There appears to be some sort of competition going on in the state media to see who can produce the most fawning edition.
There was no contest last Sunday as the Sunday Mail published an obsequious article headed “President Mugabe is the pride of Africa”, and if that wasn’t enough another headed “President feels the love in Mali” appeared on the same page.
Both were monstrous puff pieces filed from Bamako, Mali, praising Mugabe to the rooftops.
The culprit was the Mail’s Morris Mkwate, a usually sober reporter who clearly got carried away on this occasion.
Recalling the inauguration of Zambia’s new president, Mkwate refers to “obscure opposition somnambulists busy protesting Mugabe’s presence on the eve of Zambia’s presidential inauguration”.
At the same time over 40 000 other Zambians embraced him, we are told, “making him their own like a son who has strayed from home for far too long earning himself stockpiles of compensatory love which duly came in bounteous proportions at Heroes Stadium”.
Yuk! Please pass the sick bag.
In April 2015, Mkwate says, Mugabe’s name hardly escaped the lips of the most venomous critics in South Africa as he charmed them, “effortlessly turning them into gourds of sweet-smelling prose”.
This sort of hero-worshipping and praise-singing, coming from a journalist as it does, is hilarious, if not tragic.
It was downhill all the way from there. President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita described his Zimbabwean counterpart as the “true pride of Africa”.
“Above all President Mugabe is for us the true pride of Africa. So it was very important for me, I was moved.”
It is not clear where he was moved to, but this is where he said he came with the weight of the African Union.
Did the African Union know they were part of somebody’s election campaign we wonder?
The line-up at Harare airport upon the president’s return included war veterans, war collaborators, political detainees and restrictees, welfare services and service chiefs, among others.
Mkwate’s piece was headed “President feels the love in Mali”.
Mugabe is now a tourist in his own country since he is always away these days gallivanting while the country burns.
Since returning from his annual holidays in Singapore in January this year, the gallivanting Robert Mugabe has made over 10 foreign trips; crisscrossing the continent and the world from Zimbabwe to South Africa, Zambia, Ethiopia, Algeria, Tanzania, Singapore, United Arab Emirates (Dubai), Japan, Namibia, Indonesia, Russia, Mali and now Botswana.
All the while Zimbabwe’s economy is burning, with companies closing down or de-industrialisation gathering momentum on a massive scale, while people are being retrenched at an alarming rate. When you add everything up, Mugabe is guilty of criminal dereliction of duty.
On the same page was a piece on a new code of conduct for VPs and ministers. Muckraker’s question: What happened to the last code?
We liked the picture of President Putin greeting South African President Jacob Zuma at the Kremlin in Moscow last week.
It was interesting for Zimbabwean readers because an almost identical picture of President Mugabe being received by Putin had been published in the state press.
We were told what a unique and special experience that was accompanied by huge business deals. It will be interesting to see just how big those deals turn out to be. And by the way, everybody got the Putin treatment.
Mugabe has been on his travels again. This time Botswana was the focus of his attentions. But, it turned out, this was a Sadc tour in which he planted a tree in the garden of the Sadc headquarters and then met with Sadc executive secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax.
Muckraker’s view: the last thing Zimbabweans want is another tax. Mugabe and Dr Tax must remember that. Let’s hope they didn’t discuss new taxes.
Talking of taxes, government will starting this year introduce a US$3 rental per hectare and US$2 unit tax per hectare annually on land held by new farmers who are beneficiaries of the violent and chaotic land seizures since 2000. Is this about raising money to compensate displaced farmers, a way of grabbing back land from those with vast tracts of under-utilised or derelict farms or a back door way of raising funds by a broke government?
Do readers remember the Chinese development next to the National Sports stadium? Visiting dignatories were asked to plant a tree in the adjoining wetland. But last year Environment minister Walter Mzembi said projects such as the Long Chen Plaza took priority over “small animals”. Nothing would be allowed to get in the way of the project, he said.
So much for Mugabe’s tree planting charades.
Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa labelled Zimasco an appendage of the MDC when addressing party supporters at Mbizo stadium on Monday.
He decried the closure of the iron and steel company, while celebrating that its death was a result of the demise of the opposition MDC. He seems to forget that even the so-called Zanu PF die-hards are as well suffering from the closure of Zimasco which during the period of economic boom employed thousands in Kwekwe and its surroundings.
What’s wiser, to have MDC-aligned companies employing millions or having firms sympathetic to the ruling party closing on a daily basis and throwing hordes of workers onto the streets?
Mnangagwa’s short-sighted focus on political power fails to realise that political clout without economic recovery is doomed.
Is Mnangagwa economically illiterate like Mugabe or not?
The same Mnangagwa lost twice to MDC-T legislator Blessing Chebundo until he relinquished his hope of representing a constituency in Kwekwe to find solace in rural Chirumanzu.
If he were as powerful as he wants us to believe, why wouldn’t he fight tooth and nail to retain his former seat in Kwekwe urban?
Isn’t it that the electorate realised he had nothing to offer except threatening voters, repeatedly telling them he was trained to kill? The truth rearing its ugly head in his face is that Kwekwe’s business prospects will remain subdued without Zisco Steel, Zimasco and Sable Chemicals.
That is the news we want to hear from the government — what are they doing to resuscitate the companies to maximise productivity and create jobs for the suffering residents of Kwekwe?
It remains retrogressive to vote Zanu PF and fuel the looting of gold by Zanu PF stalwarts without developing the town and the country at large.
Mnangagwa and his party have nothing to offer, hence they should keep quiet rather than continue to fool the masses.
Mouthful Zanu PF Gokwe-Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena told his supporters on Sunday that they should refuse aid with strings attached to them.
This he said to people who are being devoured by hunger and drought. Why should villagers be intimidated to refuse food aid when they have nothing to eat and when the ruling party is failing to meet the basic needs of its citizens?
Anyway, by the way did Wadyajena finally resolve his messy maintenance row?