It has been an interesting few weeks for China following President Mugabe’s visit.
We have heard so much about its leadership and their achievements that were dazzling.
But the impact has been diminished somewhat by events in Hong Kong. They have been overshadowed by the demands for democratic change and the right to choose their own leaders by Hong Kong’s civil society. And that sector is growing exponentially.
It is unusual for Hong Kong riot police to bash demonstrators as they did in baton charges last week.
This week demonstrators came out in their thousands to mark the anniversary of the 1997 handover from Britain.
They want a democratic agreement that will enable Hong Kong people to choose their own leaders. An article in NewsDay this week reported that “dozens of Chinese firms are producing and exporting “tools of torture”.
Amnesty was the first to carry the report. Needless to say the response was that Amnesty International was biased against China.
It was interesting to see many demonstrators carrying Union Jacks and not the flag China gave them in 2007. But President Mugabe and his wife were not shown the dramatic progress made in the Special Democratic Region (Hong Kong).
Then there were the Chinese colonies that were not exposed to presidential scrutiny. Tibet was not allowed to demonstrate its achievements, nor was Hong Kong. The Uigher people were also given short shrift.
The US ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton was correct in saying the country had the capacity to turn its economy around if it chose to do so. “Like China” we could say.
So we had a state visit in which very little was imparted and good advice lost on the visitors.
It is worth asking whether in all the triumphant achievements that we hear regarding the president’s visit to China what we actually learnt? What about fast trains for instance? Don’t we recall the president promising a Chitungwiza line called the freedom train? What happened to that?
Needless to say, there was an election pending.
China now has fast trains equal to those of France and China traversing the country. It also has a wide range of vehicles, many bought from Indian companies.
Just 10 years ago Beijing’s streets were clogged full of people on bicycles.
Now they are in BMWs and Jeep Cherokees. They are the product of a successful economy.But none of the motor scooters one sees in Ho Chi Minh City (once Saigon). They are the great levellers.
And their new best friends? The Americans. How ironic!
Talking of best friends, we were disappointed to read that Billy Donnoly has been a sore loser. He is being less than generous to the supporters of the union.
These losers such as Sean Connery should wind in their necks, instead of threatening all sorts of things just because they couldn’t make it at the polls. We were however pleased to see Alex Salmond lost his own seat in Aberdeen.
He couldn’t understand why. Perhaps being an arrogant son …had something to do with it!
The state broadcaster ZBC announced last week that gatherings to welcome President Robert Mugabe from foreign trips had become a norm and Zanu PF had plans to continue doing so.
Crowds thronged the Harare International Airport to cheer Mugabe as he returned from China where government had signed nine deals with the Asian country, while they did the same when the president came back from a UN summit held in the US last week.
Desperately seeking to conjure up an image that the ruling Zanu PF has a strong backing of the masses, the people who are often bused to the airport for fear of victimisation or otherwise, are not a representative of the thoughts of the multitudes whose lives have been decimated by a poor governance system instituted by Mugabe and his cronies in government.
Like what other dictators do, especially the former president of Zaire, now DRC, Mobutu Sese Seko, who thrived on manipulating citizens, Mugabe must understand that dancing and praise-sing for him will not transform the lives of the marginalised poor who are yearning for a better country, not empty promises.
Shouting slogans and wearing party regalia while lining up pavements of the airport cannot make Zimbabwe a democracy — rather it worsens the archaic political mindset dominating the corridors of power in Zanu PF.
Zanu PF’s greedy stalwarts have always shown they thrive on disembowelling the weak; hence some corrupt officials in the party must be reaping much from those unnecessary and void gatherings that have become so fashionable to blinkered supporters.
What’s the reason for crowding the airport as if Mugabe would have brought solutions to the problems he would have left at home? What was the purpose of trying to replicate the thunderous welcome he received at Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield when he came back from Mozambique in 1980 as liberation movements prepared for elections.
The developments exhibit political deficiency and foolery handicapping Zanu PF — a party that has run out of ideas and now needs praise-singing to keep it afloat. Dignified leadership comes with policy implementation, not praise-singing. Shameful!
Fissures continue to widen in Zanu PF as party officials continue to throw mud at each other.
The seemingly unstoppable disintegration along factional lines has seen Hurungwe West MP Temba Mliswa this week throwing missiles at Information minister Jonathan Moyo and Environment minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
Only last week former RBZ governor Gideon Gono had alleged he was a victim of factionalism when Zec announced he could not contest the senatorial seat in Manicaland as he was not a registered voter there.
So interesting is the plot, but will this have hypnotic effects to the highly-taxed workers; will this be a boon for a new industrial revolution and will this yield enough remedy to the majority who are dying from curable illnesses in government hospitals and clinics?
Accusations and counter-accusation can divert the attention of the media and the masses from real issues affecting the people, but the movie script reads: No solutions yet.
The tension witnessed in the ruling party today is a common scenario. When any leader overstays in power and believes he is infallible, he or she risks opposition from within his/her political party.
Mugabe must not be amused by the discord ripping the Zanu PF apart.
It’s a normal development necessitated by his lack of will to pave way for other leaders. There seems to be no hope the warring groups will reach a truce, infighting will escalate as long as the succession issue remains shrouded in mystery.
Newsday on Wednesday had a headline; Sanyati schools grapple with 0% pass rate. The article indicated that many schools in the district had teachers whose qualifications did not match what they were teaching to pupils.
The rot in the education system in the area is no amusement considering most marginalised areas hardly have qualified teachers. Some are accorded the teacher in-charge tag when they would have attended no teacher training college.
So common and normalised in schools located in the country’s peripheries that it would be foolhardy to expect colourful results from pupils.
That is exactly what Education minister Lazarus Dokora should be focused on, finding time to consult stakeholders in his ministry and find solutions to redress the rot in the education sector that is continuing unabated.
Sadly most of the youngsters in such areas end up shunning education, preferring to be illegal gold panners. Government must reorient and redeem fortunes of the brilliant students in rural schools.
With no textbooks to read, no teachers, no infrastructure, that really is a mammoth task and Muckraker wonders how this could be made possible when government bigwigs are on a spree to plunder and loot while neglecting the poor.