Zim’s own Louis XV: After me then the flood

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The Avondale car park has seen major developments in recent months serving a variety of outlets, the latest being the Mugg&Bean, Café Nush and Food Lovers market.

MUCKRACKER

Café Nush used to be the Italian Bakery but has moved to East Rd behind Reps. It specialises in pizzas and often hosts a band. But things were less hospitable 20 years ago.

On October 13 1987 a bomb exploded in the Avondale car park which could have been lethal had its South African paymasters been on target. Instead activist Jeremy Brickhill was seriously injured.

Contrast
Now it is a bustling commercial centre with — ironically — South African franchises dotted around.

The Zimbabwean masterminds behind the attempted attacks were imprisoned for long jail terms. Even former South African President Nelson Mandela couldn’t get them released on his 1994 visit.

Today the car park could hardly be described as salubrious. There are still occasional recollections of burnt trees. And Jeremy is thankfully still among us. So are occasional visiting flies. The food is good.

Our recommendation is the Mohito, a Cuban cocktail. With the tropical weather moving in, management have installed cooling water sprays. All in all, a definite improvement. And if you have a sweet tooth, the cake section is the best in the capital.

Harare is generally an improved destination. But it needs supervision. The Avondale car park is a good example.

Irony
President Robert Mugabe last week attended the inauguration of the newly-elected Tanzanian President John Pombe Mugufuli.

Taking over from his predecessor, Jakaya Kikwete, Mugufuli is the fifth leader of that country since it gained Independence in 1961. Tanzania seems to be enjoying the fruits of democracy; at least its leaders understand and value the need to change presidents.

Standing as an extraordinary case, Mugabe was one of the longest serving presidents amid the new blood that characterises governance in Africa today. Not even ashamed, Mugabe finds it normal to be part of celebrations that uphold, honour and respect electoral democracy.

Instead of learning from his neighbours, Mugabe enjoys abusing state resources globe-trotting, but always returning home a more determined tyrant.

The latest lesson he should have learnt is about quitting power and letting fresh blood inject the inertia desperately needed for revival of Zimbabwe’s collapsing economy. Without that, he should stop attending such ceremonies — it’s ironical.

The flood?
Louis XV, who ruled France for over 64 years said; “Après moi, le deluge (after me the flood).”

Muckraker is concerned that this appears to be the dogma driving Mugabe’s rule and his unending penchant for power. His denial to relinquish power begs many questions — is he destroying the economic, social and political fabric for him to leave a legacy of disorder after his now widely condemned 35-year grip as the supreme ruler of the country?

Without any clear succession plan in place, isn’t Zimbabwe heading for bloodshed? Can it be disputed Mugabe has now become the Louis, the yoke, the bondage and the dilemma of Zimbabwe. Every problem revolves around him; he is the only and prime obstacle that needs urgent bulldozing, of course through the ballot.

Irrational
NewsDay on Tuesday reported that Zanu PF’s fundraising dinner flopped while state propaganda mouthpiece, the Herald, said the dinner was oversubscribed.

The latter, as usual, cannot divert from the henchmen’s prescription, but the former told us the ruling party was forced to review downwards charges for companies that wanted to occupy tables. This was done to avert public embarrassment, NewsDay reported.

The same party that is presiding over company closures also wants to reap from the suffocating corporate sector! With the hope to raise US$3 million for its congress set for December, is it rational that the destroyer begs from the victim? How silly is a parasite that celebrates the burning of its host?

Companies are not supposed to be paying Zanu PF for its useless conference; rather they should be fighting government to capacitate them for recapitalisation.

The retrenched need jobs and the Zanu PF congress is not one way through which employment is created. After last year’s hullabaloo which resulted in the booting out of former vice-president Joice Mujuru and her “Gamatox clan”, what else should Zimbabweans expect from a ruling party that is alienated (and uninterested) from the goings on in its own country?

Hollow
Congresses, politburo meetings, central committee indabas etc — are hollow gatherings led by pretending opportunists who should be told to the face as Paulo Freire said in Pedagogy of the Oppressed: “As long as they live in the duality in which to be is to be like, and to be like is to be like the oppressor”, their emancipatory project is doomed.

With Zanu PF still in power, impoverishment and dehumanisation will continue to be celebrated as pitfalls of the struggle for sovereign rule.

Circus
Should former Mashonaland West Provincial chairman Temba Mliswa now tell us his dramaturgy has reached its dénouement?

After his dogfights and his subsequent expulsion from the ruling party, is he now pleading for accommodation in the same nest he was chiding all along? We must have been, lost somewhere along the plot, can we safely believe he is an implant successfully playing his role to destabilise efforts by opposition parties to fight Mugabe’s tyranny?

With skirmishes that were broadcast frequently on ZBC between him and the likes of Zanu PF’s secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo, should we brand Mliswa a fake and confused opportunist?

These are the politicians Zimbabwe doesn’t need; they are good for Zanu PF’s cause, not for the majority.
If he seriously believes the ruling party is ideal for the country, then even those who voted for him must be shell-shocked at this attitude. Votes wasted! Isn’t he a wake-up call to opposition parties who should know that in their party structures some so-called die-hard activists are embedded spies assigned to destroy them from within?

Terror
Of political violence that seems to be taking its toll two years before elections are held, Muckraker thought it wise to pluck a cue from Freire who said: “Violence is initiated by those who oppress and exploit, who fail to recognise others as persons.

“It is not the unloved who initiate dissatisfaction, but those who cannot love because they love only themselves. It is not the helpless, subject to terror, who initiate terror, but the violent, who in their power create the concrete situation which begets the ‘rejects of life’.”

This speaks volumes in relation to Zanu PF’s contribution towards the decimation of state welfarism in the country. Only when Mugabe, at 91, begins to appreciate others as people, will Zimbabwe move forward.

Mugabe versus Smith: Different epochs, same mentality

Wednesday November 11 marked the 50th anniversary of former Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Britain.

For the next 14 years the country would be plunged into a bloody war to achieve black independence while Smith fought to preserve minority rule.

His infamous “I don’t believe in black majority rule ever in Rhodesia — not in a thousand years,” statement was to later find echoes in President Robert Mugabe’s own words that the “MDC will never rule this country. It is impossible,” statement in 2008. Mugabe learnt more than just rhetoric from Smith, an intransigence and obstinacy which cost the country development, racial harmony and so many lives lost.
The two seem to share much in common.
In July 1965 Smith rebuffed the then British Prime minister Harold Wilson’s settlement proposals saying: “Leave us alone, and keep your cold uncharitable shelter”, while Mugabe in September 2002 said: “So Blair, keep your England and let me keep my Zimbabwe.” History repeating itself?

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