President Robert Mugabe has promised to fully embrace football development “as a priority” only after winning elections.
Opinion by The MuckRaker
Handing over the Bob 89 trophy to the winners Dynamos this week, Mugabe bemoaned the current policies “which do not embrace soccer” saying he will make sure football is adequately funded when he wins the next elections.
This sudden concern is likely to provide cold comfort to football lovers considering it is Zanu PF policies that have destroyed local football.
Sport has always taken a back seat under Zanu PF rule being lumped together with education and culture in one ministry.
Government has idly watched as Zifa struggled to raise money to attend tournaments forcing the likes of Cuthbert Dube to bankroll the association from their own pockets.
Instead, they only want to take credit in rare moments of success, such as Kirsty Coventry’s Olympic triumph, as if they had anything to do with it.
Thirty-three years on Mugabe has found it “worrisome” that Zimbabwe fails to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations.
“The government seems not to be doing much in supporting soccer,” Mugabe said without a hint of irony, since we are told ad nauseam he is head of government.
It has apparently come to his attention that local soccer has the potential to become a force to reckon with at international level “if we emulate other countries who invest in the game”.
Zanu PF is not fooling anyone in its attempt to latch on to popular football clubs in its bid to repackage its stale ideology. He should ask Webster Shamu who last December unsuccessfully tried to turn a musical gala into a political rally and instead got jeers for his troubles. He was forced to change tack by calling on the crowd to rally behind Dynamos football club.
“Pamberi neDembare, neDembare yedu (forward with Dynamos),” yelped Shamu in a bid to pacify the restive crowd.
Singing from the same hymn sheet Mugabe made his agenda all the more plain stating: “The elections are coming and we want to make sure that we will support soccer with the much-needed funding, and a Zanu PF government will do that.”
Meanwhile the ZRP has “assured” the nation that despite funding and manpower challenges, the referendum and elections will be held without violence.
ZRP Elections Commander, Deputy commissioner-general Innocent Matibiri said the police has a “strategic” document in place and had already started training its members from district to national levels.
The police, Matibiri said, will continue to clamp down on non-governmental organisations and individuals “whose activities may pose a security risk to the country during and after the electoral processes”.
“We will stop at nothing to clamp down on those who carry out activities that are not noble to Zimbabwe’s cause,” Matibiri charged.
So it seems the “strategic” document is there only to harass NGOs and to determine what activities can be deemed “noble”.
While they are at it, the Chipanganos and Jabulani Sibandas of this world are left to roam free and wreak havoc.
Freedom my foot!
A statement last week by the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) neatly summarised the significance of the police’s confiscation of shortwave receivers.
“MAZ believes that owning and distributing radio receivers is not illegal,” the organisation said. “Confiscating them was a gross violation of citizens’ rights to receive and impart ideas and information without interference as enshrined in Section 20 of the constitution. People have been deprived of an important source of information.”
So here we are at the outset of the “Vote Yes” campaign with an egregious abridgement of fundamental liberties without a squeak of protest by political parties, civil society groups, churches, the so-called public papers and government-owned radio and television stations.
So much for freedom of the press and association as set out in the new draft.
And at the same time we had the MDC-T accusing the independent media of hate speech.
Admittedly this was designed to demonstrate an even-handed approach by the MDC-T, but instead it simply gave the impression that Morgan Tsvangirai and his party did not uphold the values that are fundamental to democracy.
The confiscation of SW radios, a clumsy attack on democracy, should have elicited the strongest of responses. Instead we got a mealy-mouthed response. It must be obvious to all including the MDC that Zimbabweans rely on external broadcasts to ascertain news and views which they can’t get from the Orwellian ZBC.
MDC-T spokesmen should be challenged to tell us what hate speech they are referring to. Instead they are constantly finding ways to propitiate Mugabe.
The latest involves a letter by Social Services minister Paurina Mpariwa, which, according to press reports, led to the raid on the Zimbabwe Peace Project offices.
Elections déjà vu
Now we hear the government won’t allow foreign election observers other than Sadc.
This is all very strange. The government is desperate for money for election funding. But for reasons of dubious nationalism, it wants to assert its sovereignty and bar those countries which have been supporting Copac.
But there is no reason to be dismayed. Studiously ignoring recent arrests and other abuses ––most notably the assault on Woza and the ZPP –– the Scandinavians and others will come to the rescue along with the UNDP.
So Zanu PF’s nationalist self-regard will be spared. And the election will go ahead as planned, flawed, bungled and bashed.
Harare City Council has suspended the construction of a commuter omnibus loading bay near Rotten Row because they want to “prioritise” the rehabilitation of roads, the Herald reports.
“It is all about prioritising hence we have sought to concentrate on roads and water for the time being,” town clerk Tendai Mahachi said.
“We have temporarily set aside the development of major projects like holding bays so that we can fully concentrate on the delapidating road infrastructure.”
According to Mahachi, they had seen that “roads need more work”.
We wonder how long before they also “see” that most of Harare’s suburbs have been without water for the past two weeks.
Hopefully sooner rather than later!
Vote has final say
Finally, as we warned last week state media delirium over President Mugabe’s birthday reached ridiculous proportions last week with ZBC claiming “youths” in Matabeleland North Province “have joined the rest of the country” in conveying congratulatory messages.
The youths, who ZBC miraculously found assembled in one place, “said” the president has been an exemplary leader who has shown his love for young people through the indigenisation and economic empowerment policy.
The youths, we are told, also “expressed confidence” that the president, “who is among the most respected on the African continent”, will win the next presidential election.
Zanu PF’s electoral drubbing in that part of the country since Independence exposes such sentiments for the hogwash that they are.