What is it about President Mugabe that he has terrible difficulty saying the right thing.
Show him a platform and he will very quickly find something offensive to say about his subjects.
Poor old Jonathan Moyo had to do some political footwork this week to “clarify” Mugabe’s ill-considered remarks about Kalangas. The president had to be reminded that Joshua Nkomo grew up among the same stock as those he was abusing.
But despite Moyo’s unconvincing intervention, the debate rumbled on at exactly the time that Mugabe was strutting upon the international stage as African Union and Sadc chair.
It would be interesting to know what they privately think of a ruler who cultivates racism and tribalism when he should be eliminating them and pours scorn on an important minority calling them “uneducated thieves”.
But the problem persists.
Mugabe knows perfectly well that whites were buried in the Pioneer Cemetery long before he came along. But that didn’t stop him from claiming “(whites) even bury their dead among us”.
This can be related to his remarks in South Africa recently that he didn’t want to see any white faces among journalists who were present at a walkabout in Soweto.
Moyo was obliged to interview himself in order to counter Mugabe’s maladroit remarks about Kalangas. But then Moyo was unfortunately closing the stable door when the horse had already bolted.
The remarks in question were made against the backdrop of unsubstantiated allegations that horrific xenophobic attacks in South Africa were because governments in the region were allegedly pushing their citizens into South Africa. President Mugabe corrected this, Moyo said.
“There was a related allegation,” Moyo said, “that the Zimbabweans in South Africa are involved in serious crimes, as if that would justify the xenophobic attacks.
“Again President Mugabe corrected this.”
Did he, or did he stoke the fire? It very soon opportunistically became a story about how Mugabe had lifted the standard of education.
“So what the president said is a commonplace stereotype,” commented Moyo.
“It should be said that stating, recalling or highlighting a stereotype is not at all the same as endorsing or recommending it.”
Many would say that in fact heads of state should not be endorsing or even highlighting egregious racist or tribal remarks. Their duty is to enlighten public opinion. What does Sadc and the AU make of all this?
The headline “Chimene takes Mutasa farm” in the Herald on Monday says it all.
The land reform programme has become a corrupt help-yourself land grab in which chefs scramble for benefits.
The story of how Mutasa has lost Mona Agro farm to another high ranking official, Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Manditawepi Chimeni, is symptomatic of the decadent process that now governs every facet of land “reform”.
Chimene has been swiftly followed by another grab, this time by Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Shuvai Mahofa, who the Herald says is eyeing 60 000 ha for cattle ranching by the party in Masvingo.
We suspect she knows as much about ranching as she does about any other activity. We recall her telling the president at the time of her appointment she had no particular skills. That seemed to be a recommendation for him!
The closed CSC plant in Masvingo used to be one of the biggest beef processors in Zimbabwe with about 400 beasts slaughtered daily. The plant is now lying idle.
It is a story that is all too familiar.
Will Mahofa make a difference? Don’t hold your breath.
Our readers reported a very reduced police presence on the roads during the recently ended Sadc summit. They were all but invisible.
Could this have been a rather misleading statement that Zimbabwe is not a police state as the international press insists?
But there is not much point advertising a squeaky clean image when journalists disappear. And there was Hifa projecting the best of Zimbabwean culture when the security apparatus was doing the opposite. But, it must be said, official intrusion was not so pronounced this year.
We see a similar situation when the Herald publishes a story saying the government has “lamented the unemployment rate”.
Is it possible to create a disaster and then regret its occurrence? Now the Herald wants us to believe that the “Media’s Kalanga claims cannot stand scrutiny”.
This is too daft for words. Is the Herald editor unaware that it was the president who launched the Kalanga claims that the Herald and other media apologists are currently desperately scrambling to back-pedal over?
How many readers recall the battle Strive Masiyiwa had to go through in the courts to establish his right to operate a cellular phone service? Now Telecel finds itself in a similar predicament.
In both cases the state is impinging on their right to provide a modern phone service that will enhance the economy’s performance. But enhancing the economy’s performance is evidently not what the government sees as its business. Here we see the possible collapse of another vibrant business, part of the general collapse of business taking place —with Zanu PF’s help — around the country.
Meanwhile Temba Mli-swa has said he would relinquish his Springvale Farm in Karoi this week. His workers had been beaten by party yobs he said and his crops harvested.
What goes around comes around it seems. What were the circumstances in which the farm was acquired?
And Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo launched a scathing attack on Mliswa accusing him of peddling falsehoods through the media concerning the torture of villagers taking place in Hurungwe West.
Chombo alleged that Mliswa was with the headmen who were reportedly tortured by Zanu PF thugs. Seemingly doubling as the police commisssioner-general, Chombo declared Mliswa was supposed to be arrested for blackmailing Zanu PF.
But why is Chombo and the war veterans minister Chris Mutsvangwa so interested in the constituency? Are they not afraid the ruling party will lose to the former MP? Are they also suggesting there is no violence perpetrated by Zanu PF in Hurungwe West?
Suddenly Chombo has the powers to declare the arrest of a candidate vying for the same post as the ruling party’s candidate? Isn’t this a violation of Mliswa and any other citizen’s democratic right to belong to a party of his or her choice? Anyway it’s now apparent Zanu PF will not allow free and fair elections.