have been very wrong because the opposite is now true.
Mudzuri must have known better than making such a public announcement when he did not have the capacity to enforce it.
The good engineer must have fallen into a booby trap. Next time he must not let excitement take control of him.
As we often hear reported, President Mugabe likes to take a large entourage with him on trips outside the country. Muckraker referred to the 60 people who went to the FAO meeting in Rome last year.
But we gather from our sources at the World Cup in Johannesburg that there was a problem with the numbers on this trip. Fifa put its foot down and would only grant admission at the opening ceremony to the presidential couple and one other. The VVIP stand was oversubscribed, we gather, and a large number of VVIPs had to be demoted to VIPs.
We don’t know what happened to Mugabe’s entourage of 40 but young Robert Jnr may have been among the casualties, we hear. This may explain why the first couple were looking less than pleased in pictures taken at the opening match (See Page 15).
It also looked a tad chilly.
Fifa has been behaving like a colonial power, reports suggest, bringing a very unAfrican ordnung to the stadium arrangements. For us, the incident that turned the F for Fifa into an F for fascist was the arrest of those nice Dutch girls who turned up in orange outfits to cheer on their team. They were later arrested on the grounds that they were engaged in “ambush marketing”, promoting Bavaria beers when Budweiser was an official sponsor. You could hardly see the product labels on their skimpy skirts.
We understand the economics of all this but the arrests did publicise a product few people outside the Netherlands had heard of until
then and secondly it showed that the F in Fifa certainly didn’t stand for fun!
Finally a food review can be a mixed blessing. Here’s the Herald’s food critic on a visit to Lucullus at the Fife Ave shops.
“My verdict is that Lucullus is OK and a relaxed outing with mates if you are not too fussy and will eat whatever is there.”
Thanks for that recommendation!