“We hope that the dialogue will help define further steps towards a complete normalisation of EU/Zimbabwe relations,” the statement said.
The EU was preparing a country strategy programme, Ambassador Dell’Ariccia said, “to be signed as soon as conditions allow”. Baroness Catherine Ashton will head the dialogue.
Now what is “itching” about this? The EU is simply pointing out it favours normalisation of relations “as soon as conditions allow”. And you can bet your bottom dollar that those conditions include implementation of the GPA, something the government had hoped to ignore.
So can we have some less naïve reporting in the Herald such as this: “Zimbabwe government officials insist that the time shall come when the EU and other countries that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe will be falling over each other to do business with this country.”
As they haven’t been doing any falling over each other to date, we can safely assume it won’t be any time soon! What the EU has been doing is extending aid to Zimbabwe and encouraging trade.
We were interested to see our old friend LovemoreMataire back in print recently attacking his colleagues in the independent press. He was, readers may recall, last spotted wearing a Che Guevara beret as editor of the fawning People’s Voice. He is still in revolutionary mode although no longer at the helm of the People’s Voice on account of its demise.
His targets last week were critics of the Zimbabwe Media Commission.
“It is my fervent view,” he wrote, “that the commission is justified in seeking to block the entry into the country of such publications as the Sunday Times and The Zimbabwean. It must be mandatory for all foreign publications to have offices in Zimbabwe and register as stipulated by the law. Not fulfilling these statutory obligations must be viewed as a serious act of provocation and deviant behaviour that must be dealt with by the relevant law-enforcement bodies.”
So here is a journalist calling upon the state to deal with independent newspapers on the grounds that a “free press doesn’t entail being an outlaw”. It is useful to have this “deviancy of a special type” in print just ahead of press freedom day so the rest of the world can see how Zimbabwe’s regulatory authorities harass its free press by using and abusing the agency of state-sector reporters.
Mataire quotes BaffourAnkomah to assist his case that there is nowhere in the world that has a really free press.
A case of the blind leading the blind!
And at no stage were there 100 000 whites voting which, it is suggested, swung the vote in favour of “No” in the 2000 referendum. This was part of the Zanu PF mythology that swarms of whites came back into the country to vote in the referendum. It had no basis in fact but Mataire swallowed it. The source? “Everyone who observed…” Yes, very scientific!
We liked the letter to the editor of the Herald that said “the scions of colonialists were clucking in their boots”. Obviously some sort of colonial duck. Perhaps the writer meant “quaking”?
Then we had Isdore Guvamombe telling us we may like or dislike President Mugabe, but he had stood “the taste of time”. We can imagine Isdore licking his lips.
They are not getting any brighter at UZ either. Five students have been charged with “deformation of character” following misuse of a picture taken with the university’s vice-chancellor.
Still on the subject of “deformation”, we were surprised to see prominent lawyer Alec Muchadehama’s firm dispatching writs across the city in connection with a suit his firm is pursuing against a newspaper while at the same time he heads the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe. All very confusing!
We are always amused by Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo’s tortured attempts to market President Mugabe as a viable candidate for a fresh presidential term.
In another about-turn in this week’s installment of his now infamous Mahosoesque articles in the Sunday Mail, Moyo claimed that “succession is not about individuals and is certainly not about age but about ideas, ideologies, policy programmes and generation”.
This is the same Moyo who, only last August, said the old guard should let a younger generation which he referred to as “Generation 40” take charge.
Moyo had admitted that it would be ridiculous to present Mugabe as a candidate for the party in the next two or three years due to “allegations of old age and alleged ill health” and believed the only solution is leadership renewal.
Change, Moyo said, was one of the issues that “ties the tongues of some comrades in the nationalist movement in ways that betray the revolutionary commitment”.
Fast forward to April, 2012, and Moyo is predictably singing a different song.
“It is far better to have an older man like President Mugabe with a sharp brain and good ideas to empower the majority of Zimbabweans than to have a younger man like Prime Minister Tsvangirai who has a dead brain and whose ideas seek to protect foreigners against Zimbabweans,” Moyo opined this week.
Suddenly President Mugabe, in Moyo’s view, is an older man with a “sharp brain”, a far cry from his Mugabe is “now too old, too tired” mantra.
“Mugabe now lacks the vision, stature and energy to effectively run the country, let alone his party,” Moyo said in one article written in 2009.
No wonder Moyo wanted to stop newspapers from republishing his old articles. He probably finds them offensive as well.
Among the “gems” from Moyo’s articles causing him embarrassment are: “Why Mugabe should go now”; “Mugabe now too old, too tired”; “Mugabe not telling the truth’; “Mugabe leadership doomed to fail”; “Mugabe behaving like a cornered rat”; “Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe”; “Mugabe incoherent, disoriented” and so on.
Thank goodness for the printed word!
Amid the hullabaloo surrounding President Mugabe’s health, the fact that he arrived home last Thursday from Singapore aboard a private chartered Airbus jet, seemed to escape most people’s notice.
NewsDay reports that Mugabe and his entourage were initially due in Harare on Sunday, but could not secure a flight from Singapore because of late bookings.
According to the story, authorities in Harare contemplated dispatching an Air Zimbabwe plane to pick up Mugabe in Singapore, but the plan was abandoned due to financial and technical reasons.
What a fitting indictment on Mugabe’s rule over the last 32 years that he is now at the mercy of foreign airlines to travel. Sovereignty indeed!
At Independence, in 1980, Air Zimbabwe had 15 planes and was a major player on the regional and international scene. The fleet has gradually been whittled away as the Zanu PF government wreaked havoc with the economy.
Under Mugabe and Zanu PF’s rule the airline has become a laughing stock with one of its planes being impounded late last year in London by a United States company.
Mugabe, and his bloated delegation of around 100 people, was also stranded in the United States last September after four tyres of an Air Zimbabwe jet ruptured on landing at JFK International Airport.
An AirZim official had told the Daily News that the plane had only one spare wheel and that the other spare wheels were being transported from London where Air Zimbabwe has a workshop.
Air Zim is clearly ripe for indigenisation Cde Saviour Kasukuwere!
Meanwhile MDC-99 president, Job Sikhala, this week called for an Independence Day snub as a protest against President Mugabe.
Instead, Sikhala, on Monday was urging Zimbabweans to “mourn the loss of our true Independence” under 32 years of Mugabe’s uninterrupted rule.
“The regime has presided over the deaths of more people than Ian Smith since 1980,” said Sikhala.
He went on to say that Zimbabwe was under a “new imperial order of black force oppressing its own”.
“Robert Mugabe is a tyrannical oppressor masquerading as a liberator who must be shunned by all right-thinking people. He has monopolised the Independence Day to suit his own delusionary agendas and those who gatecrash it are ridiculed,” he said.
It seems Cde Sikhala had changed tactics after having threatened, in February, that he and 70 members of his party leadership would go on a 66-day hunger strike at Africa Unity Square in Harare, “until Mugabe is gone”.
Quizzed about the significance of 66 days, Shikhala had said that “in terms of scientific study, it is said a person can survive 66 days without food. So we intend to stretch ourselves to the limit”.
Sikhala, who has been nicknamed “Jobless” after losing the St Mary’s constituency seat, said: “We will be drinking water obviously” but on the whole “we will not talk to anybody, we will not be holding any stones or any axes. We are going to engage in peaceful means. If it fails and the dictator continues, we will go into overdrive.”
Strangely Sikhala is now talking, despite threatening to make a vow of silence.
Maybe this is the “overdrive” we were told he would introduce.
Muckraker was fascinated by the internal workings of our police force. Their publication, The Outpost, provided this insight to a visit of the National Support Group to Gweru earlier this year.
“I really hate it when people do things just because the NSG is coming to visit,” lamented a senior officer.
“It was not difficult to agree with her for while some of the activities on the ground pointed to a different scenario (like the orderly Operational Orders files), many of the documents, files and books presented to the group showed a pathetic state of neglect which was an indictment on the policing resolves of the section’s commanders.
“There were entries in the Traffic Accident book register which looked as if they had been entered by a person whose concentration was heavy with sleep or drink or both.”
Finally South African President Jacob Zuma is set to add to his teeming harem next weekend in a traditional ceremony in his hometown of Nkandla.
Gloria Bongekile Ngema will become Zuma’s fourth wife after having been engaged to him for a number of years, reports the Sunday Times.
Zuma’s Nkandla homestead has undergone a massive R64 million renovation which included the construction of six double-storey thatch rondavels for Zuma’s wives and family.
According to the Sunday Times, each of the main bedrooms is connected to Zuma’s main house by underground tunnels.
Intimate details of his personal life were revealed at his 70th birthday party when guests were shown video clips of 70 questions put to him by his daughters.
He also disclosed that he would happily go on a date with Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille.
Asked if he was done with marriage and children, he answered “I think so” to the first and “Yes” to the second. And how does he like his women? “I like one with some body.”
We’re sure you do Cde Zuma!