“From the way the demonstrations were carried out, it points to the hand of a third party. The way they carried out the operations is unlike Zimbabweans.”
Yet again President Robert Mugabe — using failed dictators’ discredited scapegoating technique — blamed sanctions for his government’s failure to pay civil servants their salaries on time. This is the umpteenth time the nonagenarian has put the blame on sanctions.
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“We are not yet a developed nation. We have sanctions, the Americans have not removed them and the Europeans only partially removed them. We use the (US) dollar and it is not printed here but in America,” said Mugabe on Friday last week in Bindura, Mashonaland Central, when he had visited the province.
Zimbabweans are patiently waiting for the day Mugabe is going to take responsibility for his mess and quit in disgrace. We are not holding our breath. The sanctions excuse now sounds like a broken record. His ministers are flaunting expensive luxurious cars and other trinkets imported for millions of dollars yet he is blaming sanctions and telling civil servants to be patient. Really?
So Mugabe wants civil servants and the rest of the people in Zimbabwe to get used to poverty as if the economic crisis should be the norm. In other words, to normalise the abnormal. This is evidenced by his line of thinking when he puts the blame on sanctions and on civil servants for “not understanding and not being patient enough”.
“Tirikuti inhamo yemazuvano chete (We are saying these difficulties are temporary). We don’t want doctors, nurses and teachers to strike. They are not being told that they will not get their salaries, but those are postponements but they don’t understand,” said Mugabe.
It is him who doesn’t understand that he has stretched the patience and tolerance of Zimbabweans way too far for the past 36 years!
Last week, Mugabe and his minions mounted their favourite hobby-horse blaming foreign “Third Force” and opposition forces for the protests that rocked different parts of the country over the deteriorating socio-economic conditions.
As a native of Beitbridge where the protests started, State Security minister Kembo Mohadi would have us believe that he “knows” Zimbabweans and what they are capable of.
“From the way the demonstrations were carried out, it points to the hand of a third party,” Mohadi said of the violent protests that rocked Beitbridge recently, “the way they carried out the operations is unlike Zimbabweans.
Our people are known for holding peaceful demonstrations rather than vandalising properties or burning tyres.”
Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo weighed in with spurious claims US ambassador Harry Thomas Jr and his French counterpart Laurent Delahousse helped engineering protests in Harare and Bulawayo.
Chombo even challenged the Western countries to prove that they were not responsible. We are sure that a basic lesson in law would have made Chombo understand that the onus probandi (burden of proof) lies with the prosecution and not the accused. By now legal students Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere and Patrick Zhuwao would have covered enough modules to enlighten their evidently ignorant colleague on legal issues.
And if Mohadi and Chombo’s rants were not puerile enough, Mugabe cried wolf once again, blaming sanctions and attacking civil servants who “don’t understand” that they were not getting their salaries on time because of the evil machinations of the West who imposed “sanctions”.
Being a keen student of history, we have no doubt that Mugabe would have more than a working knowledge of Adolf Hitler’s manual for dictators, particularly the nugget “if you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently, it will be believed”.
But then this lie about sanctions cannot get any bigger and the ordinary citizen reduced to vending knows that it is Mugabe’s fondness for Rhodesian laws (the latest being the resuscitation of the 1964 regulation) that is preventing him from accessing cheaper foreign goods for resale.
At the rate he always seeks to mislead the people, Mugabe can never pass polygraphic tests (lies defection tests).
We were intrigued by the Herald’s desperate bid to take over the role of the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency to “prove” beyond any shadow of doubt that #ThisFlag Pastor Evan Mawarire’s calls for a stay-away went unheeded by the majority of Zimbabweans.
Such was the Mawarire’s failure to mobilise people in support that several government ministers had to conduct not one, but two press conferences with the running theme of warning that those calling for protests would face the “full wrath of the law”. Such was the failure that a day after Chombo’s threats, the “innocuous” pastor was hauled before the courts where more than 100 lawyers and more than 5 000 people who attended the hearing in solidarity, discarded the locally composed national anthem Simudza Mureza for a rendition of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica composed in South Africa by Enoch Sontonga.
Such was the failure of Mawarire’s campaign that the government moved to have the charges changed to “subverting a constitutional government”. Mawarire had been initially charged with inciting public violence. The change in charges speak of a clueless government that is focused on self-preservation and not resolving the crisis that has engulfed the country.
That they fail to address the root causes of the problems that have bought about these protests such as the ruinous policies and resultant problems like the import ban, cash shortages, massive job losses and poverty instead of trying to shoot the messenger, shows that this is a failed government that has no solution to the crisis bedevilling the country.
The spelling errors in Information minister Chris Mushowe’s statement on stay-aways which spell “bent” as “burnt” as well as the police failure to spell “baton stick” which they wrote as “button stick” on the search warrant of Mawarire’s premises speaks of a country running virtually on auto-pilot.
All this panic and anxiety can’t be caused by a stay-away that was a flop. That’s why authorities and newspapers like the Herald who claimed the stay-away failed are just like Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf — Comical Ali.
Contrary to the hullaballoo by government about investment increasing from Russia and other countries worldwide, statistics have shown that foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to the country last year was a paltry US$421 million. This was a US$124 million drop from 2014 FDI figure of US$545 million. It just goes to show that all the hype of investors falling over each other to invest in the country is a load of old cobblers.
It is hardly surprising given the toxic indigenisation programme which the minister responsible, Patrick Zhuwao, shamefully admitted that he could not interpret. The investment flows could plummet further with the imminent introduction of bond notes which even Zimbabwe Investment Authority chairman Nigel Chanakira, responsible for driving investment in the country, has condemned balked. Add Mugabe’s recent remarks that concerns over indigenisation were unwelcome FDI inflows could be whittled down to double digits.
House demolitions: Grace’s crocodile tears
Utterances by First Lady Grace Mugabe (pictured) over the destruction of illegal structures at a Zanu PF meeting in Harare on Saturday was noteworthy.
Grace castigated the MDC-T-run councils for razing down structures that residents would have spent thousands of dollars putting up accusing it of being inhuman. This would have been well and good had her husband not ordered the destruction of houses around the airport area. For her to cry foul on behalf of the residents against the MDC-T-led council for obeying her husband’s order, stinks of hypocrisy.
Given her proximity to Mugabe, she could have pleaded with her husband for the poor residents to be spared the trauma rather than shedding crocodile tears. By the way has she forgotten her husbund’s Murambatsvina scorched earth policy?