So President Robert Mugabe thinks US President Barack Obama is scared of him? Americans have imposed sanctions and refused to invite him to meetings because they are afraid of him, he says.
Muckraker doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Obama scared of Mugabe? Really?
Speaking at his rural home at Zvimba, Mugabe said all white people still remaining in the country should go back to England.
“The West prefers a weak leader who they hope will allow the whites to come back,” he says.
“They think if they intimidate us we will be cowed and allow the whites to come back. That will never happen.”
So who is being intimidated here?
And what about the whites who don’t come from England? South Africans and others? Must they give up the work of a lifetime simply because of the colour of their skin? Isn’t that precisely the sort of racism that freedom fighters fought against in the 1950s and 60s?
And what of the Zimbabweans who have bought properties in the UK and other countries? Must they abandon them? Can you imagine the outcry crude discrimination of that sort would provoke in civilised countries?
It’s a shame that someone who was a victim of racism and fought against it like Mugabe is now a virulent racist. Racial and ethnic prejudice are now tragically part of Mugabe’s legacy.
But Mugabe must know that judging someone by the colour of their skin, their tribe or origin (remember his totemless people affront) is a sign of poisonous ignorance and bigotry. Their skin complexion, surname or place of origin has nothing to do with their morals, beliefs, intelligence or humanity.
As Kofi Annan once said: “Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated.”
And Mugabe doesn’t tell his captive rural audience that those being dispossessed have conformed to the legislation that says they must first offer their farms to the government before selling them? A certificate of “no current interest” was needed.
Mugabe also warned against contract farming, going into partnerships with whites. So it’s not about land-use and production, but colour.
You would think that in this crisis where skilled farmers are a godsend, that the government would go out of its way to keep people on the land. But no, farmers have fallen victim to Mugabe’s damaging policies. But Zimbabweans are invited to Zambia, Mozambique and Nigeria to share their skills with those countries. Did Mugabe’s Zvimba audience know that?
Well, Obama is not afraid of Mugabe, of course. But he might be afraid of Mugabe’s misrule and economic sabotage which have impoverished a once prosperous nation, sending millions into economic exile.
The whole point of Sadc cultivating a Zimbabwe coalition in 2009 was to prevent Mugabe discouraging policies that impacted on his neighbours, particularly South Africa.
“We can’t give figures at the moment, but maybe after three or so years we can give figures of how many people would have benefited.”
Three years? And what are they going to do in the meantime?
The local press seems unaware that our esteemed leader has been disclosing his salary to those who think he is overpaid.
He was one of the poorest in terms of salary, he told the BBC. In fact, he earned less than any other president or prime minister in the region, he claimed.
“I am earning US$4 000 just now because of the hard times,” he said. “Because of the hard times this is what we decided on, that we should recognise the hard times at the moment.”
But before anyone rushes to congratulate him on his sacrifice, the Sunday Times’ Hogarth column chipped in, let us remember who it was who put the Zimbabwe economy in its sorry state in the first place.
Then there was Grace Mugabe addressing chiefs — who joined the bandwagon of congratulating and singing praises for her on her plunge into active politics — claiming her husband was the “poorest president” in the world, while she alleged to be a “modest queen”.
Upon reading this, Muckraker was reminded of Lincoln’s famous quote: “You can fool some people all the time, and all the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.”
Role of press
An editorial carried in the Herald on Monday provided a useful insight into the regime’s apparatchiks thinking on the role of the press.
“We have never, do not and will never subscribe to promoting divisions in Zanu PF or any other political party,” the paper declared.
This is ridiculous; everybody knows the opposite is true.
The Herald also claimed to be “a paper of record” (God help us!). The paper also says it holds no brief for anyone, but goes on to say it has a mandate to defend Mugabe, the Zanu PF government and security forces, etc. Who wrote that editorial full of such glaring contradictions and preposterous claims?
Anyway, why do they continue to refer to abductions in Zanu PF long after the police described that story as false? Is that being a paper of record?
At the same time the Herald talks about rigging of elections in the Youth League without giving context. Doesn’t Zanu PF also rig national elections and shouldn’t that be reported?
Rugare Gumbo views the Herald as the party’s paper and therefore complaints about divisions which the Herald claims they don’t promote. But they are certainly not impartial in covering Zanu PF or any other party.
We recall Gideon Gono complaining when Mugabe toured his farm some months ago that he was blacklisted — showing how state media work.
The Herald can’t claim they have never cultivated divisions in Zanu PF or any other party. The attack on Vice-President Joice Mujuru recently appears to have been inspired by infighting.
Chris Mutsvangwa’s interview about Mujuru was unprecedented as it only came after recent pronouncements about Grace coming into the political frame.
Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa was described as a “dwarf in giant robes”. They were all not given the right of reply.
“We are not in the business of public relations,” the Herald complains. In fact, they are worse. They are political commissars and their coverage of Grace is a case in point. She can’t put a foot wrong.
The Herald’s claim that it is “fair and non-propagandistic” will be greeted as amusing in informed circles.
“We have never attacked the president who always walks the straight and narrow,” the paper says.
Is Mugabe infallible?
So does that mean the president is infallible?
Monday’s editorial was a reaction to protests by senior party officials who for many years believed the Herald was their paper which is now attacking them.
It’s really none of Muckraker’s business to say but the editorial was a poor attempt at deception on a grand scale, but the unintended consequences of it were that the paper’s deceit was laid bare in the process. Tough luck, try harder next time, comrades.