Somebody at the Sunday Mail obviously got their knuckles well and truly rapped for daring to suggest that the proposed review of the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme was a climb-down.
The paper, regarded as slavishly loyal to the Mugabe regime, boldly declared on Sunday that the government was reviewing its empowerment regime in order to make the country more attractive to foreign investors.
Far from being a climb-down, the Mail declared that the indigenisation drive was actually an intensification of the programme.
Having received this green light, the paper went to great lengths to suggest the government was in the process of clarifying the policy.
But things appear to have changed overnight. “Consider it a triumph of pragmatism over mindless radicalism,” the Herald obediently declared on Monday.
A front page story on Monday, obviously inspired by ministers and party hacks, explained that indigenisation was still a major ingredient of the party’s programmes.
This was followed by the usual Zanu PF claptrap about 51% equity and at what point it kicks in.
Does Zanu PF know what direction it is going in when government-newspaper editors state an investment-friendly policy one day and a reversal the next?
This is exactly what investors complain about — inconsistencies in policy and departure from the regional norms that have brought prosperity to Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia. Why must Zimbabwe be the odd man out, driven by party zealots determined to keep their heads buried in the sand.
We had a good example of this over the weekend when Didymus Mutasa thought he would give journalists a piece of his mind.
He said he didn’t want them commenting on the president’s health.
So here we have a senior party apparatchik declaring the function of journalists is not to hold politicians accountable or to comment on their ability to govern the country, but instead presumably to confine themselves to praise-singing. The outcome of this lickspittle policy is evident all around us.
A country that has broken down.
In the 1960s and 70s Mutasa used to enjoy considerable respect for his work at Cold Comfort Farm and enlightened political values. Now when you mention his name people just laugh and shake their heads. This is what happens when the powerful run riot.
Applause for despots
On this score, the Zimbabwean state media have been ecstatic over the reception President Mugabe received at President Jacob Zuma’s inauguration.
Let’s hope this wasn’t applause for Mugabe’s record although similarities with Zuma are hard to resist. And Grace was all smiles in Pretoria. But not on their arrival at the Gleneagles Clinic in Singapore a few days earlier.
She was in her angry mood there telling journalists they had no right to film the president’s arrival. “No! No! No! No!” she admonished. “You should not take photos.”
Don’t we recall encounters of this sort before? Grace clearly regards the media as a mortal enemy.
As for the polite applause the Mugabes received in Pretoria, didn’t most of the other heads of state receive the same treatment? But you can bet your bottom dollar the Mugabes broke all speed records to be in Pretoria in time for the inauguration.
They weren’t going to miss that photo opportunity at any price! And we should bear in mind that many of the leaders who received applause at the inauguration were the usual gang of regional despots who gave Zimbabwe a clean bill of health in July 2013.
Which brings us to the report of judges Khampepe and Moseneke on Zimbabwe’s 2002 presidential election. It was commissioned by President Thabo Mbeki and then disappeared.
The presidency’s original copy has now mysteriously turned up, according to the Mail & Guardian. Stringent measures are being taken to ensure the safety of the document and we should know its contents by the end of the year.
Off the mark
Morgan Tsvangirai has denied reports he “is as fit as a fiddle”. His spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said he was resting on doctor’s orders. So claims that he is “fit as a fiddle” when his spokesperson says he is resting on doctor’s orders are clearly wide of the mark.
Finally, Muckraker is intrigued by the hats African heads of state are wearing nowadays. Leading the pack is Goodluck Jonathan, President of Nigeria. Given events in his country over the past few months, the best we can say is that he is a victim of circumstances. He certainly hasn’t had much luck.
Muckraker’s question: Does the hat ever come off?
Then there is Yoweri Museveni of Uganda who has transformed from being a well-liked and progressive army officer to being a typical African tyrant.
Would anybody describe him as progressive today?
Then we see President Salva Kiir of South Sudan who seems to have borrowed one of Goodluck’s hats.
He has decided it is no fun being No 2 and he would rather be head of state. So he is quite prepared to destroy his country in the process.
Meanwhile, just as Goodluck Jonathan and Museveni were setting themselves up as the continent’s leading homophobes, Zuma, in one of the few major gestures he has made in line with the South African constitution, has appointed a gay minister to his over-crowded government.
We wonder if it was still “all smiles” in Pretoria for our visiting presidential couple!
SHORT AND SWEET
Credibility of observers in Malawi elections questioned
The credibility, reputation and integrity of some observers who assessed the conduct ot the first ever tripartite elections in Malawi between May 20 and 23, 2014, may have been irreparably damaged following serious errors of assessment of the electoral process.
While the EU said in its preliminary report that voting was done amidst considerable organisational shortcomings, Sadc and Africa Union (AU) election observers surprisingly endorsed the elections as being free and fair.
Some of the alleged irregularities included discarded and tampered with ballot papers being found at polling stations, officers signing for results for different polling centres and number of voters far exceeding the number of actual registered voters, among others. Mec s decision to listen to Malawi is commendable.
It is this kind of boldness, self-confidence, sense of purpose and sense of direction displayed by Mec to order a recount of votes that will positively shape Malawi in pursuit of rapid social, political and economic development.
The so called observers were a disgrace and deterrent to Africa’s democratisation process.
The Malawi High court also displyed professionalism by not allowing Joyce Banda to nullify elections.