It was interesting to see Presidential spokesperson George Charamba coming under fire from within the ruling party last week. Charamba was accused of playing a flagrantly divisive role in an interview with a local daily and other media.
He is clearly more loyal to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, one senior commentator said. He will only defend his favourite VP, a reference to Charamba’s support for Mnangagwa.
One only has to look at his public rants and writing in the Herald, the commentator said.
Perhaps he should leave the public service and join politics full time.
Charamba writes lengthy pieces in the Herald weekly backing his employer, but his writing is dull and plodding. Very often it is difficult to get the point. His nom de plume is Nathaniel Manheru. It is not clear why he writes at such length when his audience is diminishing. But it is obvious that he is intent on endearing himself to President Robert Mugabe.
Bibles as toilet paper
Meanwhile, the Weekend Post has been exposing the shocking conditions in prisons. Prisoners claim they are having to use Bibles as toilet paper.
Looking back, what is remarkable is that conditions in Rhodesian jails were a considerable improvement on current conditions. Paradzai Zimondi is the long-serving head of the prison service. He could do better. The Constitutional Court is currently reviewing the cases of prisoners on death row.
That is a no-brainer. In a democratic society prisoners should not suffer the ultimate punishment.
Prisoners claim they are having to eat rats. Again, a review of the colonial era would show no such abuse occurred. And detainees could write as much as they liked in pursuit of degrees. What is more, their degrees were authentic.
Zanu PF audit
Zanu PF secretary for finance Obert Mpofu has ordered a forensic audit of the party’s treasury, we were told by this newspaper last week. Mpofu has confirmed the development saying it is part of corporate governance.
“There is nothing sinister about it,” he said. “The audit will allow us to check what has been going on.”
Muckraker would like to know what the party has been doing since 1980 when Mnangagwa transferred the party’s structures from London. It has certainly not prospered. Let’s see if the latest initiative works.
Meanwhile Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister Patrick Zhuwao has been emphasising that foreigners operating in the foreign reserve sector of the economy should find local partners to conform with the indigenisation law. This includes agriculture, milk processing, bakeries, retail and wholesale, hairdressing salons, employment agencies, estate agencies, transport and grain milling, among others.
Zhuwao said companies had a first quarter deadline to submit their indigenisation plans adding there would be deeper conversations with the line ministries.
Zhuwao proposed a 10% empowerment levy which would have to be approved by cabinet.
The levy will go to the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board to fund start-ups.
The Indigenisation Act came into being in 2008. It is doubtful if it will do any more than appeal beyond Zanu PF apparatchiks who see it as an opportunity to make easy money.
South African President Jacob Zuma has cleared up an embarrassing matter, according to Reuters. He has rectified an erroneous reference to Africa being the largest continent. He had described Africa as so big that all continents put together will fit into it.
The comments were seized upon by Zuma’s opponents who argue that his lack of schooling makes him unfit to lead a sophisticated emerging economy. It is unclear why Zuma’s office took six weeks to make the correction.
Rhodes at Oxford
Meanwhile, the movement to pull down colonial memorials having succeeded in Cape Town has now moved on to Oxford.
The Oxford Union on Tuesday evening lost a motion to remove Cecil John Rhodes at the mining magnate’s alma mater. It was however a narrow vote. Many participants pointed out they wouldn’t be there were it not for the generosity of educational institutions like Oxford and associated scholarships. Many statesmen like former United States president Bill Clinton remember fondly their time at Oxford.
What we should be concerned with, however, is the shocking collapse in academic standards at the University of Zimbabwe. Here is one of the highest tertiary institutions in Africa with a fine reputation and what do you get: a scene of utter dereliction? Muck should declare an interest here. It is also his alma mater.
Then we have Mugabe’s wife Grace muscling in where she doesn’t belong. This is misgovernance writ large. Compounding all this is our report on Monday that Zanu PF is planning to spend US$800 000 on Mugabe’s birthday. No protest from the presidency that this is inappropriate at a time the country faces an acute drought in Masvingo where the event is due to be held.
If you haven’t already seen the picture of our leader tucking in, do try and do so. It is appalling in its disdain for ordinary folk. Now I understand why heads of state abroad ban the transmission of pictures showing them scoffing in public. It is unedifying by any standard. The picture of Mugabe doing his Marie Antoinette impression (let them eat cake) only confirms this impression.
Despite spirited promises by Mugabe in April on Independence Day celebrations last year that civil servants will get their bonuses, and reprimanding Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa for daring to propose the scrapping of the 13th cheque for 2016 and 2017, there has been no sign of when the bonuses will be paid out.
Hopes by civil servants of getting their bonusses, who were looking forward to a 13th cheque especially during these times of economic hardships, have dwindled and will not be improved by mutterings by Labour minister Prisca Mupfumira this week.
She has pointed out that bonuses are not a priority at the moment which could mean that civil servants, who spent the festive season without salaries, could be in for a very long wait.
So much for Presidential declarations!
TV licence: Throwing money down a bottomless pit
IF there is one thing the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation can always deliver in spades, it is incompetence.
Having advertised ad nauseam that they were going to show the ongoing African Nations Championships (Chan), which began on Saturday in Rwanda, the national broadcaster has not been able to screen live any of the opening matches at the soccer showcase.
Despite having failed to screen any of the matches played between Saturday and Monday, hope sprung eternal that they would come good on their promise on Tuesday when the country’s national team would take to the field against perennial southern African rivals, Zambia. Surely, even ZBC could not botch that up, so we thought
How wrong we were. When Zimbabweans tuned in to ZBC to watch their beloved national team at 2.45pm on Tuesday, they did not see the Warriors line-up against Zambia, but instead got a dose of children’s cartoons! What an insult and how pathetic.
To think they had called on advertisers to take the opportunity to advertise during the live broadcasts that never were. This is a typical case of the broadcaster shooting itself in the foot. Which advertiser will take the ZBC seriously after this shambles?
Despite this absolute outrage of denying Zimbabweans the opportunity of watching the national team in action as they had promised, they will, as sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, come shamelessly to demand viewers to pay US$50 for a TV licence. The Chan debacle perfectly explains why viewers feel they are throwing money down a bottomless pit when paying television licences.