AT last, a “no going back” statement we can all support. Leslie Gwindi, Harare city council’s public relations manager, vowed the council would continue with its operation to prevent arbitrary structures going up in the suburbs.
“There is no going back on demolishing illegal car sales yards in the city,” he told the press. “But we are told there are youths who have now come in to stop this (the demolitions).”
Then, equally surprising, Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo backed the city’s efforts, making clear people could not take the law into their own hands.
One of those advocating precisely that was Harare Zanu PF provincial youth chairman Jim Kunaka.
He declared his outfit would fight to stop the council operation. It transpired that he was a council employee. “I don’t care whether it was a council resolution or not, I will stand to fight them,” he declared.
This development has also irked the “pressure” group Zimbabwe Entrepreneurs Youth Action Group which has accused the city council of “disempowering” the youth.
So how do we explain this changable behaviour?
Very simply! Zanu PF was seriously damaged by the revelations of its role in support of Chipangano –– by this newspaper among others. That was the sort of publicity Zanu PF could do without at this juncture with an election pending.
Which explains Didymus Mutasa’s dressing down of Amos Midzi followed by Chombo’s intervention against Kunaka’s antics.
The former ruling party has clearly received instructions to appear to be the party of the rule of law. Kunaka was emblematic of its lawlessness. Here was somebody who was determined to lose the party votes. It wasn’t just defiance he was advocating but violence as well.
Not helping matters in all this was the police. Spokesperson Chief Inspector James Sabau said the police would only act if council obtained permission from the courts.
“We can only assist when they have a court order and in the absence of that there is nothing we can do to help,” he is quoted as saying.
Is this correct? That the police need a court order to uphold the law and cannot do so without such an order?
The nation has been waiting to hear the outcome of the politburo deliberations on the Copac draft.
Among the contested areas we are told are “national objectives and foundations and the significance of the liberation struggle”.
That is good and proper. Any such discussion should include the way in which the central tenets of the liberation struggle have been hijacked by a post-liberation aristocracy which is intent upon empowering itself at the expense of the people as a whole. That should go in.
We were surprised to hear of an outfit called the Centre for Economic and Leadership Development which awarded Vice-President Joice Mujuru the “Distinguished African Amazon Award” in Bindura recently, according to the Sunday Mail.
The award recognises the contribution of women who have excelled in their professional life and made a difference in the lives of other women.
VP Mujuru was seated between Senate President Edna Madzongwe and Oppah Muchinguri.
We were rather surprised to hear of this organisation, an NGO, which is committed to addressing the challenges faced by vulnerable women. But then all was made clear.
“The event was organised by the Zanu PF Women’s League,” the Sunday Mail reported.”
OK. But “Amazons” usually refers to mythical female giant warriors of South America. We are not sure that any of the ladies mentioned above qualify!
Outgoing US ambassador, Charles Ray, recently criticised his government for “not doing much” to improve relations with Zimbabwe.
“I can never say I received 100% support from my government,” he told the press. “They could have done more to improve relations with Zimbabwe.”
He expected to be greeted by guns on his arrival at the airport to take up his post following negative briefings in Washington.
You can tell this was his last posting! But whatever the case, ambassadors should not snipe at their own governments. They are here to explain their country’s policy, not subvert it.
Many Zimbabweans would have approved the US’s strong stance on Zimbabwe. And it was up to Congress to change policy, not ambassadors!
President Mugabe has told guests at a state dinner in Lusaka that sanctions were meaningless.
Mugabe sang from his tired sanctions hymn sheet, saying they were meant to stop the seizures of land from white farmers for redistribution to landless blacks.
Ironically he went on to accuse former US President George W Bush of being a “shameless liar” together with former British premier Tony Blair.
According to the Herald, President Mugabe said “the recent behaviour of the authors of debilitating restrictions clearly show that they are failing to garner the moral courage to accept that Zimbabwe has moved on and that their sanctions which were never justified in the first place should be removed without precondition”.
Zambia Reports states that Mugabe found a not-so captive audience while addressing journalists after a meeting with former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda.
With a combined age of 176 years, it was no surprise the two would dwell on issues of the past rather than the present.
Mugabe’s broadsides at Western nations were, however, met with a flurry of sceptical questions from unimpressed journalists in attendance, prompting Kaunda to interject and defend Mugabe.
“I have said this and I have told you that no one should demonise Comrade Mugabe. This man had an agreement with Margaret Thatcher over the land in Zimbabwe,” Kaunda said.
Clearly the old and tired line no longer has any takers.
If the sanctions were meaningless, why did his party hawk around a petition which called for the removal of the sanctions regime?
Don’t we recall Senator Aguy leading the campaign in London to have sanctions dealt a mortal blow in the courts? What happened to that?
This reminds us of the decision to leave the Commonwealth. The regime in 2003 pulled out all the stops to prevent Zimbabwe’s continued suspension, and then when that didn’t work they announced they didn’t want to remain a member anyway.
It was a good example of diplomatic pique.
We now have a situation where Zanu PF committed itself to a reform process and is now trying to change that process because it doesn’t like the outcome.
The two MDCs meanwhile are enjoying the spectacle of the former ruling party tearing itself apart because its members can’t understand that when you negotiate an agreement on constitutional basics, you can’t then run away because you think you made a mistake.
The negotiating process was clearly laid down, and it was understood that while the parties wouldn’t be able to agree on everything, the outcome would be the best they could get. It would not be possible for one party to change things arbitrarily just because it perceived a setback for its mandarins.
Can you imagine trying to put such specious language as “national objectives and foundations, the significance of the liberation struggle” into a constitution when there are about 12 million different interpretations of those things?
Zanu PF believes such nationalist posturing is a vote-winner. The Herald claims Morgan Tsvangirai has been “attacking African nationalists”.
In reality the electorate is sick and tired of pseudo-nationalists claiming the mantle of genuine liberators. It didn’t work the last time –– nobody bought the message –– so why do they think it will work this time?
How do we explain the photo-opportunity given to the press by the appearance of Robert Mugabe Jnr at a function in Harare last weekend.
Wearing a python-decorated dinner jacket and a black shirt, the tall hazel-eyed son of Zimbabwe’s first couple made his first official appearance at the Miss Global International held at the Rainbow Towers on Saturday night.
We are not entirely sure what Miss Global International does but Robert Jnr (Tino) was the guest of honour at the function.
He looked relaxed and suave in front of the cameras. But what exactly was he doing there? Perhaps Dad has relented on the succession issue after all.
For all those Zimbabweans bored by the Mnangagwa vs Mujuru saga, the emergence of young Robert provides a candidate who is non-political and happy to stand in for his ageing father. If not now, then perhaps being groomed for some future appointment?
All very mysterious. But mark Muckraker’s words, very soon he will be in election mode handing out bags of mealie-meal and denouncing sanctions.
Fame comes at a price and it won’t be long before he is put to work.
We do know one thing. Those girls pictured at the Rainbow Towers were as tall and leggy as he is! A dab hand with the basketball we gather.
The last time we suggested him as a possible successor –– in a cartoon standing in a line-up at the airport –– he was whisked from public view not to be seen again. Until now that is!
Perhaps now it is felt that he can fulfil a long awaited mission. Let’s see.
Finally the internet on Monday was abuzz with details of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s trip to Malawi.
However, this time the focus wasn’t on politics.
After holding bilateral talks with President Joyce Banda, Clinton was given a stinging farewell –– literally– when a swarm of bees descended on her entourage at Kamuzu International Airport.
The Nyasa Times reports that Clinton was forced to run for cover and buzzed off to Johannesburg where she was assailed by nothing more uncomfortable than several inches of snow!