Zimbabweans from all walks of life have urged Zanu PF to use its two thirds majority to tighten laws on foreign funding of political parties and quasi-political groups whose activities border on the treasonous and seditious, the Herald told us on Monday.
What baloney! Who fed the Herald this malevolent nonsense? Gabriel Chaibva, now posing as a political analyst, is the culprit it would appear.
He has seized on a letter published in the Sunday Mail which Tendai Biti wrote to the South African ambassador seeking dialogue among the political parties.
By any standard it was a tame affair and very quickly shot down by the ambassador, according to the Herald story.
Let’s not forget that President Jacob Zuma rushed to congratulate Zanu PF before the GPA conditions had been met, a position shared by President Robert Mugabe. This has put Zuma at odds with those in the country who question the results. So he is unlikely to annoy Mugabe by re-entering the fray. Anyway, he seems to be having a spot of bother on his home front at present.
Biti’s actions would be treasonous in other countries given that they amounted to undermining the newly-elected Zanu PF government, Chaibva claimed. He held up Sweden as an example of such treachery.
It was a poor choice. Sweden has one of the most liberal political systems in Europe.
Chaibva probably got his material from Tafataona Mahoso. He claimed some years ago that Sweden had strict press laws. In order to expose this claim as untrue the Swedish government organised a press tour to Sweden. At the last minute state media participants in the tour were withdrawn.
Whatever the case, we are not too disappointed by Chaibva’s silly outburst. Just as they get their tails up after winning an election, along comes someone like Chaibva to proclaim to the world that the result was a one-off and that the constitution was not worth the paper it was written on.
“The good thing for them,” Chaibva said, “is that Zimbabwe is a democratic and free country which allows such traitors to behave in the way they do.”
So Zimbabwe is a democracy where critics of the regime are branded “traitors”! So much for democracy.
Then we had Emmerson Mnangagwa saying the MDC formations had been dumped in the political dustbin.
“Zanu PF is the party of the future,” he improbably suggested. “And the MDC formations are now dead.”
So the people of Bulawayo and Harare voted for a party that is dead? Mnangagwa’s captive peasant voters may believe this but we doubt anybody else will. As for Zanu PF being the future, that is the sort of statement that leads you to laugh out loud!
Zimbabweans should not look beyond the ruling Zanu PF for social and economic transformation,” Mnangagwa declared.
So we shouldn’t look beyond them for water supplies, food, schools and clinics? Or did he mean to say we shouldn’t look to them for anything.
The media should interview Mnangagwa in six months’ time and ask him where all these promises have got to. After all you can bet your bottom dollar that he won’t have produced them.
Popos on the prowl
A dilemma for new MP for Buhera South, Joseph Chinotimba, whose constituents catch early morning buses to Harare. The odd hours during which the buses operate leave people vulnerable to attacks by wildlife. Recently a hyena attacked residents as they returned home from the market. People have even been attacked in their homes.
Part of the problem is bus operators who want to get to Harare before the police start stopping buses and charging their fees as the day begins.
They are relatively late starters. But the dilemma remains. Those catching early morning buses are vulnerable to marauding hyenas while latecomers are vulnerable to marauders of another variety.
“Wild animals have always been a problem in Buhera,” Chinotimba told the Herald, “but the situation is worsened if the person has to be at the bus stop as early as 2 am.”
He called on bus operators to revise their time tables “because either way they will still make money”. But he has not calculated on the wildlife further down the line who want to relieve them of their hard-earned cash.
Botched hatchet job
A great story this week from our old friend Caesar Zvayi at the Herald. He did a hatchet job on the three ambassadors who Zanu PF love to hate: from Britain, the US and Australia.
Ambassadors regularly get moved around, he suggests, “in order to avoid the danger of contamination”. In other words it is important to stop them “going native” and becoming overly pally with the locals. What we have here is the wish being father to the thought. Zanu PF and its newspapers are clearly keen to be rid of their turbulent critics in the diplomatic community.
The three –– Deborah Bronnert, Bruce Wharton and Matthew Neuhaus –– inconveniently ascertained that the July elections were, how shall we say, a tad less than free and fair. In fact the “fair” bit was even dropped by Sadc and the AU when it became obvious it couldn’t be sustained.
So the cabal of three will become the targets of Zanu PF’s malicious propaganda with all the attendant mischief. The three, Zvayi declares, have let their sympathies for the opposition MDC–T and their personal affinities to Zimbabwe lead them to misinform their capitals in a way that has created an impasse between Zimbabwe and their home countries.
So dire has the situation become, Zvayi amusingly tells us, that Washington has felt compelled to dispatch deputy assistant secretary of state in the bureau of African Affairs Dr Shannon Smith, to Harare to ascertain the “true Zimbabwean story” in the light of unreliable dispatches from Mr Wharton.”
Wharton won’t lose any sleep over this. He is a seasoned diplomat who has served in stations such as Guatemala as well as here and understands perfectly well the character of the regime he is accredited to.
Under no illusions
Many ambassadors posted here understand that in a situation where there is a human rights and governance deficit because liberties are suppressed, they have a duty to speak up and speak out.
The idiotic claim that this has put the three countries at cross purposes with the progressive world should be dismissed with hilarity. The “progressive world” in Zanu PF’s book is places like Venezuela and Equatorial Guinea.
Zimbabwe is part of the band of delinquents which the real progressive world avoids like the plague. Which raises a good point. Why did Hugo Chavez never come here? It will be interesting to see if his successor spares us the time.
And who remembers that strange Ecuadorean Anglican bishop who said Mugabe would visit Ecuador on his return from the General Assembly session five or six years ago? We never heard of him again.
Speaking of Zanu PF’s version of progressive countries, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has threatened to take Zimbabwe’s cue in leaving the Commonwealth, saying it is a “neo-colonial” institution.
Gambia shares some disconcerting similarities with our rulers, such as Jammeh’s penchant for being referred to as “His Excellency Sheikh Professor Doctor President”.
Jammeh has declared he would rule for “a billion years” if necessary and claims to have invented a herbal HIV cure. And much like President Mugabe who threatened to disown Harare and Bulawayo for voting for the MDC-T, Jammeh once told Gambians: “I will develop areas that vote for me, but if you don’t vote for me, don’t expect anything.”
According to the UK Telegraph vast posters of Jammeh stare out even on the tourist strip and he lives in a heavily-guarded presidential palace.
“His official convoy, a 30-strong caravan of SUVs guarded by pick-up trucks with anti-aircraft guns, will run anyone off the road who gets in its way –– foreign diplomats included,” the Telegraph reports.
Sounds eerily familiar doesn’t it?