As 2012 draws to a close we look at some of the outstanding quotes of the year from a variety of the country’s newsmakers and media.
Compiled by Kudzai Kuwaza
From the bootlickers to the straight-talkers, here are some of those that made us laugh out loud, cry, cringe, or simply shake our heads in despair and disbelief.
- “For it became very clear that those we entrusted as drafters of the new constitution had regrettably been overcome by ill-winds and become drifters in the process.” — President Robert Mugabe slamming Copac drafters in his address to the 91st ordinary session of the Zanu PF central committee.
- “If you have a party that is placing its hopes in somebody who is 88 years old, I think there is something wrong with that. If you are 88 years, you belong to an old people’s home; you belong to a wheelchair. To place the fate of a country to an 88-year-old, with great respect, I am not a member of Zanu F, but with great respect, it is an insult to present generations. We need renewal in Zimbabwe.” — Biti addressing a US think tank, the Atlantic Council.
- “The president has provided leadership from the cockpit and we are prepared to be the passengers. When Moses descended from Mount Sinai, he had with him two tablets that had the Ten Commandments, however, today, your excellency, we will provide you with one tablet. This tablet will ensure that you are wiser than all the kings we have known.” — MDC-T ICT minister Nelson Chamisa’s effusive praise of Mugabe at the launch of the e-learning programme.
- “He is a very seductive man … If you have a private discussion with him you will be shocked by the calmness. I have been saying to my British friends that he is the most British of all British people I have come across … He is very calm and seductive. I am sure every woman is in love with him.” — Biti waking lyrical about Mugabe’s character in an interview with a local weekly.
- “I was overcome by emotion. I did not expect this. It is monumental! At times I fail to explain to the ordinary person how it feels to serve under a first republican president. This is why I could not hold back my tears.” — Walter Mzembi takes adulation to new heights after receiving a portrait of Mugabe at an Association of Zimbabwe Travel Agents conference.
- “We have heard of the fund which is supposed to assist young people, but nobody has actually benefited from it. The fund is like a ghost which many people talk about but nobody has actually seen.” — Pentecostal Assemblies of Zimbabwe Bishop Trevor Manhanga on the youth fund administered by Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
- “There is a road named after (the late Reverend Ndabaningi) Sithole in Ghana, but in Zimbabwe, not even a well or a borehole is named after him. Can that be a country — that does not honour its heroes?” — MDC-T organising secretary Nelson Chamisa bemoaning Zanu PF’s failure to honour Sithole.
- “The fact that the two main proponents of the recent illogical moves have presided over the failure of their two banks before, namely Unibank and Genesis, calls for Solomonic wisdom on the part of Zimbabwe’s population and leadership. Ordinarily, anyone who was near a failed bank is not a fit and proper person to deal with banking matters or to ever own, run or talk about the ownership of a bank again until cleared by the central bank.” — Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono on calls by Kasukuwere and then Indigenisation board chairperson David Chapfika to indigenise the banking sector.
- “They will be sleeping throughout the discussions except when you come to devolution, then they wake up.” — Zanu PF Copac co-chairperson Paul Mangwana on Welshman Ncube and his MDC during discussion on a new constitution.
- “In fact, Mangwana comes from a party that believes processed diesel can ooze from a rock; that shows we should not take him seriously.” — MDC director of policy and research Qhubani Moyo hitting back at Mangwana.
- “(Mugabe) cynically chose to compare the best of us with the worst of us; a ridiculous and abhorrent comparison that we reject in the strongest terms. Ambassador Stevens represented the finest of America and spent his life connecting people, not dividing them. Even for President Mugabe, this is a new low.” — Erin Pelton, spokeswoman for the US mission to the United Nations on Mugabe comparing the death of US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens to that of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi at the UN Summit.
- “We urge you to stop your Mukadota acts with this constitution. I want to tell you that this is a serious national discussion which does not need your theatrics.” — A participant at a Copac public meeting, Kenneth Sithole, dressing down Goodson Nguni by comparing his contributions to Zimbabwean comic legend Safirio Madzikatire (stage name Mukadota).
- “In many instances, the perennial whiners about alleged ‘corporate incest’ are unmitigated failures who cannot even organise a piss-up in a brewery.” — Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda defending his membership of various boards.
- “We want access to information because Zimbabweans are sick and tired of propaganda on ZBC, which is now Zanu PF Broadcasting Corporation, and even Satan does not approve of it.” — Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe takes a swipe at ZBC’s bias towards Zanu PF in its coverage.
- “Why are they bringing the matter to the party? … It is nonsensical that they want to demonise other people and say they declined to give Adam Ndlovu hero status. We have never given the status to any sportsperson ever. What is the sport that Adam Ndlovu has played that other people have not?” — Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa dismisses a request by Zanu PF’s Bulawayo province to accord the late soccer star national hero status.