MUCKRAKER has of late been watching for free and enjoying the hilarious Hollywood-style reality show at the perennially broke Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) featuring local tycoon Philip “Captain Fiasco” Chiyangwa and the association’s noisy young sugar-daddy Wicknell Chivayo who seems to have now replaced “Cashbert” Dube as the new benefactor.
MUCKRAKER Twitter: @MuckrakerZim
The circus has been comical and sidesplitting until Chivayo crossed the line this week when started attacking and insulting journalists for merely doing their job. In particular, Chivayo seemed annoyed by a story in the last edition of the state-controlled weekly Sunday Mail which revealed that below the unfolding charade at Zifa, Chivayo had not yet fulfilled his promise to pay Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa his US$7 000 monthly salary in a deal struck with Chiyangwa.
A furious Chivayo, who claims to have poured US$600 000 into Zifa’s bottomless pit, launched into a childish and thoughtless attack on Pasuwa and journalists, calling them “broke idiots” in a typical lumpen outburst which betrays his lack of humility, sophistication and crass ignorance of how the media works.
Of course, Chivayo (never mind how he made his money — that’s a story for another day) must be thanked for helping Zifa, especially in such a time of great need, but the truth is such arrangements are not sustainable. That is why football the world over survives on corporate sponsorship, not individual benevolence.
We don’t expect Chivayo to understand the difference as he showed on his Facebook page this week. How can personal or individual sponsorship, which can be withdrawn at the whims and caprices of one person, be the same as corporate or institutionalised sponsorship? But then Chivayo doesn’t get it.
Instead of dealing with the issues arising from the Sunday Mail report and other stories, Chivayo chose to kick up dust to find a way out. He spoke an infinite great deal of nothing. Journalists love it when reckless people insult them; that means they don’t have to be nice anymore.
The Sunday Mail did a great job. It must not be intimidated by a boisterous sponsor and his hangers-on whose ignorance of how the media works is clearly stuff of nightmares. The paper must also not listen to notoriusly corrupt journalists clearly bribed by dirty money, from Asiagate to this Zifagate-in-the-making scandal.
Still on Chivayo, Muckraker would like to draw his attention to this: there is more to life than just money. Serious people make money to make their lives easier; they don’t live to make money. Just like you eat to live, and not live to eat. It appears the big Chivayo lives to eat and not eats to live, hence his skewed logic.
King Solomon was incredibly rich, and he gave inspired advice to his children and citizens to be financially wise.
Some of his rules for success are well-known, but others are not taught in any business school.
In that connection, has Chivayo heard of the expression “A fool and his money are easily parted” first used by the poet Thomas Tusser? It is over 450 years old; it has been around since 1557.
While a fool and his money are easily parted, a fool and his folly are not. A fool usually argues like this: “Don’t confuse me with the facts; I have my own opinions.”
But journalists report facts not opinions. As George Orwell said: “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations.”
Free advice to Chivayo: Slow down! Especially with money! Haste makes waste!
Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao gave us an interesting insight into how he expects state media to report about his ministry and its policies.
This was after the state-run broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), in its Thursday evening news bulletin last week broke with the tradition of parroting of the government line and invited analysts critical of Zhuwao’s threat to close companies that did not comply with indigenisation requirements to air their objections on how the trigger-happy minister was sabotaging investment prospects and destroying the economy.
To the astonishment and joy of many a viewer, the broadcaster chipped in accusing government of indicating left and turning right on the indigenisation law.
Finally, the ZBC is now allowing critical debate on an issue that has spooked investors and further ruined the economy. A welcome development indeed.
Not so for Zhuwao though, who was so incensed by this criticism that he wrote a letter to ZBC which he copied to his uncle President Robert Mugabe who appointed him minister through nepotism and patronage.
“I have taken this unprecedented step to register my extreme displeasure at the manner in which your news organisation has conducted itself, as if they were a mouthpiece of an opposition entity,” Zhuwao fumed in his letter.
Such is the warped mindset of the excitable minister that if anyone criticises his ministry’s policies, then they are in the opposition. It seems it has never occured to him that being a public broadcaster the ZBC should air varying opinions by the public especially on policies such as indigenisation. It is one of the reasons why the public pays for television licences annually. Zhuwao should know that he can rant without scrutiny in the Zanu PF party rag, the People’s Voice, and not on national television which, we must repeat for emphasis, is or ought to be a public broadcaster.
We could not help but be surprised by the revelations by our colleagues from the Sunday Mail that more than 1 000 foreign companies have complied with indigenisation requirements.
Our surprise being, of course, the fact that there are 1 000 foreign-owned companies in Zimbabwe. If this is true, then how come we have more than 90% in the country who are not formally employed?
If we have so many functional foreign-owned companies, how is the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority failing to meet revenue targets and how come the government’s coffers are perennially depleted failing to pay its workers on time?
With so many foreign-owned companies combined with local companies, surely, we would not have capacity utilisation of less than 35% on average.
Where are these companies and what are are they involved in? So many questions. Such exaggerations are not very helpful. This would make very good reading in a fiction novel, not in a mainstream newspaper.
Revelations by former national healing minister Moses Mzila-Ndlovu that the opposition became interested in luxuries dished out by the government and immediately lost touch with reality, are quite disturbing.
“We got sucked in by offers of luxury and opposition members saw all kinds of money that they had never seen before and they took that money which, up to now they are yet to declare,” he said at a Heal Zimbabwe Trust public meeting on healing and reconciliation. “Ask the ministers to declare how much they withdrew from government each time they went out on assignments and if they say it was less than US$5 000, they would be lying.”
These revelations are worrying should any of the opposition parties remove Zanu PF and get into power — they will imitate or even perfect Zanu PF’s art of looting at the expense of the nation’s well-being given that they would see amounts of money they have never seen before, as Mzila-Ndlovu puts it.
Voting for the opposition could be a case of jumping from the frying pan into a roaring fire for the nation if the former minister’s admission is anything to go by. We surely hope not. Zanu PF has already done quite a thorough job of impoverishing Zimbabweans on its own.