Muckraker: Sanganai and the ZTA kiss of death

YOU would think that a meeting of women involved in politics would reflect intelligent debate around the issues of the day such as stimulation of the economy, investment opportunities, and infrastructural development.

Instead we were treated to a dose of hero-worship from Zanu PF’s supine Women’s League last weekend. Their national assembly resolved unanimously to endorse President Mugabe’s candidacy in the next presidential poll because of his “leadership prowess”.
This presumably includes the near collapse of the economy over the past 10 years and the marginalisation of women in nearly every facet of the nation’s life!
“As the Women’s League we endorse your candidature,” secretary for Women’s Affairs Oppah Muchinguri proclaimed. “We are saying stand in the next election and rule forever.”
Couldn’t she think of anything better to say? Like “we urgently need fresh ideas to extract us from the quagmire we are now stuck in”?
“Your work cannot be compared to that of anyone else,” Mugabe was told at the meeting.
At least we have no quarrel with that statement!
The president told the women that we are now in transitional mode. “We want to get to elections and get into a situation where Zanu PF can rule the country.”
So what’s it been doing up until now?

In this context we are grateful to Tafataona Mahoso for reminding us of what Morgan Tsvangirai had to say recently on the sanctions issue.
“All Zimbabweans know that Mr Mugabe and his colleagues brought the restrictive measures on themselves through the flagrant abuses of human rights and the economic disaster which they inflicted on this country,” Tsvangirai said. “All Zimbabweans know that these restrictive measures are the result, not the cause, of that economic disaster.”
In a normal national environment, Mahoso spluttered with indignation, the media alone would have forced the PM not only to apologise but to resign for such statements. But the muted response to Tsvangirai’s “outrage”, he claims, is “a measure of the corruption of both worldview and daily practice in the media industry and corporate sector”.
In other words, when nobody buys Mahoso’s baloney, he passes it off as “corruption”.
He will have to do better than that. One of the most noteworthy aspects of the 2008 campaign was the refusal of the electorate to swallow Zanu PF’s threadbare ideological mantras. Mahoso concedes as much when he blames the party leadership for refusing to make sanctions a priority issue.
Tsvangirai’s reminder that Zanu PF brought sanctions on itself was timely. This is a truth the MDC should hammer away at without worrying about how Zanu PF will take it.
Zanu PF has already advertised its agenda of dishonesty. It is refusing to learn the lesson of 2008 when it was defeated by an electorate which had no wish to swallow the blandishments of a  predatory ruling  class.
Mahoso should try another tack. His Sunday pronouncements are evidently unconvincing.

In a poorly argued (even for him) article by Isdore Guvamombe in the “Reflections” column of the Herald last Friday, a supposed case is made for re-branding the hugely successful Kariba Invitation (not “Invitational”) Tiger Fish Tournament.
Guvamombe bemoans the fact that “although a tourist event” (is it?) the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority was nowhere mentioned or invited and its flags weren’t flying at Charara Harbour in Kariba’s Eastern Basin.
We have no idea whether ZTA was invited; that’s up to the organisers, but why should they be “mentioned” at an event that has run almost seamlessly smoothly under unpaid, volunteer management for the past 49 years?
As almost all tourism insiders and professionals know, the presence of the dreaded ZTA and its bully-boy boss “Karaoke” Kaseke is an almost certain kiss of death.
Guvamombe’s poorly researched and spelled piece, ironically, was being read in stunned disbelief by Muckraker Minor when a breathless underling from ZTA arrived with a stack of invitation cards for staffers of this paper and its sister titles.
It was nearly noon. The invite was for a Sanganai/Hlangani “Buyer’s (sic) Cocktail” at Wild Geese Lodge six hours later!
Now ZTA ­— funded by a two-percent levy on every dollar spent on accommodation, food, drink etc in every hotel, lodge, bar, restaurant and club in the country — had a full year to organise Sanganai, grandiosely sub-titled World Travel and Tourism Africa Fair, and the associated events including parties.
Why six hours’ notice to a function which, rightly, should have been held on-site in the Andy Millar Hall at Harare Exhibition Park and was originally slated for the nearby government-owned, RTG-run Rainbow Towers  and not at a venue almost 20km away, at night, on one of the worst maintained roads in the city?
MM’s diary was full, so he declined, but muses if any “Buyers” were actually there. Certainly the vast number of reluctant exhibitors (nearly all complained of being pressured, threatened and virtually blackmailed into booking expensive non-profitable space) spoken to said no international travel buyers  had been seen when he visited, at lunchtime Friday and again on Saturday.
Normally the Herald of Absolute Candour, or the Sunday Wail would have images of these “buyers” (often from former communist-bloc satellite states) snapped at the Falls, enjoying a fabulous freebie paid for from the extortionate two-percent levy, but nary a pic nor a peep from them this year.
One “buyer” MM heard about was a UK specialist surgeon, courting a Zimbabwean girl. Apparently because he occasionally organises golf outings, he was classed as a pro golf tourism fundi and came along for a jolly, protesting that his fellow rabbits would have neither time nor money to play in Zimbabwe.
The famous ZTA kiss of death was squarely planted on his forehead. A much anticipated side-trip to play 18 holes on the breathtaking Leopard Rock Hotel course was simply cancelled, without apology, at the 11th hour.

Sanganai was even more chaotic than usual. Despite the city being bedecked with crossed Expo/Zimbabwe flags as if some major state visit was in progress, there was no plan or map of exhibition space.
MM needed the Malawi Tourism Board. When he found it on Friday, all “opinion formers and decision makers” had been summoned to a previously unannounced event at Rainbow Towers.
A return visit on Saturday was overshadowed by advancing time, as he was anxious to be offsite before the “official opening” (about three hours before official closing!) On previous occasions, exhibitors, genuinely interested visitors, tyre-kickers, rubber-neckers, pickpockets and even ice-cream vendors were forced by police and army to hear the tourism minister’s platitudes.
MM was particularly tickled by Zimbabwe Defence Forces’ stand.
“Guarding Our Heritage” they proclaimed in a slogan surrounded by dramatic pictures of Zimbabwean wildlife. In pride of place was a Cape buffalo.
Talk to any resident or regular visitor to the Zambezi Valley and you’ll hear the reason you no longer see massive herds (1 000-beasts plus, as in Chobe, Botswana) — indeed you’ll be lucky to see any — is that ZDF (Army and Air Force helicopter gunships) shot out almost every last one of the creatures to provide our troops in the DRC pantomime with rations!

Talking of herds, Guvamombe says that National Parks and Wildlife (who, he claims, weren’t visible at KITFT when they were actually everywhere and charging massively for their increasingly poor services!) are responsible for disease control, poaching control (really ?… poachers’ nets can be seen in every creek mouth) and “herding” of tiger fish.
Well that’s a new one on MM, a veteran of at least 15 tiger tournaments.
Herding fish? Hmmmm?

Thanks to the Sunday Mail for its revelation that the Nuanetsi Ranch maize project initiated seven years ago by government to grow maize on 4 000 hectares of land has been abandoned under “unclear circumstances”. Broken-down tractors now lie idle in the middle of the bush. A Chinese company hired to clear the area has given up.
Don’t we recall commenting on this scheme some years ago?
This was an Arda scheme. Has Minister Joseph Made, agricultural advisor to the president, explained how this disaster occurred on his watch?
It’s funny because as soon as one hears his name, the “circumstances” suddenly become “clear”!

Those parents seeking some intellectual stimulus for their youngsters may be disappointed by Zimsec’s simplistic question and answer exam papers.
This week pupils were asked: “Why was there apartheid in South Africa?”
Answer? “Because the whites didn’t like the blacks.”
And the Coloured folk? Were they there because the whites liked the blacks too much!

We liked the picture on the front page of the People’s Voice of President Mugabe congratulating Joshua Sacco for being the last white man standing in Zanu PF. You couldn’t miss him. Sacco was wearing one of those Mugabe fan-club shirts George Charamba used to wear!

Gauteng Police have just announced the discovery of an arms cache of 200 semi-automatic rifles with 250 000 rounds of ammunition, 10 anti-tank missiles, four grenade launchers, two tonnes of heroin, R80 million in forged South African banknotes and 25 trafficked Nigerian prostitutes all in a block of flats behind the Hillbrow Public Library.
Local residents were stunned.
A community spokesman said: “We’re shocked. We never knew we had a library!”

Finally, we chuckled at the heading in a local newspaper last weekend: “Male circumcision: Bone of contention”.

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