Last week we had the Irish ambassador, Brendan McMahon, who is accredited to Pretoria, telling the state press that sanctions are “a small issue”. This was obviously designed to butter up Zimbabwe which is sending a delegation to Brussels next month for talks designed to normalise relations.
Nothing wrong with that, but it would be useful to know if Ireland has any principles guiding it. Sanctions were imposed in response to EU election supervisor Pierre Schori’s eviction from the country when he identified electoral manipulation and political violence in the 2002 poll. The Zimbabwe government proceeded to claim the EU was directed by the British who were bitter over the land issue.
It would have been an impressive feat for British diplomacy to have twisted the arms of all 27 EU members but that is what the Irish are implying when they gullibly refer to sanctions not mattering.
McMahon needs to get a grip on why sanctions were imposed and why certain principles have been incorporated in the GPA before he next pontificates on “small issues”.Once negotiations get underway in Brussels those issues will become the basis for the talks. It will be interesting then to see what matters and what doesn’t!
We have a similar dilemma in the Copac talks. The Sunday Mail has been squealing about the views of the people in the outreach programme being “dumped” and replaced by a more “explanatory principles approach” as advocated by constitutional advisor Hassen Ebrahim.
This is not difficult to understand. Any draft that is to command public confidence must have universal principles guiding it. That means including the views of all parties in the electoral process so at the end of the day electoral outcomes are embraced by a broad consensus.
These must be electoral principles found everywhere in democratic societies such as Sadc’s commitment to electoral principles and popular participation.
These principles were adopted without difficulty by a Zanu PF government at Grand Baie in Mauritius in 2004. So why now all the fuss about foreign intervention?
Is TB Joshua coming to Zimbabwe or not?
It was interesting to see Munyaradzi Huni in the Sunday Mail claiming “impeccable immigration authorities” had told him that “it was highly unlikely that TB Joshua would be allowed into the country as he is known to use his alleged prophecy to meddle in politics”.
Clearly rattled by Joshua’s prophecy about an old African leader dying, Zanu PF apologists have been in overdrive in their bid to portray him as a false prophet.
In yet another disjointed hatchet job, entitled “Tsvangirai’s letter of shame to Prophet TB Joshua”, the Sunday Mail laid into Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for inviting TB Joshua to “assist him to become the country’s next leader”.
This followed a letter despatched to TB Joshua by Ian Makone inviting him to visit the country to preach here. TB Joshua is described by Huni as “controversial”. He describes Makone as Morgan Tsvangirai’s “close confidante (sic)”.
This is all part of a ploy, we are told, to infiltrate “Zanu PF strongholds”, especially in the rural areas using the prayer rallies.
Funny isn’t it that Zanu PF has not found it shameful to attach itself to a number of dubious “apostles” in the hope these “pastors” will deliver votes to Zanu PF.
Huni calls Tsvangirai “desperate” but he doesn’t say the same for Zanu PF which has roped in many hangers on like “Reverend” Obadiah Msindo of Destiny for Afrika who are only too keen to “meddle in politics”.
They were not even ashamed to associate themselves with the late self-proclaimed spiritual healer and convicted rapist, Godfrey Nzira.
This was despite Nzira being convicted of seven counts of rape and one count of indecent assault involving two women who sought help from him at his shrine.
Who started this apostolic “meddling”?
Readers of this column over the years will know we have sent shrill warnings about the failure of governance in South Africa, not very different from our own government’s poor example.
Recently, the chairman of Nedbank, Reuel Khoza, has warned that South Africa’s democracy is under threat from a “strange breed” of political leaders who appear to be incapable of dealing with the demands of modern-day governance and leadership.
Khoza’s remarks were carried in BusinessDay and elicited a bitter response from the country’s post-liberation aristocracy.
He said South Africa was fast losing the checks and balances provided by the constitution and called on South Africans to hold to account “putative leaders who, due to sheer incapacity to deal with the complexity of 21st century governance and leadership” could not lead.
“We have a duty to insist on strict adherence to the institutional forms that underpin our young democracy,” Khoza wrote in Nedbank’s latest annual report.
“Our political leadership’s moral quotient is degenerating and we are fast losing the checks and balances that are necessary to prevent a recurrence of the past,” he said.
“South Africa is widely recognised for its liberal and enlightened constitution yet we observe the emergence of a strange breed of leaders who are determined to undermine the rule of law and override the constitution.”
For those who recall, Khoza was an advisor to Thabo Mbeki. The debate that has followed Khoza’s remarks, BusinessDay notes, therefore has much to do with Mbeki’s legacy.
Khoza has touched a raw nerve with his intervention –– whether Zuma is up to the job. This hurts because it coincides with popular sentiment. Many South Africans don’t think so. On Mbeki’s watch the South African economy boomed. During Zuma’s tenure half the employment gains won by Mbeki have been lost.
The late Malawian president’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has apologised to new President Joyce Banda and the nation on all the ills “they injected on them” when wa Mutharika was alive, reports the Malawi Voice.
DPP Secretary-General, Wakuda Kamanga, said they were aware that DPP leaders wronged Banda and a lot of Malawians in their quest to please wa Mutharika.
Speaking at wa Mutharika’s funeral at his Ndata Farm, Kamanga said: “To all Malawians, it is easy to wrong others when you have a president. And during our time, we are aware that we did some things that might not please you. So, as we bury this man today, may we bury along with him your anger.”
Talk about the chickens coming home to roost! Here is hoping that apparatchiks this side of the border will learn a thing or two from this incident and temper their overzealous conduct accordingly.
They might, just like the DPP, find themselves on the other side of the political divide and be forced to plead for mercy.
However, Kamanga’s gesture did not go down well with the DPP cadets, who called Kamanga to a secluded area within Ndata Farm and beat him up.
According to the Malawi Voice the bemused cadets said Kamanga’s remarks had the potential of selling the party out to the now ruling People’s Party.
The youths also vowed to deal with all DPP MPs that have promised their allegiance to Banda.
These are clearly the violent kicks of a dying horse.
A reader sent us a funny story which shows that, contrary to popular perceptions, the City of Harare rubbish disposal department don’t always have it their own way.
A rubbish disposal truck was doing its rounds one morning recently when it was stopped by a policeman who was intent on fining the crew for hanging onto the back of a moving vehicle.
No amount of explanation from waste management officials about their modus operandi could budge the resolute policeman from charging them. They eventually had to go to the officer-in-charge who apologised and sent them and their truck on its way –– two hours later.
It’s a scary thought that we have so many half-trained policemen with the powers of properly trained officers causing this sort of disruption to all and sundry.
Finally here’s a different take on affirmative action from Thomas Sowell, an African American who started out poor in the south.
Q: Overall, do you believe Affirmative Action has had a more positive or negative impact on the lives of black Americans?
TS: Affirmative action has been a boon to those blacks who were already affluent and particularly for those who were rich but has done little or nothing for those blacks who are neither. Moreover empirical data from other countries around the world shows the same general pattern from group preferences.
Q: Do you believe reparations should be paid for slavery?
TS: The people made worse off by slavery were those who were enslaved. Their descendants would have been worse off today if born in Africa instead of America.
Put differently, the terrible fate of their ancestors benefited them. If those who were enslaved were alive, they would deserve huge reparations and their captors would deserve worse punishments than our laws allow.
But death has put both beyond our reach. Frustrating as that may be, creating new injustices among the living will not change that.