Muckraker: Mpofu thwarted by plural press

SO, Elton Mangoma will head the delegation that is due to resume talks in Brussels on normalising relations with the European Union.

The Herald disclosed on Monday that Mangoma would head the delegation because Foreign minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, who is reengagement committee chair, “had other commitments”.

In fact, Muckraker reported several weeks ago (April 30) that Mangoma and not Mumbengegwi would head the delegation. Mumbengegwi would stand little chance of securing concessions from the EU, we argued. But the Herald kept insisting that Mumbengegwi would lead the delegation to Brussels.

On June 15 (not “last week” as reported by the Herald on Monday) Mumbengegwi questioned the seriousness of the EU negotiators because they had been slow in replying to Zimbabwe’s request for a firm date on resuming talks.

“They are just playing games with the lives of the people of Zimbabwe,” Mumbengegwi declared after meeting Portugal’s deputy Foreign Affairs minister in Harare.

Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs secretary Joey Bimha said this week Mumbengegwi would soon convene a meeting of the Zimbabwe negotiating team to agree on “positions” ahead of the Brussels talks.

They are agreed on the need to lift sanctions, it was reported. This is despite the fact that kidnappings and arrests of MDC and civic activists continue, the state media is manipulated to reflect Zanu PF’s redundant political claims, Posa and Aippa remain on the statute books and are used to thwart freedom of assembly and speech, and intimidation of people hoping to give their views to the constitution outreach process has been widely reported.

So who is “playing games” with the people of Zimbabwe? The EU delegation (embassy) in Harare has obviously not been sufficiently robust in pointing out to the EU Commission in Brussels that many of the key GPA terms have not been adhered to by Mumbengegwi’s party. There appears to be an over-anxiety on reopening talks when there has been no fundamental change in outlook by President Mugabe and his inner circle. What information for instance has been communicated on the role of JOC in running the country? And should the EU agree to reopen talks when diamond-trade monitors like Farai Maguwu are held in detention for allegedly exposing human rights abuses? He was not able to access his lawyers or medical care at one point, reports suggest. And what happened to the land audit?

Mangoma and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who is also a member of the reengagement committee, are serving no useful purpose by going to Brussels empty-handed. And why do they think lifting sanctions is a compelling national issue? Do you ever hear people on the streets going around saying “sanctions must be lifted because they are hurting the country”? Only Zanu PF ministers and their captive newspapers say that. Everybody knows who is “hurting the country”.

One small example of the abuse of the public media will suffice. On Sunday the Sunday Mail declared that the people of Zimbabwe were “outraged” that Zimbabwe had not been cleared to trade in diamonds at the Tel Aviv meeting because the West had “ganged up” against it.

The diamonds would have helped Zimbabwe “bust the racist sanctions once and for all”, the paper claimed. That’s why the West is running scared.

“Once the sanctions are dismantled the regime change agenda will be left in tatters with Zanu PF firmly in the driving seat.”

So that’s who the diamond trade will benefit is it? All is clear now. The diamonds will be used to shore up Zanu PF’s waning support — to put it once again in the “driving seat”.

And who on earth said the people of Zimbabwe were “outraged” by the Tel Aviv outcome? The people of Zimbabwe decisively repudiated Zanu PF at the last poll. The last thing they want to see are diamonds used to benefit the former ruling party and its corrupt system of patronage.
The Sunday Mail talks about the West panicking because “Zimbabwe is about to bust their evil sanctions”.
It is amazing that Zanu PF wants to isolate the county further by “busting” the Kimberley Process. What will the EU say to that we wonder? And we noted the bit about Tendai Biti.

What does he know about the mining and processing of diamonds, the Sunday Mail asked scornfully?
While it may be the case that Zanu PF ministers generally know very little about anything, we concede that the one thing they know a great deal about is extraction. Ask Obert Mpofu!

It was useful to have the US embassy’s response to official claims that Congressman Donald Payne had never been barred from entering the country. He had been to Zimbabwe at least four times, unhindered, Nathaniel Manheru claimed last Saturday.
He was never barred from entering the country as Hillary Clinton recently stated.
“Manheru claimed in his column that Congressman Payne had visited Zimbabwe four times in the past year,” the US embassy said in a letter to the editor of the Herald. “In fact he visited twice. More significantly Manheru claimed that Mr Payne did not see President Mugabe on his last visit because he was in a hurry and could not wait for a meeting with the president.”

‘This is not true,” the embassy said. “Ten days before the Congressman’s visit the embassy through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested a meeting with the president and noted that Mr Payne would be arriving in Harare the night of April 7 and departing midday on April 9. Ministry of Foreign Affairs representatives met Mr Payne at the airport on his arrival and stated they would be in contact with the Office of the President to arrange a meeting the following day. Embassy officials kept Mr Payne’s schedule flexible to accommodate a meeting with the president.
“For whatever reason the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was unable to arrange a meeting, a priority of Mr Payne, on either April 8 or April 9.”
The embassy pointed out that there had been a similar episode when Congressman Gregory Meeks led a six-member delegation to Zimbabwe in September. On that occasion Mugabe only agreed to meet the delegation when they were preparing to leave. Because of a tight schedule the Congressmen were only able to meet with the president for a short while.
The next day the Herald accused the Congressmen of unsuccessfully attempting to avoid meeting with Mugabe!
“The ministry subsequently by way of a diplomatic note stated to the embassy that the article in the Herald did not reflect either the ministry’s or the government’s interpretation of the visit.”
Sounds like a repudiation to us!

Muckraker was amused by a piece in the Sunday Mail by features editor Lovemore Chikova which contained the following: “Observers said Mr Gutu finally got rewarded for singing praises to the MDC-T leader in his long and boring newspaper articles.”
So here is a Sunday Mail editor commenting on “long and boring newspaper articles” when on the facing page there is Tafataona Mahoso occupying whole forests of pulp to send a message to “the racist cartel trying to scuttle the Kimberley Process against Chiadzwa diamonds”.
And who does Mahoso speak for apart from a coterie of Zanu PF reactionaries with their fingers in the diamond pie?
Shouldn’t he be writing about conflicts of interest in the media?

Zimbabweans had press plurality to thank after Obert Mpofu attempted to hoodwink everybody into believing Zimbabwe’s Chiadzwa diamonds had been cleared by the KP intersessional meeting in Tel Aviv last week.
Mpofu told ZBC Zimbabwe had received support from other African countries which had overwhelmed attempts by the United States and its allies who were bent on tarnishing its image.
But NewsDay was quick to inform Zimbabweans of the correct position. The KP meeting ended in deadlock and the Chiadzwa diamonds will have to wait a little longer before they are allowed to enter the export market.
What Mpofu didn’t tell us was that West African countries attending the meeting were firmly behind the US and its allies in condemning human rights abuses at Chiadzwa.
And Mpofu should be reminded that we are living in a global village where a press statement released in Tel Aviv announcing that the KP meeting had reached deadlock can reach the NewsDay newsroom within minutes.
While he was busy misinforming Zimbabweans on television news, the Tel Aviv statement was already doing the rounds on the Internet.
Tough luck Obert, you were caught off-side. Not even the Herald published your daft claims until Wednesday.
Mpofu must ensure the country complies with KP requirements and stops the persecution of Farai Maguwu instead of launching relentless tirades against international NGOs such as Global Witness and the Partnership Africa Canada. Apart from the Sunday Mail does anybody believe the dubious claim that they had tried to bribe Mpofu?

Thanks to the ANC Youth League member Lehlogonolo Masoga we were able to have more insight into the conduct of Julius Malema and his leadership qualities.
Details of Malema’s “shocking abuse of power” are contained in a founding affidavit from Masoga, former Youth League Limpopo chairman.
Malema is facing a court challenge for having broken the law when he allegedly instructed police to use “violent” force against members of his organisation in his home province of Limpopo.
Who else do we remember unleashing the police to attack and disrupt even the quietest of demonstrations? And, interestingly, Malema’s deputy Andile Lungisa appear to be gunning for his throne.
Lungisa will testify against Malema in what appears the clearest sign yet that he will take the battle to Malema at the Young Lions’ elective conference next year.
It seems it doesn’t just rain for Malema but it pours.

While England’s football stars Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard tried their best to salvage their battered reputations against Germany on Sunday, staff at their Rustenburg hotel were rifling through the players’ designer label closets, helping themselves to briefs and boxers and a selection of other items, the Star reports.
Whereas the hordes of English supporters refused to see the writing on the wall for their team, the cleaners at the state-of-the-art Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, where the team were based, seemed to see their opportunity.
They collected nearly R80 000 worth of clothes, personal belongings and R5 530 in cash.
“They started on June 21 and
stole things until June 25,” said North West police Colonel Junior Metsi. Police have been asked not to reveal the names of the players who had goods stolen, but the Star was reliably informed that items were stolen from virtually every member of the squad.
It seems the English team started missing their jocks only after four days, with a case of theft opened with the police last Saturday.
In less than 24 hours, Thulane Fortunate Mongake, 26, Ernest Zimisile Klaas, 28, Thapelo Joseph Senne, 21, Basimane Levy Njielane, 34, and Catherine Motsilanyane, 28, were arrested, tried and sentenced to three years or a fine of R6 000 in the Tlhabane World Cup court which fast-tracks World Cup-related offences.
All the stolen items were recovered, among them a gold World Cup winners’ medal. We can’t think who in the England team that could have belonged to!

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