Tsvangirai fiddles while Zim burns

‘I’m ready to rule,” Morgan Tsvangirai has declared.

Opinion by MuckRaker

Does this mean his apprenticeship is over? Perhaps now he will stop propitiating President Robert Mugabe and get on with the serious business of providing some idea of what the MDC-T stands for?

He should be setting up his stall and advertising his wares. It’s called politics. Instead, together with Nelson Chamisa, he has been dodging, ducking and diving the big issues of the day.

Does anybody know what the voters’ roll looks like?

We understand from reports, presently unconfirmed, that the great provider of the Presidential Well-Wishers Scheme is none other than President Obiang, the ruthless dictator of Equatorial Guinea. If this is the case, why hasn’t the MDC-T said so? They haven’t said a thing about Zanu PF’s inducements.

Obiang was on TV this week telling the BBC how much his people love him. Also featured was his playboy son who owns numerous properties and vehicles in Paris. Dark glasses for both father and son were evidently de rigeur.

Deafening silence

On the human rights and governance side, where is the MDC-T’s voice on the country’s democratic deficit? At the Gweru conference it was announced that some 200 commercial farmers face jail for resisting evictions while 198 more are to be targeted.

It turns out, the Sunday Times reports, that no white farmers are to remain with land or a business venture. In other words reverse racism trumps development.

And then we hear from the European Union that all is well in Zimbabwe. And unsurprisingly Zanu PF can’t believe its luck in having such a clean bill of health.

Losing the plot

Muckraker was intrigued by a photo in the Herald last Saturday showing Tsvangirai chairing a meeting of senior government officials for an update on preparations for elections.
Seated with him was Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and Zec acting chair Joyce Kazembe.

We were not aware Tsvangirai had agreed on an election date although at times it seems he will agree to anything.

But we understand the need by donors and others for the PM to be seen playing a leading role in electoral preparations.
This, however, is more likely to serve Zanu PF’s purpose than the MDC-T’s!

Change of tack

Meanwhile Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo conceded his party conference resolutions are sometimes “torpedoed by the reality on the ground”.

“We cannot just force things through without considering what the situation demands,” Gumbo told the Daily News on Sunday. “In some instances, the situation dictates that we change tack.”

This is more so now that Zanu PF’s nemesis President Jacob Zuma has clinched the mandate from his party for another term.

We are likely to see a toning down of the fiery rhetoric from the regime’s attack dogs.

“Mr Zuma’s duplicity is astounding. With such leaders, Africa is in mortal danger,” the Sunday Mail’s editorial comment read last year reflecting Mugabe’s displeasure at Zuma’s mediation.

“We are not a colony — whether under the direct control of the West or by South African proxy,” the comment snarled.

However, Zanu PF chairman Simon Khaya Moyo was anything but hostile at the ANC’s conference in Mangaung describing the two parties as “comrades-in-arms”.

“We have a common liberation history and culture. We are one,” Moyo said, a far cry from Zanu PF’s labelling the ANC leaders as puppets of the West.

Reception was initially warm as Moyo recounted the two parties’ historically close relationship.

“But applause from the 4 000-plus audience became increasingly muted as he delved into the party’s controversial history and land grabs in the country,” reports the M&G.

Enthusiasm seems to have cooled when he said his party and the ANC shared common values and destiny.

Winning strategy

We were delighted to hear, once again, that Zanu PF is contemplating the reintroduction of the Zim dollar.

This is good news. Nothing could be more calculated to lose Zanu PF votes than the prospect of the discredited Zim dollar coming back into circulation.

Since 2009 the US greenback has provided stability and predictability, the two things a developing economy needs most.
Zanu PF should declare loud and clear its commitment to the Zim dollar.

It will be the kiss of death for the old Stalinists in the politburo.

Publicity monger

Speaking of which, Muckraker can always count on the indefatigable Kissnot Mukwazhi for a good chuckle. It seems any publicity is good publicity for the ZDP leader and last week the Financial Gazette published his letter giving police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri a “thumbs up” for “his desire to maintain peace in the country”.

“Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri’s statements on anti-violence and anti-corruption reflect his desire to maintain peace in the country,” Mukwazhi yelped.

“But it is my humbled (sic) submission that political leaders should not make irresponsible or stupid utterances …”

Clearly Cde Kissnot needs a dose of his own advice.

Mathema’s anathema

Those who know Bulawayo governor Cain Mathema and have worked with him point to an intelligent and literate politician –– which is more than can be said for most of his colleagues!

But last week he displayed a fit of pique which best belonged in the kindergarten.

He refused to meet visiting US ambassador Bruce Wharton who was on a familiarisation tour of the second city.

“I do not have him on my schedule and I do not want to meet him because his government imposed sanctions on us,” Mathema declared.
This came a short while after Wharton had presented his credentials to President Mugabe last month. Their meeting was fruitful we understand. He also met leaders of the MDC-T, MDC-N and Zapu. So Mugabe understood the importance of normalising relations with the United States but Mathema didn’t?

“If he comes to my office,” Mathema blustered, “he will have to explain why there are sanctions on Zimbabwe.”

That’s a no-brainer Mr Governor. Sanctions were imposed on Zimbabwe after Zanu PF’s record of political violence and electoral manipulation. The EU also imposed sanctions for the same reasons.
If Mathema and his colleagues want them lifted they should remove the reasons for their imposition.

Elementary mistakes

Last week we were obliged to point out to a columnist at the Herald that Cecil Square was not named in honour of Cecil Rhodes (it was Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury).

This week we have to draw the Sunday Mail’s Nilene Foxworth’s attention to the date of Ghana’s independence. It was 1957, not 1959.
And not many Africans remember the “resounding welcome” they received on arrival in China!

Instead of childish accusations of the “imperialist media” “selling out the country”, the editor should be checking his copy from Nilene and other solidarity practitioners.

The director of the Royal African Society is for instance Richard Dowden, not Richard Dowen!

And Marange Resources should have some idea how to spell “Kimberley”.
Marange had a full-page ad in the Daily News in which Obert Mpofu was laughing his head off –– “all the way to the bank” as they say. And there was fulsome praise for the minister’s “determination”.

Rude awakening

Finally we were amused by Webster Shamu’s vain attempt to turn the Unity Day musical gala into a Zanu PF event which backfired as he was booed off by revellers.

In an attempt to defuse the situation, the Standard reports, Shamu was forced to abandon the Zanu PF chants and rope in the more popular Dynamos football club.

Shamu got a sobering impression of what the people think about his party.

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