There is always a measure of amusement in Nathaniel Manheru’s column on a Saturday morning.
With final results trickling in, he said last weekend, the ANC was set to win overwhelmingly “albeit falling short of the two thirds majority it needs to change the constitution”.
For that it has to look up north to Zanu PF, its sister liberation movement which secured that outcome in the July 2013 plebiscite. The ANC has done South Africa proud, he claimed.
Manheru’s posturing is not helpful at all. In fact, Manheru just doesn’t get it. As Nelson Mandela said, the relationship between elections, a constitution and freedom is rather complex.
“The truth is that we are not yet free; we have merely achieved the freedom to be free, the right not to be oppressed. We have not taken the final step of our journey, but the first step on a longer and even more difficult road. For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
Contrary to Manheru’s claims, South Africa has not taken inspiration from the ANC.
The ANC’s vote marginally declined in the election. The Democratic Alliance increased its standing. It consolidated its position in the Western Cape — both in its scope and depth. The ANC support plunged in Gauteng.
“We turn next to Frelimo which too must win,” Manheru proclaimed.
He talks of Quisling politics and occasional jolts which fall short of fatalities.
What nonsense. Zuma didn’t do as well as hoped. That is the beginning and end of the matter.
As for “sister movements”, Zanu PF’s “sister” movement was the PAC, not the ANC. And the PAC was crushed in this election and its now dead and buried. It is sad to see Robert Sobukwe’s legacy wiped out in this way.
Hifa’s exhausting schedule must have left its executives traumatised this week.
Not only did they have to endure a hectic schedule but they had to face the hostility of the regime’s functionaries who thought their job was to keep people out, not let them in.
And the grounds for this antediluvian behaviour? Some innocent remarks in an ad a few years ago by the Afro Pop band FreshlyGround.
The band did not have the necessary documents for entry at Harare airport, principal director of Immigration Clement Masango told readers of the Zimbabwe Mail.
“The truth of the matters is,” Masango claimed, “Hifa organisers were fully aware of the decision by Immigration and appear to have entertained a false and misplaced hope of a chance for an eleventh-hour intervention and possible arm-twisting of the department of Immigration.”
As FreshlyGround said, it looks Harare authorities who lack a sense of humour are still angry over the group’s satirical song about Mugabe.
Can you imagine the whole apparatus of the state being used against a small band of musicians and then pretending to be the hurt party?
Last week Muckraker warned that this episode would cause irreparable damage to Zimbabwe’s reputation. And sure enough it has given the artists in question a whole new audience.
We should mention in all fairness several ministers, especially those concerned with tourism, tried to put things straight, and did their best to rectify this maladroit situation but others simply disappeared from sight.
They ran when a senior official helpfully dropped the word “security”.
This of course raises the question of who was pulling the strings. And why shouldn’t the organisers have hoped for an eleventh-hour intervention?
As it is, the song at the centre of the row has been getting 18 000 downloads a day.
It is pity because when they left Johannesburg they were full of hope and goodwill towards Zimbabwe. You can imagine what they will say to fellow musicians as well as fans. And all because in Zimbabwe satirising the president is not allowed.
Masango tried to defend the indefensible in his Zimbabwe Mail article on Wednesday, showcasing his ignorance on satire.
Let’s see how the ridiculous Rio Carnival shapes up — on the Zimbabwe highveld. The promoters actually approached the Hifa team to run the show for them.
You can imagine what their response was! Once agents of the regime start talking security it becomes a freedom of expression issue. And nobody wants to be seen dealing with that.
“Hifa’s application (for FreshlyGround) was rejected and a “No” has always been an answer,” Masango said, clearly ignorant of how bands work.
Meanwhile we were amused by appeals from Joseph Chinotimba to send the army to Nigeria to hunt down the Boko Haram hostage takers.
Does anybody recall a Zanla raid on St Albert’s mission in Mt Darwin in July 1973 which saw pupils being marched into Mozambique by Zanla forces? Evidently Chinotimba doesn’t!
Still on Boko Haram, Muckracker would like to pass his most sincere condolences to the ruling party on the death last week of Mberengwa warlord Wilson Biggie Chitoro who used Boko Haram tactics to keep Zanu PF in power through a fierce campaign of terror. But his victims and their relatives will never forget!