It is useful to note that Zimbabwe deferred land reform in 1990 to avoid scuttling and negotiating an end to apartheid, former South African president Thabo Mbeki revealed this week.
The Herald treated this as a major coup, but those reading Mbeki’s book will be familiar with the claim. Indeed, Mbeki had a number of claims to make but Zanu PF ignored them.
After the 1980 election, Mbeki backed President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF. Mugabe was eternally grateful to Mbeki. That suddenly mattered in 1982. The issue now is why senior chefs remain in ownership of lucrative properties to which they are not owners and pieces of land which they cannot farm and which they will certainly ruin.
The country was abuzz with excitement on Friday last week when Zimbabweans learnt that Mugabe was going to give a State of the Nation Address that evening.
Was he going to proffer solutions to the alarming unemployment rate in the country? Was he going to announce measures to curb the liquidity crunch? Some even dared hope that he would announce that he was finally stepping down, throwing in the much used towel after years of unmitigated failure.
What an anticlimax then when Mugabe, though two days before his birthday, looked every bit of his 92 years and many more, to talk about the fights in his party. To the dismay of many Zimbabweans, he told the warring factions in his own party to shut up and castigated War Veterans minister Chris Mutsvangwa for organising a meeting with war veterans without informing him.
Muckraker feels well and truly duped. This was no State of the Nation Address (Sona) because no national issues were addressed by Mugabe. It was clearly a State of the Party Address (Sopa) as Mugabe dwelt only on the numerous squabbles in his party. Some individuals who are not as charitable as Muck have called it a State of the Faction Address!
Nevertheless some honesty, once in a while, would be nice.
The savage attack of war veterans on Thursday last week was quite an eye opener for us.
War veterans who had gathered at the City Sports Centre for a meeting found it cordoned off by police. Efforts to remonstrate with the police officials were met with tear gas and water cannons.
Indeed, the sight of these war veterans, who have marched against sanctions and deified Mugabe over the years, huffing and puffing while running for dear life will remain etched in the memory.
A stunned Mutsvangwa later told journalists that the attack was another “Marikana” referring to the incident in South Africa where disgruntled miners were shot dead by police.
The opposition, civic groups and journalists would freely tell Mutsvangwa that these “Marikanas” are not new as they have faced worse off brutality.
We hope the war veterans have learnt that having fought the war and supporting Mugabe unstintingly over the years is no guarantee that they are immune from the good old teargas grenade!
That the US$800 000 birthday bash for Mugabe is widely seen by Zimbabweans as in extremely bad taste given the desperate situation of three million people in the country facing starvation is not in dispute.
Zanu PF youth secretary Pupurai Togarepi has however added insult to this grave injury by equating Mugabe’s birthday to that of Jesus Christ.
“The birthday is important, it is like the birth of Jesus, who was born to rescue us, the same way President Mugabe was born in 1924 to free all of us, including you journalists to start writing like you are doing now,” Togarepi intoned.
Putting aside the fact that Togarepi is not singing as much as he is howling for his supper with this blasphemy, Jesus Christ never feasted as those around him had to survive on wild fruit to keep body and soul together as Mugabe will tomorrow.
Neither has he been responsible for reducing most of the country’s citizens to near destitutes for the benefit of a select few as Mugabe has in his 36 years of office.
It is puerile drivel such as this that has turned the country into a virtual banana republic.
Mugabe has not freed Zimbabweans from poverty, hunger, disease and destitution. Quite the reverse he has invited it through mismanagement and ruinous policies.
This is why Togarepi’s equation of Mugabe to Jesus Christ as a saviour is not only baffling but outright daft.
We leave the last word on Togarepi’s comments to one disgusted reader.
“Comrade Pupurai Togarepi please pupurai zvokwadi (give an honest account) do not compare Mugabe to Jesus Christ you can compare him to Idi Amin, Hilter, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Muammar Gaddafi, just to mention a few within Mugabe circle”
Sea of poverty
Parastatals that are choking under debt just cannot resist spending money to gush about how happy they are that Mugabe is 92.
Even the Grain Marketing Board that had unpaid former employees camping outside its offices has found money to place a colour advert in the press to say Happy Birthday to Mugabe. This is surely a classic case of misplaced priorities.
But they are not in a club of one in this regard.
The National Railways of Zimbabwe which has not paid their employees for more than a year managed to find cash to pay for a television advertisement congratulating Mugabe on his birthday during prime time. This is insensitivity writ large.
It is this warped sense of logic that goes a long way to explain why these state-owned entities are struggling with very little hope of recovery.