The description of government as chaotic is becoming increasingly common as the evidence mounts.
We have all the hallmarks of a fascist state that cannot manage its affairs very successfully. At least Benito Mussolini made the trains runs run on time in pre-war Italy.
In Zimbabwe the regime regulates the sale of underwear. It has become the latest expression of totalitarian control in President Robert Mugabe’s topsy-turvy state.
On Sunday a government minister said sections of the media had misinterpreted government’s plans to reduce the wage bill from 80% of revenue to less than 40% to mean that thousands of civil servants face retrenchment.
However, Labour and Social Welfare minister Prisca Mupfumira told the state press that government had no plans to retrench. “It is laughable that there has been this misrepresentation,” she said. “When we are talking about reducing the wage bill we are not talking about firing people. We are looking at cost-cutting. There is a distinction.”
The distinction is so subtle that only the minister can see it! She has not explained how government and parastatals can cut costs without retrenching staff.
“We will not do that,” the minister said. “No one will be fired. In fact we are actually in the process of expediting amendments to the Labour Act so that we protect our workers.”
This is the sort of surreal populism that passes for policy.
Other bizarre episodes involved Prosecutor-general Johannes Tomana who was explaining to a newspaper why the presidency is a protected institution when he diverted to a discussion of goblins.
Another article in the independent press claimed President Mugabe was “rattled by job losses”.
He said: “We don’t want to see people on the streets and do not like people being fired from work.”
Of course not. Nobody wants to see job losses. But how did those losses happen in the first place? They are the direct product of bad economic management or political interference in economic policy. Mugabe promised changes.
“We are going to look at the law because the law is an ass,” the president said in another burst of populism.
He was in similar form last week when he threatened to expel the British and American ambassadors if they assisted vendors.
“We will kick them in their bottoms if they misbehave,” he threatened those envoys he accused of getting involved in politics. They weren’t overly impressed by Mugabe’s histrionics.
We brought to you some of the birthday tributes to First Lady Grace Mugabe last week. Mashonaland governor Martin Dinha was particularly gushing, or was that Gushingo? He declared the First Lady “a mother figure for him and his family”.
“She is kind, honest and principled, I love her” he continued “and follow her exemplary life.”
He said he was prepared to defend President Mugabe and the First Family. Yuk!
We were a little surprised that the Telegraph failed to correct a major error in its edition over a week ago. In a front page headline it referred to “troops on groud”.
Just a short line would have been enough to correct the error.
above the law
Under the heading “Respect the law”, the Daily News carried a reader’s comment that while seemingly obvious was nevertheless fundamental to the current discourse.
“I am outraged,” she wrote “by comments attributed to Prosecutor-General Johannes Tomana that President Robert Mugabe is above the law. The constitution is supreme, no one is above the law. May God raise godly leaders for us, otherwise we will turn into a lawless nation.” It was signed Desire Garwe.
Well said Desire. Sometimes the obvious needs sayin
Upon opening the ZBC website a quote by Mugabe pops up: “I am here for as long as I am still sane, with good memory and will power. I thank God for giving me extra strength. I still have a bright mind; I still have will. I know our history more than you do. I know the wishes of those heroes and those who lie elsewhere more than you do. I know the wishes of the chiefs, dead and alive.”
He made them at the sixth Zanu PF National People’s Congress in 2014.
With the current wave of job losses and a derailed economic situation in the country, the statement is difficult to consume for many Zimbabweans who are uncertain of what lies ahead of them with Mugabe still at the helm of leadership.
Undeniably the president wields strength and will power to destroy and impoverish ordinary citizens. He should stop fooling the people by claiming he knows the wishes of Zimbabwe’s fallen heroes. Muckraker doubts if Josiah Tongogara or Hebert Chitepo’s dreams were to sink the economy to this alarming level.
Isn’t it a level of madness that keeps someone thinking he is an appropriate leader in a situation where even stray dogs are starving due to the absence of food in bins?
Has the regime asked itself why it has embarked on massive job cuts in the civil service — the largest employer in the country — instead of creating the employment it promised before? Wouldn’t it make sense for the ruling party’s 2013 election manifesto to be rewritten to read: “To render over 2,2 million jobless”.
Since July 17 after the Supreme Court ruling, reports say over
18 000 workers have lost their jobs — the number could however be conservative. And Mugabe still thinks he is a great statesman.
Some people should feel ashamed of the rot they have created and react likewise. If this is a way of keeping power by greedy Zanu PF vultures, let it be clear to them that it’s the worst way to govern. With or without mass protests, the ruling regime deserves no place in the socio-economic pantheon of Zimbabwe. The electorate is tired of stale polices and out of touch manifestos.
In a common African development, Burundi’s opposition leader Agathon Rwasa of the Amizero y’Abarundi coalition was recently elected deputy speaker of parliament despite that country’s July 21 poll being described as deeply flawed. This is again in spite of his call for free and fair elections prior to the polls.
Lest we forget, Zimbabwe’s opposition parties entered into a coalition with Zanu PF to form the Government of National Unity in 2009 with the MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai becoming the prime minister. During the period, the MDC parties were tricked and rendered impotent until they were trounced in seemingly rigged elections of July 2013.
Did Rwasa learn anything from this? Isn’t he going to be discarded on the way after Nkurunzinza would have consolidated his grip? The opposition coalition is likely not to survive a split — all lessons can be drawn from Zimbabwe — renowned for its lack of electoral transparency. In fact, that’s the destructive and retrogressive nature of African politics: confusion, military clampdowns and the failure by opposition movements to stick to principles on which they are formed.
We wish Rwasa all the best in his endeavours. Who knows, he could be immune to manipulation!