Muckraker: Buckle up, silly season is upon us!

A PICTURE tells a thousand words, it is said, and the Herald’s front-page picture on Tuesday of Zanu PF youths running amok and looting shops provided a perfect retort to Emmerson Mnangagwa’s claim that the MDC-T was responsible for the violence currently engulfing Harare and its townships.

He forgot to engage his brain before opening his mouth.
“As far as we are concerned,” he told retiring officers, “the violence that erupted in Harare was caused by the Prime Minister’s remarks that what happened in Tunisia and what is happening in Egypt right now should also happen in Zimbabwe.”
He didn’t say that and Mnangagwa knows he didn’t.
“I think what we are witnessing here is a general suppression of the people,” Tsvangirai told Fox/News in Davos. People are demanding more freedoms and there is nothing wrong with that.”
Asked if the same thing could happen in Zimbabwe, Tsvangirai said: “To me when people take their rights and start demanding more rights there is nothing wrong with that including Zimbabwe.”
Now that’s very different from Mnangagwa’s spin, isn’t it?
Only recently it was possible for politicians like Mnangagwa to get away with misleading the public with dishonest statements and then attributing them to their opponents. Now, with more media available, readers can turn to Fox/News or the Standard and find out exactly what Tsvangirai did say. And what does Mnangagwa make of the invasion of the Lake Chivero businesses? Was that also inspired by Tsvangirai?

Following stories in the state media suggesting the French were pushing for removal of sanctions, Muckraker was interested to note that the US administration is working on its own sanctions-lifting programme that will see a series of benchmarks laid down before there can be any relaxation of current measures.
The US believes Mugabe is completely in control of the party, the security apparatus, the youth activists and the war vets, Muckraker was informed by a colleague who was in Washington recently.
Officials don’t believe the MDC had the capability of winning an election in Zimbabwe today as it lacks infrastructure and organisation. Mugabe has painted them into a corner, the officials believe.
The US is open to a relaxation of its sanctions under certain conditions.
Senior officials said the tempo of South African engagement increased after Jacob Zuma took over. They said that Zuma had promised the US that he would come up with a roadmap –– and that this would contain a commitment to free and fair elections in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
The US has not seen the South African roadmap yet, but is working on a roadmap of its own, which would address five key themes: Security sector reform, proper separation of executive and judiciary, respect for media and its independence, a macro-economic recovery programme, and free and fair elections. These benchmarks would be used to evaluate whether or not to lift sanctions.
Officials said in general the relationship between the US and South Africa had improved immeasurably, and that there had been substantial dialogue with the South Africans about Zimbabwe. Secretary of State Clinton has established a close relationship with Foreign minister Mashabane and there is a renewed strategic dialogue with SA on a range of issues.

Can anybody tell us what Zinara does? It can’t have anything to do with roads because they are in a complete mess. We appreciate some roads are the concern of the city and not Zinara. But that doesn’t excuse the state of the roads generally.
It will soon be that time of year when we invite readers to mail us with their contestants for the biggest potholes in the capital. One on Samora Machel East opposite Haddon Motors, now fixed, was a pending favourite with motorists! Presumably Haddon’s didn’t fix it because that would have removed a revenue stream for repairs!
Another on the corner of King George and Argyle is a supension-buster.
Why should motorists pay for road tax when the roads are not maintained? Similarly, why should motorists pay for listeners’ licences when nobody listens to ZBC? They are now adding another sticker to your windscreen saying you have to go to the police first to pay your fine before buying a licence.
So that’s how they pay for their mindless jingles!

And then we have the story of the police telling their junior officers who “live beyond their means” that they face possible suspension or expulsion. 
This comes as a result of “sweeping” anti-corruption measures that compel them to declare properties and earnings to their superiors.
According to the Sunday Mail the “lifestyle audit” will only target officers from the rank of constable to assistant inspector. Talk about rubbing salt into the wound! It was bad enough when they were miserly remunerated; now they have to parade their poverty to the satisfaction of their superior officers.
The fact that these “sweeping” anti-corruption measures are not being applied to the more senior officers is lost on police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena who adds: “It is a procedure done throughout the police to check if officers’ lifestyles tally with what they earn.”

Elections loom on the horizon, we are told, and silly season is upon us. Not that silliness takes a break in the Zimbabwean political melodrama but the state media does raise the bar during election time. All pretence of impartiality has now been thrown out the window.
This week, as we saw above, Zanu PF attempted to sanitise their role in the looting spree that rocked the capital opting to blame it all on the MDC-T. The Herald on Tuesday carried a story in which it exonerated the dubious outfit, Upfumi Kuvadiki, who were behind the demonstration. The MDC-T was roped into the story despite police Inspector James Sabau stating that they were still investigating the origins of that group. How the MDC-T ended up being part of a Zanu PF demonstration is anyone’s guess.
ZTV was even more atrocious in its reportage: Upfumi Kuvadiki said it had organised a police-sanctioned march from Fourth Street to Town House to take their disgruntlement to the city fathers over the decision to award a South African firm, EasiPark, a contract to park cars in the city all in contravention of the government’s indigenisation and empowerment policy.
“However, the development seems to have been hijacked by suspected MDC-T supporters who took the opportunity to loot some shops.”
“Of interest,” says ZTV “is that, the youths seem to have targeted pro-Zanu PF known activists’ shops, leaving foreigners’ shops, a development that has raised questions on the motive behind their actions.”
We were reminded of Zanu PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo’s advertisements which talked about being “offside and scoring own goals”.

We had the benefit of some “Nollywood” drama at the Gulf complex courtesy of ZTV as Belinda, the daughter of the late Zanu PF commissar Elliot Manyika, along with some Zanu PF Women’s League members dramatically attempted to convince us that the attacks on their shops were caused by the MDC-T.
Scott Sakupwanya, Upfumi Kuvadiki president, ZTV tells us, slammed the looting.
“As youth we feel that the entry of Easipark from South Africa (to manage municipal parking) defeats indigenisation.
“Youths should have been empowered to partner the city in the venture.”
Zanu PF’s idea of “partnering” is about invading and wresting control of things they did not earn. NewsDay reports that Zanu PF activists have invaded and taken over an apartment building in Bulawayo amid threats to wrest idle structures in the city centre mostly owned by the white and Indian communities.

Congress of the People (Cope) co-founder Mosiuoa Lekota on Tuesday expelled his rival, Mbhazima Shilowa, from the party after an internal disciplinary hearing — at which Shilowa refused to participate.
He and Lekota, reports the Mail&Guardian have been locked in a battle for leadership of the party for months. There is still no clarity on who is actually the party’s president. Both have claimed to be the party’s legitimate president.
Where have we heard all this before? Oh it’s the MDC-M/N saga.
Arthur Mutambara on Monday had this to say about his erstwhile colleague: “I will not recognise Professor Welshman Ncube as the president of the party that signed the GPA (Global Political Agreement) with MDC-T and Zanu PF. I have no intention whatsoever to leave the position of Deputy Prime Minister in the inclusive government.”
“I have no intention whatsoever to leave the position of deputy prime minister… I will not abdicate from my national responsibilities in order to satisfy narrow party-political aspirations.”

Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga following the congress that brought Ncube to the helm of the party in an article “MDC congress: A myth buster” wrote: The third and final myth dismissed was the notion that it is impossible in Africa, let alone in Zimbabwe, to experience a civilised, dignified and decent transference of power.
So much for civilised and dignified!
Ncube had also boasted that they had managed the first peaceful transfer of “power” in Zimbabwean history. Well it wasn’t to be unfortunately. It seems they failed to cope (pun intended).

Without wishing to sound too patronising, what is it about Zimbabwean politicians that they are unable to let go. (No, this is not a Malawian story!) Once in office they regard this post as a lifetime occupation.
In more developed countries there is the view that all governments need a rest from time to time. This will enable them to recharge their batteries in opposition, review policies and generally let others have a chance at governing. That is seen as healthy.
Not so in Zimbabwe. Nobody lets go of anything. In fact Zanu PF regards elections as a life or death affair. They see opponents not as entitled to office but as trespassers. And they see themselves as fulfilling some sort of historic mission.
This is all hogwash of course. Today’s generation don’t buy Zanu PF’s facile claims. They see Zanu PF as a party of failure that won’t let others fix their mistakes; Zanu PF is regarded as a roadblock to reform and recovery.

It is a tragedy that the nation has to suffer because arthritic minds are holding us back, pretending that the MDC-T is a puppet party and Zanu PF the authentic voice of nationalism. Nobody cares if the British and Americans want to play a part in recovery. In fact they are welcome to try. At least they are doing something useful and not looting the country. And regime change is something all Zimbabweans want and need. If we don’t get it soon we will be finished as a nation. So no more bleating about sanctions. Zanu PF is responsible for sanctions. When they go, so will sactions. Meanwhile, congratulations to the people of Egypt for (nearly) getting rid of their dictatorship! Their courage and persistence was an example to all Africans.

Muckraker’s attention was caught by the following advertisement in the Herald’s small ads on Monday.
“Notice is hereby given that application will be made to the Licensing Authority for the City of Harare on the 3rd March 2011 for the issue of a licence to Fartingale Designs 729 Glenhelen Way.
Let’s hope this is not a Malawian company? It is a criminal offence to have even the smallest gale out there! And Glenhelen Way can be a tad blustery.
But what sort of government is it that imposes a fine on wind-breakers? Doesn’t it just make them look draft, sorry daft? Especially in an elevator when nobody owns up.
And you can imagine Malawian visitors having to confess on arrival that they hail from the windy state!

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