Our congratulations to human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa who has been awarded the 2014 International Women of Courage Award at a ceremony at the State Department in Washington DC presided over by Michelle Obama last week.
Mtetwa has frequently performed her duty in standing up to bullying and aggression in recent years while those responsible have still not been brought to account.
We need more people like Beatrice in this country. Haters and bullies are always cowards.
Catch ’em young
Distribution company Blackwood & Hodges sets aside a day every year to help children’s homes with their daily chores.
This year the company came to the assistance of Shungu DzeVana Children’s Home in Hatfield. The team spent the whole day last Thursday cleaning the dormitories as well as doing laundry and other chores, according to the Daily News.
While this is a noble exercise, Muckraker wonders how it could be enhanced by showing the children, many of them orphans, how to keep their premises spick and span. We noticed the number of pre-schools recently in Milton Park, for instance, that have litter lying in the vicinity that goes uncollected over many months. The children don’t seem to be taught the values of a clean environment. This is a sign of national decay.
Politics of patronage
Russian leader Vladimir Putin, while seen by many as a blustery dictator, can nevertheless hit the right targets when he needs to, according to the New York Times, in an article carried by the Sunday Times.
Conceding in a lengthy interview that the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych regime in the Ukraine was ousted because of rampant corruption, he volunteered the following: “Why are Ukrainians demanding radical change? Because they have grown used to seeing one set of thieves replaced by another.”
Then there are the politics of patronage.
According to a series of well-documented reports published by opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, Putin has at his disposal 20 villas and homes, four yachts and a palace on the Black Sea that would have aroused the envy of Louis XIV.
We enjoyed this extract from an interview between the South African communications minister Yunus Carrim and Chris Barron of the Sunday Times:
“Does it not concern you that the person in charge of an organisation with a R4,7 billion turnover (the SABC) doesn’t have matric?”
The minister’s reply: “That was an interim decision taken by a previous board.”
“But, does it not concern you?”
“It is the board that takes ultimate responsibility for the SABC.
“I have to act within the law.
“There’s a long history of ministerial interference in state-owned enterprises including the SABC.”
“Don’t you have a responsibility to act when the board is wasting taxpayers’ money?”
“Yes, obviously but right now that board is processing a report (the public protector’s report to the chief state law advisor on what it is appropriate for a minister to do legally).”
“Have you wondered why the former chairman altered the requirements to accommodate him?”
“I don’t know the answer.”
“Because someone politically-powerful wanted him in that position?”
“I’ve told you I don’t know. I hear these things, but as a politician, I’ve heard many things. Exactly, what is correct and what isn’t is difficult to tell in these challenging circumstances.”
Compare that with Tazzen Mandizvidza’s interview with President Mugabe.
Sick of infighting
‘A pox on both your houses.”
Shakespeare’s memorable line in Romeo and Juliet has a present-day application. Muckraker is sick of the internecine warfare going on in the MDC-T. The opposition parties have a duty to offer the nation an alternative agenda and better performance than the ruling elite.
They are not doing that. Instead they are passionate about fighting each other. It is not only irresponsible, it is unedifying as well. We have not heard what passes for a single policy over the past few weeks. So, as the country tips into the abyss, there is no party to rescue us beyond the hopelessly dysfunctional MDC-T which is interested only in its internal strife.
Morgan Tsvangirai, Elton Mangoma and Tendai Biti, in God’s name, abandon the politics of ambition and serve the nation. Tsvangirai must not preside over yet another MDC split. Never again will you be asked to face a challenge such as this. Don’t blow it.
Muckraker needs to draw to the Harare mayor’s attention the incredibly dangerous concrete islands dotted around the city’s roads. The most dangerous of these is the one where the hanging tree used to be in the middle of Josiah Tongogara Ave near fourth.
Any driver who is not familiar with the city is likely to hit this pile of concrete and the consequences are immense. This is a major hazard which the city fathers seem oblivious to. They should fix it before there is a serious accident here.
Is this asking for too much?
Perhaps we should mention in passing the recent loss of an air force officer who, judging by an Air Force of Zimbabwe statement, had been the beneficiary of huge investments in training.
So in addition to the personal loss to the family which is sad enough, is the loss to the country. He was killed at 4am while driving along the Airport Road. The lesson should be obvious. Driving at night on these bad roads is dangerous. Another sign of national rot.