HomeAnalysisACP meeting: Mugabe’s fruitless trips wasteful

ACP meeting: Mugabe’s fruitless trips wasteful

“Please spare our ears … we are tired of this corruption song that has one stanza!”

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s obsession for wasteful jaunts was once again brought to the fore with his trip to Papua New Guinea where he stuck out like a sore thumb as the only head of state attending the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) meeting.

MUCKRAKER Twitter: @MuckrakerZim

President R.G.Mugabe and his wife Dr.Grace Mugabe
President R.G.Mugabe and his wife Dr.Grace Mugabe

The 92-year-old voyager finds himself among “four vice-presidents, 13 prime ministers, a deputy prime minister, a Speaker of Parliament, 14 ministers and 16 ambassadors from more than 50 registered ACP countries”, according to media reports from the Pacific Ocean enclave.

Mugabe’s penchant to blow taxpayers money on such unhelpful trips at a time the country is buffeted by serious problems which include acute cash shortages and widespread drought shows just how desperate the nonagenarian is to compensate for his inability to attend European capitals and shop in posh places such as Harrods in London. His shopaholic wife Grace is clearly missing Harrods. This is because they are persona non grata due to sanctions imposed on him and his kleptocratic cabal by the European Union due to human rights abuses, electoral theft and murders with impunity.

The desperation by Mugabe has at times been extremely embarrassing as when he was also due to attend a low-key Indian cultural festival earlier this year and later abandoned the trip midstream in a huff under the guise of security concerns, as it emerged that even the host country’s leader, President Pranab Mukherjee, had snubbed the event.

Instead of coming up with solutions to the country’s myriad problems, Mugabe is busy gallivanting all over the globe. This has earned him the unkind moniker back home as the “visiting president”.

His trips, which have bought a flurry memoranda of agreement and very little in terms of investments, shows that instead of coming up with solutions to the country’s economic crisis, Mugabe has become the problem. The sooner that Mugabe, who is a scourge to the country’s well-being, goes the better for us all.

Corruption waffle

The country’s two Vice-Presidents, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, have been waxing lyrical about corruption. At the official opening of the new Masvingo High Court, Mnangagwa spoke of corruption being “corrosive” vowing to vigorously fight the scourge.

Not to be outdone, Mphoko called on Zimbabweans to name and shame corrupt officials.

Yet it seemed to escape the two gentlemen that there are volumes and volumes of reports produced by the Auditor-General’s Office year in year out which expose corruption in government offices that are just gathering dust. Doing something about those reports and their findings would be a good starting point to prove that they are doing more than the usual blowing of hot air.

It would also be interesting to find out Mphoko’s involvement in the retail chain, Choppies. His involvement raises eyebrows. For instance, how did Mphoko, who was the country’s ambassador in Botswana where the company is based and is not permitted to be involved in such business ventures, get involved with the retail chain? Was he moonlighting while on national duty? What is his position at Choppies? Is he a board member or a front for certain interests? There are so many questions that require answers from the sanctimonious Mphoko.

As one reader noted after reading Mnangagwa’s latest mantra on corruption: “Please spare our ears … we are tired of this corruption song that has one stanza!”

Thread of delusion

Delusion surely runs deep in the Office of the President and Cabinet.

Just after the daft assertion by the Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Ray Ndhlukula that the national pledge introduced in the country’s schools would reduce corruption, the Chief Secretary in the same office, Misheck Sibanda, added his own dosage of muck.

After touring Arda’s Doreen’s Pride Estate, Sibanda said that the economy was on the mend and on the verge of a turnaround.

This is serious delusionism.

What do they smoke in that office we wonder? What mend when the general public, among them the elderly, is struggling to get their paltry amounts of cash from the banks? What turnaround when more than 2 000 graduates in Harare and Bulawayo alone are vendors and more than 80 companies have shut down in the first quarter of 2016?.

Sibanda must have made these comments having looked at his fat pockets and his lavish lifestyle, not the livelihood of the general public who are suffering from his boss’ extended period of misrule.

He even had the nerve to ask the media to propagate “the good things government is doing”.

Sorry, chief secretary, the government has to actually do something worth praising. We cannot, like our colleagues in the state media, see things through rose-tinted glasses and write fairytales of the government’s success when the country is in such a mess. Get real and stop being delusional.
Opposition chaos

Oh dear, before Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) has even finished putting up structures in its party, there are already fights over leadership renewal.

The party leader Joice Mujuru is reportedly set to convene an emergency meeting of her fledgling party’s senior interim leadership in a bid to find solutions to growing internal discohesion.

Disgruntled youths besieged Mujuru’s Harare home on Friday demanding an audience with the former vice-president. Mujuru has reportedly agreed to a no-holds-barred internal indaba to find “lasting solutions”.

Someone forgot to tell them that they are supposed to be fighting Zanu PF, not among themselves!

It seems that most party members have inherited the lust and culture of violence for power from their former party Zanu PF. It is shameful that they are concentrating on power struggles before they have even launch the party to the electorate, not at Meikles Hotel.

This will only fuel the scepticism among some Zimbabweans that Mujuru and most of her party members do not care about their welfare, but are more concerned getting themselves back on the gravy train after being booted out of Zanu PF.

It seems the party is fighting patronage withdrawal symptoms most of the senior party members such as Didymus Mutasa, Sylvester Nguni and Bright Matonga used to enjoy when they were in Zanu PF.

ZimPF should get their act together and avoid these silly squabbles lest they find themselves thrown onto the political scrapheap before they have even taken off.

Mphoko majoring in minors

Zanu PF’s failure to generate jobs was encapsulated very well by a tweet doing the rounds. The tweet has two photos. One shows South African President Jacob Zuma opening a Toyota plant in his country and the other of Mphoko officially opening this year’s Culture Week in Filabusi, Matabeleland South.

One Twitter user observed that while Zuma is launching a plant that will bring about jobs amid the country’s economic prosperity, Mphoko is only launching a cultural week that will showcase traditional dances such as muchongoyo and nothing else in a land of poverty and hunger.

Though it is a tweet sent in jest, it is an apt description of how far Zimbabweans have fallen behind other countries in the region. Through gross incompetence, corruption, misrule, Mugabe’s regime turned, Zimbabwe into a laughing stock of the region; from bread basket to a continental basket case.

As long as Mugabe remains in power, Zimbabwe will soon be lagging behind Ethiopia and other poor countries ravaged by war and famine.

When it comes to majoring in minors, no one beats Mphoko, Mugabe’s leading court jester.

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