Political demagogues not answer to Africa’s woes

Some dubious statements emerging last week caught our attention. Here’s one from the Herald: “Africa urged to emulate Zimbabawe”.

MUCKRAKER

When you have finished laughing let us know. The outfit that propagated this nonsense is called the Worldwide Family of God and is headed by our old friend Andrew Wutawunashe. We had a few contretemps with him many years ago. He proved a dedicated Mugabe affiliate even then.

This time round the message is roughly the same. “Apostle Wutawunashe said the present-day travails of Africa — poverty, involuntary dangerous displacements — blood conflicts among Africa’s poor were an indication of trouble for blacks for room and opportunity in a world in which economic and exclusion of black people had been engineered by other powerful races over the years.”

In other words, Africa’s impoverishment had nothing to do with demagogues like Wutawanashe.

How convenient!

On the same page we were treated to another demagogue, Prof and chair of the department of African American Studies at Temple University (where?) in the US, Molefi Kete Asante, who described Mugabe as an iconic symbol of resistance who went against all odds and embarked on the land reform programme as part of correcting historical injustices inflicted on the black majority.

Needless to say, Asante is a Ghanaian who like his compatriot Baffour Ankomah was here at our expense. The Herald heading was “African scholars extol President Mugabe’s vision.”

Perhaps the authors of these dim-witted propaganda pieces should compare notes with Nigerian reporters who seems less impressed about Mugabe than their neighbours.

Confused

Could somebody explain why President Mugabe has only just woken up to the need for smaller farms.

In February Mugabe said: “I think the farms we gave to people are too large. They can’t manage them. You find that most of them are just using one third of the land.”

So after 25 years it has just dawned on Mugabe that you need to plan farm sizes before allocating the land. What form of governance is this?

Then we had Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Manditawepi Chimene threatening the Indian Committee because they failed to show sufficient enthusiasm for her rallies.

She gave the Indian community a five-day ultimatum to meet her or risk closure of their businesses.

This is Zanu PF at its fascist worst. Let’s hope as many business people across the country and abroad take note of her sinister warning so we have an accurate indication of her credentials. She is exactly the sort of person the country can do without, going around confiscating farms on the grounds that they were being protected by Didymus Mutasa.

This is of course a case of chickens coming home to roost. Farmers who looked to Zanu PF for protection find themselves the victims of high-level predators.

Embarrassing

Addressing businesspeople in Mutare last week on Thursday, loose-tongued Vice-President Mphoko lashed out at the resettled farmers accusing them of failing to grow enough food to feed the nation.
Mphoko said the farmers were to blame for the shortages of food, especially maize-meal, countrywide forcing President Robert Mugabe to extend a begging bowl to neighbouring countries.

“It’s true that the resettled farmers have failed us. They have put to shame our President. President Mugabe is being verbally abused everywhere because of the failed land resettlement,” he said.

“President Mugabe is now being forced to beg for food from neighbours. We were once the breadbasket of the region, but these farmers have destroyed the agriculture sector. We should re-look at this and come up with solutions,” Mphoko said.

“Our president is a busy man and he is now the chairman of AU but, you farmers are now making it a tall order for President Mugabe to go to neighbouring countries to plead for maize assistance in this day and age when these people were given productive land,. “Why are you putting to shame our president? He gave you land so that you empower yourselves and feed the nation but, now we are begging. This must stop.”

Muckraker couldn’t get this one. Who is really starving and shaming the nation, farmers or Mugabe? Maybe we should ask Nigerian journalists who tell it like it is!

Inevitable

Still on Nigerian journalists, Media and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo described the action by journalists in Abuja as “uncouth and pre-planned”.

Zimbabwean authorities had run a “background check” on Sahara TV reporters, we are told.

Wasn’t that entirely in order? Shouldn’t they be doing precisely that? Did Moyo expect Adeola Fayehun and her colleagues to grovel before Mugabe like Judith Makwanya and her ZBC comrades? Calling Nigerian journalists Boko Haram was in bad taste and would have caused wide offence to Nigerians of all political stripes.

Zimbabwe’s main complaint was that the journalists were admitted to the VVIP area and some came “within an arms length” of the president.

A case of lese majesté against Emperor Gushungo we could conclude?
Muckraker’s old friend Tafataona Mahoso emerged from the woodwork in with an attack on the journalists who he said “not only showed contempt for President Mugabe but also exposed Nigerian complicity in the whole media stunt.”

He then repeated the myth that Mugabe was expelled from the Commonwealth. In fact, Mugabe expelled himself by not adhering to the terms of the Harare Declaration. Zimbabwe withdrew from the Commonwealth.

The same Nigeria betrayed Charles Taylor, Mahoso claims.
“The same Nigeria is the one that together with South Africa supported a UN resolution for the bombardment and invasion of Libya,” Mahoso said.

Why is Mahoso fond of defending dictators and murderers like Muammar Gaddafi and Charles Taylor? Is that what Pan-Africanism means to him?

Misplaced defence

Zimbabwe Union of Journalists Foster Dongozi came to Mugabe’s defence. Bleating pathetically, he condemned the alleged harassment, according to the Herald, saying Mugabe had gone to Nigeria as the African Union chair and should have been accorded the dignity and respect that suited his office.

He said there was no way a visiting head of state or government can be allowed to be embarrassed by people pretending to be journalists.

“As much as we respect freedom of expression we are disappointed by the behaviour of those gangsters in the presence of Nigerian authorities. As Africans we should respect leaders …”

This is extraordinarily naive and hypocritical. Here we have a state whose authorities brutalise journalists and the head of their professional organisation backs a president whose regime is responsible for all manner of human rights abuses.

Why is Dongozi not making noise about Itai Dzamara’s kidnapping or Edward Chikomba’s murder in cold blood?

Fascists

The big issue of the week in Muckraker’s book however, was the role of the army in dealing with vendors.

That is an abuse at the highest level and should be identified as such. We are drifting towards a fascist state.

Mugabe’s regime prepares to unleash another wave of terror against its long-suffering and disgruntled people by giving vendors an ultimatum to vacate the streets without providing them with employment alternatives.

Local government minister Ignatius Chombo, flanked by the seemingly furious and intolerant commander of the Presidential Guard, Brigadier-General Anselem Sanyatwe, announced the decision on Monday in a development contradictory to the false hope given to vendors by First Lady Grace Mugabe last year as she heightened her war to expel former vice-president Joice Mujuru from Zanu PF and government.

Isn’t Grace, the champion of ad hoc policies, the one who gave them the green light saying vendors should be allowed to go about their business in the cities without hindrance? This further shows how confused this regime is.

Dictatorial

It’s true that vending has become an eyesore in urban centres, but government should address the cause of the root cause in the cities first before promoting running battles with unarmed, clueless, dejected and impoverished citizens whose only source of income is vending on the streets.

Where are the over two million jobs Zanu PF promised during its electoral campaign in 2013? Why should the ruling party turn a blind eye to the closure of industries and rush to harass vendors in cities without providing jobs to the unemployed?