No sooner was “revolutionary party” Zanu PF back in power than many people were facing the spectre of having their structures demolished. And in the rainy season to boot!
It’s not that we don’t want sanity restored in our towns and cities. It is about time government acted on the slums mushrooming in and around the cities, especially Harare. However, Zanu PF has been the root cause of the chaos by parcelling out residential stands during the election campaign period in a desperate bid to clinch the urban vote. So have been greedy and corrupt MDC-T councillors who also illegally doled out stands.
For the past few years Zanu PF has been coining housing co-operatives on the hoof and in some cases settling party supporters on private property. In October members of the Chinamano housing co-operative in Epworth found out Zanu PF’s duplicity the hard way when they woke up to find a bulldozer of the landowner, Sunway City, busy demolishing their homes.
One of the bemused evictees was quoted by NewsDay saying: “Zanu PF told us to come and occupy this area last year and we were told we were not going to be affected by any demolitions or evictions because the land belonged to the people.”
So much for the people’s land.
And now that Zanu PF’s position is secured following the July 31 general elections triumph marred by rigging allegations, the ordinary people it used to get into power are expendable for the time being.
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo is now suddenly shocked by the widespread illegal housing structures and is threatening to fire council officials, headmen and village heads responsible for illegally parcelling out land.
He would do well to fire himself first for failing to rein in the rot for so long.
“Government cannot allow this unacceptable scenario to persist unchecked,” Chombo blustered.
“It is in this light that the ministry has deemed it prudent to take necessary measures to curb and reverse these unsanctioned developments.”
In typical Chombo-style the blame for the malaise is being laid squarely on the shoulders of mostly opposition-led urban authorities despite him superintending over the ministry for over a decade.
Chombo’s deputy, Joel Biggie Matiza, rightly conceded that corruption has affected town planning. The introspection should begin at the top of the ministry.
But, as they say, a fish rots from the head down.
‘Moment of madness’
Didymus Mutasa recently accused the International Criminal Court (ICC) of hypocrisy for ignoring the genocide committed by Rhodesians during the liberation struggle yet finds “flimsy” excuses to humiliate African leaders over “unfounded” allegations.
Mutasa was speaking at the re-burial of 124 liberation war fighters who were executed by the Ian Smith-led regime in Rusape.
Said Mutasa: “The massacre of innocent civilians and political prisoners at the ‘butcher’ in Rusape was a case of genocide which the ICC deliberately turned a blind eye on.”
Mutasa then accused the ICC of hypocrisy saying the perpetrators were not punished as they were their kith and kin. He does have a point about the ICC’s seemingly selective application of the law.
However, the same could be said of how Mutasa’s party has hushed over the atrocities committed in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the 1980s, known as Gukurahundi, which killed more than 20 000 people.
President Mugabe’s only acknowledgement of the massacres was the infamous “moment of madness” phrase which has done little to assuage the victims.
Even Mugabe’s former deputy, the late Joseph Msika, once said he was not convinced by the president’s apology.
Despite this glaring oversight, Mugabe is undeterred in venting his righteous indignation at the West for their “crimes against humanity”.
The hypocrisy clearly works both ways Cde Mutasa.
The British government is sweating to have Zimbabwe back in the Commonwealth, the Sunday Mail claimed, “in a desperate bid to give the Commonwealth some measure of respect and relevance”.
The Commonwealth must have really hit rock bottom if it hopes to recover respect and relevance from readmitting Zimbabwe.
“Since the pullout of Zimbabwe, the Commonwealth has lost relevance and, recently, the Gambia also pulled out of the grouping,” the Sunday Mail told us at the weekend.
It is common knowledge Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth after it failed to meet the terms of the ironically named 1991 Harare Declaration because of alleged rampant human rights abuses and lack of democratic reforms.
And much like President Robert Mugabe, “His Excellency Sheikh Professor Doctor President Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia” jumped before he was pushed by the Commonwealth because of his poor human rights record and wanton disregard for the rule of law.
Last August Jammeh suspended the country’s 27-year moratorium on the death penalty and executed nine prisoners by firing squad, deliberately ignoring pleas from Commonwealth governments to show mercy.
Zimbabwe is now joined by a nation whose leader believes Aids can be cured with a herbal body rub and bananas.
Who then is losing respect and relevance? It’s certainly not the Commonwealth.
Despite the Sunday Mail’s claims that the Commonwealth has lost relevance, Francophone African nations have expressed interest in joining the grouping.
Former Belgian colony Rwanda joined the Commonwealth in 2009, while Gabon, a former French colony, is set to follow suit.
Losing the plot …again
A fortnight ago Muckraker cited Information deputy minister Supa Mandiwanzira’s disingenuous remarks in which he attributed the popularity of “pirate” radio stations merely to the unavailability of ZBC’s signal in some areas.
“So they (listeners) have no choice and end up, by default, listening to these pirate radio stations,” Mandiwanzira told the Senate.
Apparently it is not the puerile and error strewn propaganda that has put off viewers; Zimbabweans know better.
This week Mandiwanzira was at it again claiming Zanu PF is a party of “champions of opening up the broadcasting industry”.
“We are champions of democracy and media pluralism,” Mandiwanzira quipped. “We are also mindful of the responsibilities that we have.”
Curiously Mandiwanzira made the remarks on a tour of his radio station ZiFM Stereo with his boss Jonathan Moyo.
Only two licences for radio stations have been issued by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe with Mandiwanzira’s ZiFM Stereo and Zimpapers’ Star FM being the beneficiaries. Both stations are linked to Zanu PF.
Instead of working towards a truly democratic opening up of the airwaves, Mandiwanzira, a former journalist, continues to make daft remarks.
To quote an opinion piece we carried last October written by Tabani Moyo: “Mandiwanzira must help the nation in taking a lead in articulating these pressing issues (of media reforms), instead of spending time futilely trying to defuse national debate on the quest for total broadcasting reforms.”
We couldn’t agree more.
short and sweet …
Along treacherous path
ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has taken Zanu PF’s cue of using fear-mongering as a campaign strategy, telling a disillusioned woman in Limpopo to vote for his party or else the “boers would take back power”.
“If you don’t vote, the boers will come back to control us,” Ramaphosa said to a disgruntled resident who had vowed not to vote in next year’s elections because the ANC has disappointed her.
The woman, Johanna Phala, blamed the country’s high unemployment rate on the ANC and said she had lost hope in the party.
Instead of articulating the policies the ANC would come up with to mitigate the problems Phala outlined, Ramaphosa chose to use fear, justifying it later by saying his approach worked as the woman had bought the “story”.
Ramaphosa’s statements chillingly reflect the ANC’s alarming slide along Zanu PF’s path.