HomeOpinionMugabe’s Singapore trip an eye opener

Mugabe’s Singapore trip an eye opener

Contradictions are so numerous in Zanu PF’s public relations machine that it is possible to miss some of the more glaring cases.


On Sunday we were told by the Sunday Mail that President Mugabe had left the country for a return visit to Singapore to check on progress on one of his eyes which had undergone a cataract removal. His eye specialists needed to satisfy themselves that all was in order with the eye, we were told.

At the time those media which had speculated that Mugabe was undergoing a procedure in Singapore were slapped down by the president and his spokesmen who claimed the story was a Western plant. Now, it turns out, the story was true. Mugabe had undergone a procedure while in Singapore, albeit a minor one.

On the front page of the same edition of the Sunday Mail last Sunday was a picture of eye specialist Dr Solomon Guramatunhu examining a patient. Dr Guramatunhu is one of the finest eye specialists, not only in the country but in the region. Patients referred to eye specialists in Johannesburg have often been asked what they are doing there when Zimbabwe has somebody of Dr Guramatunhu’s skills.

So we should ask, in this era of indigenisation, why President Mugabe chooses to have his eyes attended to in Singapore instead of Zimbabwe? 
And if we got it right on that one, would Mugabe’s spokesmen like to comment on whether he was treated by a urologist on a previous trip to Malaysia, another story that was shot down by the president’s staff. We seem to recall a sanctions dimension to that one!

Still on the subject of stories that have generated interest, can somebody comment on the president’s proposed trip to Ecuador.

At the time of his visit to the UN General Assembly in New York in September, Mugabe’s spokesman said a proposed visit to Anglican Archbishop Crespo in Ecuador would have to be postponed to December. Now it is February and there is no sign of the trip.

Crespo, we should remind ourselves, is a schismatic prelate who like his friend Nolbert Kunonga has no formal connection to the Anglican church but postures a great deal. He visited Zimbabwe to show support for Kunonga last year.
Can we have some clarification on plans for the return trip which seem to have evaporated!

Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign minister Yang Jiechi has been visiting Zimbabwe telling everybody that sanctions should be dropped and the West told to mind its own business.

Shouldn’t the Chinese be told to mind their own business? Sanctions were imposed because of serious misrule. If the Chinese want to associate themselves with that delinquency and consequent suffering of Zimbabweans they can. But they should not expect the next government of Zimbabwe to be as friendly towards them as this one.

They have currently locked up a Nobel Laureate simply because he advocated support for those clauses in China’s own constitution relating to human rights.

We liked the reference in Monday’s Business Herald to China as an “all-whether (sic) friend”.

The  author was equally wide of the mark on who owns what in the UK.

“If you go to London the majority of the shops there are owned by the British…” columnist Kurai Masenyama declared. He has obviously never been to London.
Here is a test for him: Who owned the largest and most prestigious department store in London up to last year? And who owns it now?

We were amused to read a story in the Sunday Mail headed “Chiefs to engage Queen Elizabeth over sanctions”.

Chief Fortune Charumbira who is now calling himself royal, said the chiefs’ council would be sending a high level delegation to the UK to persuade the Queen to help end sanctions.

“The delegation will be dispatched to the UK and other European countries where there are royal institutions as soon as possible,” Charumbira said.

This illustrates the ignorance of the chiefs. Queen Elizabeth and other European heads of state act on the advice of their ministers. They would certainly not be prepared to meet partisan chiefs who want to adopt a policy that is calculated to damage Zimbabwe’s recovery. Nor would they support a policy that is designed to deceive the Zimbabwean electorate.

In fact they would not get past the gate at Buckingham Palace. Who is advising them with this nonsense? There will be no engagement in London until there is engagement here. And that’s a long way off as the events of this week demonstrate.

The Herald’s Masenyama told us that: “With Cde Ignatious Chombo already in the trenches fighting anti-people programmes championed by MDC-led councils throughout the country, Minister Kasukuwere should also take his gloves off and step into the ring.”

And what about you Cde Masenyama, promoting this belligerent agenda? Are you going to step into the ring or leave the fighting to Zanu PF’s gang of hoodlums who have been attacking Town House and other places around the city? When push comes to shove we will find these brave Zanu PF pugilists are essentially cowards.

Muckraker was reading a sports story in the Chronicle on Monday headed “Zim crash out of CHAN” about the defeat of the Warriors in Khartoum. It all seemed rather familiar. That’s perhaps because it was. The Chronicle had lifted word for word a NewsDay story headed “Warriors Out” carried on the paper’s back page.

The Chronicle simply attributed their story to “Online”. But they failed to say it was our Online! They are now claiming they got it from TalkZimbabwe who in turn got it from us.

This is a very serious case of plagiarism and we wait with interest to see how the Chronicle’s editor explains it. At least we know now how the Herald “rules the roost”!

The Sunday Times tells us that Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation speech to parliament this year was a marked improvement on last year’s presentation. One reason why it was so well received was Zuma’s reference to things that mattered to his listeners. For instance he promised to deal with the potholes mushrooming all over Johannesburg. ANC Mayor Masondo has been pretending they don’t exist. But visitors from Cape Town can immediately see the difference.

And in this connection, we congratulate the Harare City authorities for bringing order to the streets of Harare with the EasiPark project. This is something that needed doing years ago.

The visit to Zimbabwe by China’s Foreign minister Yang Jiechi  (referred to above) was a sign that Zimbabwe was not a pariah state but was engaging with a global heavyweight.

These were the sentiments of media analyst and practitioner Caesar Zvayi on ZTV on Monday.

“The visit came at a time,” says Zvayi, “when the West is trying to punish Zimbabwe in the EU meeting to review the illegal sanctions.”

According to Zvayi the visit served to show that China was engaging with Zimbabwe whilst the West was trying to isolate it. 

Apparently Jiechi had claimed that Zimbabwe was “China’s biggest partner in Southern Africa”, something the gullible state media swallowed hook, line, and sinker. The fact that Zimbabwe was just one of a number of countries being visited seemed to escape their notice. Instead there was a pathetic attempt to portray President Mugabe as the author of the “Look East” policy which other African countries were now trying to follow.

The desperation to be seen as China’s foremost partner in the region was underscored by Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi’s “paying tribute to the fact that his Chinese counterpart chose Zimbabwe as his first port of call on his six African nation tour”.

Yet when Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Africa in 2007 he visited Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique and Seychelles and strangely managed to overlook China’s “biggest partner in Southern Africa”. Are we missing something here?

Heroes’ Acre continues to lose its lustre as the family of former Zipra intelligence chief Cornius Nhloko, who died last Wednesday, requested that he be buried at his rural home in Silobela.

Added to this the family of the late liberation war stalwart Tenjiwe Lesabe who died last Friday had already indicated they would not have her buried at the national shrine. Instead, the family said she would be laid to rest at her farm in Fort Rixon.

Didymus Mutasa, Zanu-PF secretary for administration, said the Politburo and President Mugabe had concurred that she had immensely contributed to the liberation struggle.

“We could not confer her national heroine status, which was her rightful status because she was not consistent when she joined Zapu led by Dabengwa,” said Mutasa.

“When you become a member of Zanu-PF, a revolutionary party, you need to be consistent and by joining Zapu, that was deemed not to be consistent.

Zapu members are still part and parcel of Zanu PF because of the agreement that we signed and nobody should go against that agreement,” said Mutasa.

Once again Mutasa showed that he and his colleagues in Zanu PF cannot differentiate between party and national issues. Luckily most Zimbabweans now see the process for what it is; a Zanu PF affair and want nothing to do with it. A party, a former ruling one for that matter, cannot continue to impose the definition of who is a hero and who is not. It is ultimately up to the people to decide who is a hero.

And Didymus, by the way, is definitely not one.

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