Votes are usually won, not ‘bagged’

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‘Vote Zanu PF to restore dignity, electorate urged.”

By The MuckRaker

Does that include calling candidates “ugly”? That their “ugliness” inspires fear? What sort of dignity is that?

We noted that Zanu PF posters are claiming the party has created employment. Exactly where is that employment? Perhaps the party could show us.

But the Herald’s front page on Monday showing all those policemen milling around tells a story in itself. Zimpapers have yet to understand that much of its propaganda is counter-productive.

“President bags votes” for instance is not a good thing to advertise. Votes are won, not “bagged”.

“Victory is ours”, the Herald last Friday proclaimed. Just supposing Zanu PF did win a majority of votes, it is unlikely to win an overwhelming majority. What would it do in that situation? The other parties are obviously going to reject an electoral outcome that is based on chicanery and military threats?

Then there is the captive media which has provided a platform for the former ruling party which seeks to claw back what it lost in 2008. So a Zanu PF victory would be the last thing anybody really wants: More unemployment with sanctions as the excuse? More rallies and fist-waving but nothing to show for it except threats and insults?

Rein in ‘commissars’

Adding to the circus, George Charamba has been calling for media organisations to be objective in their reportage.

Zimbabwean media institutions, Charamba said, follow partisan agendas and stories are well coordinated in support or against particular political parties.

Journalists should be guided by national interests which should not be swayed by political orientation added Charamba.
Said Charamba: “You cannot be seen to be supporting a political party against all odds because you will sink with it. The facts are that Zimbabwe was born in 1980 after a struggle. That is a fact, you cannot repudiate on that.”

These are very sensible comments but why then is Charamba not reining in journalists under his purview like Reuben Barwe and Judith Makwanya who have become more of commissars than journalists? It is ironic Charamba made these comments while the state media’s propaganda onslaught is in overdrive.

Barwe’s grovelling sometimes outdoes Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo or even Webster Shamu.

As long as the rabid bias of the state media remains unchecked, Charamba’s words ring hollow.
No more pretence

As the elections draw ever closer Zanu PF has stopped pretending they expropriated land for nothing else other than patronage.

The Daily News reports that Vice-President Joice Mujuru has promised church leaders in Masvingo farms and houses if they ensure Zanu PF wins the forthcoming general elections.

“I instruct our party leaders here who form the Lands Committee, (Titus) Maluleke, (Dzikamai) Mavhaire and (Felix) Chikovo the provincial administrator to immediately see to it that the men of cloth get land,” Mujuru said.

As if giving church leaders land for merely supporting Zanu PF was not outlandish enough, Mujuru promised them houses for preaching the “gospel” of Zanu PF.

“They do not have proper houses for their families as they spend most of their time preaching the word of God,” was Mujuru’s lame justification.

“Our party will see to it that they get nice houses for their families because it is because of them that President Robert Mugabe continues to rule this country.”

So much for redressing colonial imbalances!

Those in glass houses

Grace Mugabe told a rally last week there was no vacancy at State House. She was repeating a statement she made in 2008. She said leadership was not about changing women or going on holiday.

Indeed, it is not about trips to Hong Kong and Singapore either.

Tsvangirai flirted with women two years before he settled for his present wife, the Herald told us.

Why does this sound familiar?
Grace pointed out that the president of Israel was older than her husband. But she forgot to mention Shimon Peres was a ceremonial head of state.

The first lady got more than a mouthful for her diatriabe against Tsvangirai, who she had labelled a philanderer “who wasted time on salacious exotic beaches”.

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, responded in kind saying: “Of all the people, Grace Mugabe is not qualified to comment on the prime minister’s morals because she destroyed the marriage of an otherwise honourable first lady that we had.

“The philanderer the prime minister knows of is a president who fell in love with his secretary whilst his legitimate wife was dying of a kidney ailment.

It is sad that Grace is taking us down this route during an important election where we should be talking about our manifesto, issues and programmes that address the people’s interests rather than name-calling.”

Ouch! As they say, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

Madiba’s example

Nicholas Haysom’s account of Nelson Mandela’s tenure in the South African presidency, carried in the Sunday Times, makes interesting reading.

Haysom was Mandela’s lawyer. He provided a fascinating glimpse into Madiba’s five years at the helm.

How many people for instance know that he taught himself Afrikaans in prison so that at the right time and place he would be better placed to negotiate a transition to a non-racial democracy?

Haysom refers to the strong stand Mandela took against the Nigerian military junta and the way he used sport to unify the nation.

The donning of the No 6 Springbok rugby jersey at the 1995 World Cup finals would be his most effective evisceration of the white right-wing, Haysom writes, illustrating Mandela’s political skills.

As president he rose each day at 5am or earlier and made his own bed, much to the concern of hotel house-keeping staff around the world.

“He treated all who came into contact with him with equal and generous attentiveness and appreciation,” Haysom tells us. He preferred informality and was uncomfortable with protocol and ostentatious motorcades.”

His time at the presidency was known as the Camelot period. When he stood down he had stocked the country with a reservoir of goodwill both internally and externally.

When he stepped down, Haysom says, despite pleas to remain, he was responding to one of his most strongly held beliefs.

“Presidents should not stay in office for long. Beyond one, perhaps two terms, cronyism would become entrenched.”
And don’t we know it!

Quelle horreur!

The French have retrenched to the extent of excluding diplomatic wives from this year’s Bastille Day which took place on Sunday.

The function is widely regarded as one of the more elegant national-day parties with a selection of wines and cheeses that regulars look forward to. We are told a newly arrived ambassador phoned the French embassy to point out an omission.

His wife had not been included on the invitation. That was no omission, the ambassador was told. That was an austerity measure!

Sacré Bleu! What next? No fromage? One wife chopped from the list said she had been going for 33 years. Her husband got his card as usual but she had to content herself with watching the parade down the Champs Elysée on TV.

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