Zanu PF and its supporters can always be relied upon to say something daft.
A couple of weeks ago we reported that Registrar-Gerneral Tobaiwa Mudede had declared that Zimbabweans should stop using contraceptives “religiously”.
We are not sure if that is a reference to habit or to Catholic thought. But like many Zimbabwean zealots of one kind or another, Mudede is falling behind the times.
Pope Francis, while not endorsing the systematic use of contraceptives, has indicated a much more relaxed approach to this subject that simply reflects a fait-accompli.
Much of the church’s congregation in Europe are no longer bothered by the church’s teaching on this matter — and nor is the Pope!
But along comes Mudede and broadcasts his antediluvian opinion on the subject as if Zimbabweans will be guided by somebody who has difficulty running his own office.
Mudede should concentrate on improving standards at the Passport Office than lecturing us what to do in the religious domain.
When by the way will the Makombe Building be ready for inauguration? And why has it taken so long to get it finished?
Boot out politicians
Another field of activity that needs attention is Air Zimbabwe.
The airline is flying to Johannesburg and back with a handful of passengers.
We keep reminding the airline that it needs to establish a technical partner, but this would of course reduce the scope for patronage and executive interference.
The first thing KLM did when taking a stake in Kenya Airways was to boot out the politicians.
Can Cde Obert Mpofu be relied upon to undertake some root-and-branch surgery at the “flag carrier”?
By the way, does Zimbabwe really need a larger population?
How would Mudede and his governing class cope with the demand for better hospitals, clinics, roads, water supplies, and schools.
There used to be a regular bus service by Zupco between the suburbs and the city. What happened to that?
We hope somebody is measuring what has been supplied to date against what was promised last year and publishing any discrepancies.
The land audit is underway we gather, but there have already been reports of “undeserving” people benefiting, underutilisation of land, children as young as 10 exercising ownership, and “mix-ups” of names.
Land reform should be a professional and non-partisan process. But it’s a dog’s breakfast here.
If the EU is to assist, it should first ensure the ill-gotten gains of Zimbabwe’s political elite are rectified. And let’s hear no more silly declarations from Mudede on population growth which we suspect he barely understands.
We should remember that EU states are accountable to their parliaments. That means accountable to their tax-payers.
No doubt the EU ambassadors in Harare will file reports of the ranting in the Herald this week that will prove seriously counter-productive.
Having denounced Western news agencies, the paper said it was now time to “fight back”.
Reference was made to the “bashing” of Zimbabwe in the international media. But no mention of the president approving the bashing of Morgan Tsvangirai and other MDC officials at Highfield police station in 2007.
Sadc heads of state were appalled by that episode and we hope they will not demonstrate the supine indifference they did after last year’s election.
Zanu PF is still pretending there were no discrepancies in that exercise.
The president was at a G-77 meeting in Bolivia last week. It was one of those useless shindigs that the president and his followers are particularly fond of.
As the Daily News pointed out, Mugabe had more serious matters to attend to at home which he was studiously ignoring.
Meanwhile, the Herald was threatening all sorts of dire consequences for those Western countries that continue to support sanctions.
The Herald seems to think Zimbabwe has choices in dealing with its critics.
“Fight back” was the facile motif of the hardliners in Monday’s Herald editorial.
In fact it has very few options left and what we are seeing now is a return to the bad old politics of the pre-election era where threats and braggadocio substitute for policy.
Zanu PF doesn’t appear to understand that the bad name it complains about is entirely self-generated. Stop behaving badly and the economic floodgates will open.
Couldn’t be simpler could it? On the other hand, go ahead and demand restitution and see where it gets you.
What do readers feel about the policy of blurring people’s faces and places in news clips by the BBC, CNN etc to protect them from embarrassment or other problems?
What they do in such situations is to mask the news they should be disclosing.
Obviously children and other vulnerable people such as those in court cases need protection, but it has now got to the stage where every bulletin carries some clip or other with blurring of number plates or people’s faces which are not altogether justified.
After all, they are news broadcasters with a story to tell.
Blurring is a relatively recent development.
This week Ross Atkins told us that they couldn’t carry some pictures from Iraq because they were too “gruesome”. Is he a journalist or not? Should he be protecting us from news that is too “gruesome”?
I don’t want the BBC to protect me from unpalatable news. Obviously news editors must use their judgement. But things have got out of hand in many studios where viewers are actually denied the news because the editing is so heavy.
Having said that, nothing could be sillier than the American 555 which pops up in programmes as a generic for a real phone number!