INDIGENISATION minister Patrick Zhuwao admitted last week that he bungled interpreting the Indigenisation law and hence he has been muddling through in a fiasco damaging to the economy. Indeed, it was a surprise because admissions of failure by any Zanu PF official, never mind a minister are as rare as hen’s teeth.
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What is also shocking is that President Robert Mugabe’s nephew remains in a job after admitting he failed to interpret the law and the attendant policy he superintends over. In other countries Zhuwao’s shameful admission would be part of a speech announcing his resignation. Not in Zimbabwe though and especially not when you have been appointed by your uncle through an entrenched system of nepotism and patronage. There was no misinterpretation on the way forward on Zhuwao’s part as he intends to hang on which he has made abundantly clear.
Surely, as demonstrated by his wide-open mouth and shut-mind, to borrow from Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo’s lexicon, Zhuwao is one of the worst ministers to darken the corridors of government.
That he has admitted to bungling after accusing Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa of being ignorant of the indigenisation laws makes the embarrassment more acute.
As if that was not bad enough, Zhuwao, who runs a think-tank that is yet to produce any meaningful research, found himself being accused of being “a corrupt and extortionist public officer bent on enriching himself through illegal dealings” by former ally Acie Lumumba whom he fired from the Zimbabwe Youth Empowerment Committee.
As the cliche goes, empty vessels make the most noise; those with the least talent and knowledge usually speak the loudest and create the most fuss. They do whatever makes their presence felt as much as possible.
Mugabe last week used his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York during a high-level meeting on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to speak out against sanctions and their effects.
“Sanctions and other unilateral measures, declared and undeclared, are a major impediment to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. They are a contravention of the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, to which we all profess commitment and adhesion. If the 2030 objective of ‘leaving no one behind’ is to be achieved, these sanctions should be lifted immediately and unconditionally,” he told delegates.
Mugabe should probably look closer to home for major impediments to the achievement of SDGs — such as his shocking negligence in allowing diamonds worth billions of dollars to be looted on his watch, diamonds which could have gone a long way to the achievement of SDGs; or his failure to act against corruption that is unearthed by the Auditor-General Mildred Chiri year in, year out that costs the country millions of dollars in lost revenue.
He should also look at damaging populist tendencies such as promising civil servants poverty datum line-based salaries in the full knowledge that government’s coffers are severely depleted as wages are gobbling more than 80% of revenue, leaving very little for much-needed development or the fact that nearly a decade after signing the indigenisation policy into law he is still clarifying the piece of legislation causing serious damage to the country’s investment prospects.
When all is said and done, Mugabe is the greatest impediment not only to achieving SDGs, but also to Zimbabwe economic recovery and prosperity.
The attack by the war veterans chairman Chris Mutsvangwa on former vice-president Joice Mujuru for failing to protect women combatants abused by senior male officers during the war of liberation is baffling.
“Those of us who had come from the university, we ended up in jail — myself, Zororo Duri (now late), John Mayowe (late) and Sobusa Gula-Ndebele — for resisting abuses on young girls. She (Mujuru) could have done more as a commander and I hold that against her,” Mutsvangwa said in a live radio interview.
In his reckless bid to vilify Mujuru, it seems to have escaped Mutsvangwa that Mujuru was herself also a young woman who was equally vulnerable at the time and needed protection from the sexual predators he talks about.
The interview would have been more useful had he named and shamed those who abused women for their selfish ends.
That he singles out Mujuru and not the senior commanders who sexually abused women portrays him up as a coward looking to score cheap political points.
Chinamasa said he is intensifying efforts to put units in his office to act upon the Auditor-General’s reports to stem the rot in state-owned entities and parastatals.
Chinamasa’s remarks come as government has consistently failed to act on reports by Chiri’s office highlighting abuse of funds by state-owned enterprises and government departments.
Speaking at the two-day Public Accountancy and Auditors’ Board (Paab) conference last week, Chinamasa said the honeymoon was over for those who abuse public funds as a unit would be put in place to act on reports by the Auditor-General.
One cannot help but get a sense of déjà vu when they read Chinamasa’s remarks. After all he has promised to reduce the salaries of top executives in parastatals in 2014 as well as vowing to privatise state entities that are bleeding the fiscus in numerous budget statements.
However, there has been no movement on either undertaking as the executives continue to earn extortionate salaries and parastatals continue to bleed the fiscus dry. This is why we can be forgiven for dismissing his remarks as daydreaming.
“Those of us who had come from the university, we ended up in jail — myself, Zororo Duri (now late), John Mayowe (late) and Sobusa Gula-Ndebele — for resisting abuses on young girls. She (Mujuru) could have done more as a commander and I hold that against her.”
Short and Sweet…
CZR award: Bootlicking won’t get us anywhere
We had a good chuckle over the move by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) to give Industry minister Mike Bimha (pictured) an award for his contribution to the retail sector.
Although it is understandable that the recently-formed organisation would want to curry favour with the minister, this is a truly ridiculous way to go about it. Bimha should be embarrassed to even accept the award.
Since his appointment as minister in 2013 the capacity utilisation of industry has continued to plummet and now stands at an alarmingly low 34,3%. There has been very little done by Bimha to stem the tide of imports that have hurt the very retail sector which in their wisdom or lack thereof have decided to give him an award.
The state of industry will not improve by flattering the minister with such dubious awards. They have taken a leaf on bootlicking from Zanu PF praise-singers and hangers-on who worship the ground Mugabe walks on to the detriment of the country’s economy and well-being. It is this kind of brown-nosing by the CZR that will ensure that the country remains a laughing stock.