Muckraker: Mugabe’s latest title belies utterances

Zimbabwe will host a multi-stakeholder diaspora conference later this month in Victoria Falls, we are told.  It will bring together business leaders, civil society, and politicians under the theme “Engaging the diaspora towards Zimbabwe’s Economic Reconstruction”. Delegates are expected from Australia, Botswana, the Netherlands, the UK and US, the Herald tells us.

Labour leaders will also be present together with religious leaders. Conference organisers are the Development Foundation for Zimbabwe (DFZ), a non-political organisation. They will engage the inclusive government and other stakeholders to see how the skills of diasporans can best be harnessed.
But DFZ director Nokwazi Moyo admitted there could be problems. “There are several individuals that may feel afraid, threatened or otherwise constrained to return home for this conference,” Moyo said. But any negotiations which include the inclusive government should be held on home soil, he said.
“The DFZ is opening up dialogue between key stakeholders to devise ways and means of capitalising on this important resource represented by the diaspora.”

This looks like being another dead duck. How many of these meetings and “indabas” have we had over the past two years and what have they achieved? And what about those Zimbabweans reluctant to test the water when people such as journalists are being arrested?
Moyo points out that in the age of the Internet, coming home doesn’t have to be physical. It can assume a number of forms.
But this is disingenuous. If key players such as Strive Masiyiwa feel unable to be here in person, then that sends a powerful signal to other players that the terrain is not yet ready for engagement. The prime minister, deputy prime ministers and the parties they represent have not been able over a two-year period to create an environment conducive to investment. That tells us all we need to know about “harnessing” the diaspora.
During the conference there will be special sessions on social development and investment…and other key areas such as citizenship, property rights and migration, we are told.
OK, so here’s a test for the organisers. Will those politicians who are seeking the largesse of diasporans extend the franchise to them? Why should they cough up their hard-won resources when the government has made no effort to give them a say in the future shape of the country? Presumably they will be taxed upon their return? So they must insist upon the principle of “no taxation without representation”. It’s as simple as that.

President Mugabe has another title to add to his string of honorifics. He is a lawyer, he told President Zuma during the South African leader’s recent visit to Harare.
“I told President Zuma I am a lawyer and I am unhappy to be in a thing which is semi-legal,” the Sunday Mail reported him as saying.
He was referring to the Global Political Agreement. We know Mugabe has a number of degrees and this one we assume was the product of a correspondence course when he was in detention. That of course doesn’t make him a lawyer if he has never practised, nor is he a member of the Law Society!
If Mugabe is a lawyer, then he should know there is nothing “semi-legal” about the GPA and inclusive government. They are firmly rooted in Amendment 19 to the constitution.
What we don’t understand is why Zanu PF regards every other amendment as cast in stone (especially No 7), but No 19 is treated as “semi-legal” and “makeshift”.
And if Zimbabweans should be guaranteed constitutional and electoral certainty, why is Mugabe plunging them into another election only two years after the last one?
At least we got a confession from the president on the vexed issue of governors.
“Yes, we initially conceded to matters of governors to bring about harmony in the inclusive government,” he said, “until we started noticing that the MDC-T was blowing hot and cold on matters primary to us, namely sanctions and other forms of external interference including pirate radio stations.”
So, blowing hot and cold is a major offence? Then what about Zanu PF retaining exclusive control of broadcasting which it abuses to make partisan claims when it lost the last election? What do we call that, hot or cold? This might explain why nobody is asking external stations to close down. 
Why should they when ZBC spews its toxic lava across the landscape?
But we did like the way Zanu PF suddenly starts “noticing” things, as in “we started noticing the MDC-T’s disconcerted disposition (sic)”. What’s it doing the rest of the time? And we would love to know what new sanctions the MDC-T is allegedly calling for? Surely, if there were new sanctions on the agenda Rugare Gumbo would have told us.
And where does General Douglas Nyikayaramba fit into this? Isn’t that why they call it a “general” election?

Meanwhile, it was inevitable, we suppose, that columnists in the state media should seize on Chris Dell’s remarks as revealing what the Americans think of Zimbabwe’s opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, at the time (2007).
There was nothing new in those views of Tsvangirai, often expressed in private by his friends and allies: “Indecisive” readily comes to mind although “brave” and “committed democrat” take equal place. But while commentaries in the Zanu PF press picked up on words like “flawed”, they carefully edited remarks about Mugabe, concentrating on what Dell called his “tactical skills”. That was translated in the Herald as a “brilliant leader”.
But instead of publishing what the US ambassador said in 2007 (and we never got an unexpurgated version), why not mention what South Africa’s international relations minister Maite Nkoane-Mashabane said just the other day: that Mugabe was “a crazy old man”. How come that bit got left out in the Herald’s extensive coverage of the leaks?
South African ministers were quick to point out the remarks were made “light-heartedly”. But it was interesting that they were made at all.
Then we have Ian Khama’s thinly veiled criticism of Mugabe, broadcast by the BBC on Monday night. Khama was referring to events in the Ivory Coast. But his remarks about leaders who maintain themselves in power despite electoral outcomes could not be mistaken.
Khama urged the international community not to broker a power-sharing agreement as it did in Kenya and Zimbabwe. “Elections there were hijacked by the ruling party and if that’s going to happen every time someone wants to dispute an election result and may then stay in power by default through a mechanisim of power-sharing — it’s wrong.”

We were shocked by the Herald’s front-page picture on Monday of hundreds of people from Nyamakate near Karoi scrambling for food that fell off a truck that was involved in an accident. They ignored the driver who was trapped in the wreckage.
And then in the same edition the Herald continued its crusade against farmers leasing their land to whites. Those engaged in this ideological heresy came under fire from Mashonaland West governor Faber Chidarikire and Zanu PF national chairman SK Moyo.
Moyo labelled those leasing land to whites as “saboteurs” bent on compromising government’s empowerment efforts.
So who are the real saboteurs here? Farmers who enhance agricultural production by leasing land to those who can farm it, and learn something useful in the process, or those waging war against farmers leasing land irrespective of the consequences for agriculture. Their policies can be found in that front-page Herald picture on Monday of hungry villagers raiding an overturned haulage truck.

That picture was emblematic of Zanu PF’s rule and represented an appropriate rebuke to Moyo who will clearly say anything to justify his ascent up the greasy political pole, and Faber Chidarikire who appears to have lost his head again. Perhaps Temba Mliswa can deal with him! And what can we say of the Herald that didn’t even understand the significance of its own front-page picture? Unless of course they have a “saboteur” hiding in their midst!

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