Time up for Mugabe, there’s no going back

That Mugabe needs to be endorsed almost monthly like payments for DSTV subscription speaks volumes of his insecurity.

“WE, therefore, abhor instances where instruments of state power have been used to brutalise private citizens who share our desire to exercise our constitutionally entrenched rights and freedoms. We categorically reject the notion that those expressing views different to those that we hold are agents of foreign powers and, therefore, enemies of the State.”

MUCKRAKER
Twitter: @MuckrakerZim

These hard-hitting remarks aimed at President Robert Mugabe were not by opposition parties nor were they by protest movements such as Tajamuka/Sesijikile. They were expressed by war veterans, hitherto a pillar of strength for Mugabe and Zanu PF, in a stinging communiqué on Thursday last week. It castigated Mugabe’s dictatorial tendencies, misrule and told him his time was up.

The response to this communiqué was ludicrous even by Zanu PF standards. The statement was “treasonous” and the origins of the communiqué would be investigated, we were told. Suddenly it is now treasonous to tell Mugabe that he has failed as a leader and that he has dragged the country into the doldrums which, of course, is self-evident.

Instead of investigating ways to address the social and economic crisis facing the nation as demanded in the statement, Zanu PF have set up a whole committee to investigate who wrote it. With leaders like these, it is no wonder why the country is in such a dreadful mess.

The meeting on Wednesday held at the Zanu PF headquarters, ostensibly to show the former liberation fighters’ support for Mugabe, did nothing to assure the nonagenarian leader as only a handful of genuine war veterans turned up. To make it worse, Mugabe completely failed to address the issues raised by war veterans last week resorting to attacking the British and the West. Even clergymen and civil society groups of late engaged in peaceful protests were not spared!

The meeting was instructive. That Mugabe now needs to be endorsed almost monthly like paying DSTV subscription speaks volumes of his increasing shaky grip on power and insecurity bordering on paranoia.

Drunken master

It never rains but it pours for Indigenisation minister, Patrick Zhuwao.

Zhuwao was quizzed by the Youth and Indigenisation Parliamentary portfolio committee last week on allegations that he clandestinely engaged Thandi Ngwenya’s Triple Bottom Line Consultancy to craft an economic empowerment strategy.
Instead of giving convincing answers, the dreadlocked minister giggled like a nervous schoolboy to the extent that some of the committee members concluded that he was drunk and chucked him out of the meeting. Whether he was actually drunk or not, this appalling episode is yet another blot on the copybook of Zhuwao’s disastrous ministerial tenure. Zhuwao, who will always be remembered as the minister who shamefully admitted that he could not interpret the indigenisation law he is supposed to administer and thus bungled his job, accused the committee of conducting a witch-hunt, adding that he will answer questions “in a manner unique to Patrick Zhuwao.”

This is what happens when ministers are appointed through nepotism and patronage by their relatives. That the parliamentary portfolio committee meeting turned into a circus is also a damning indictment on Zanu PF’s failure to take parliament business seriously and also an indication of the levels of deadwood MPs and officials teaming the moribund party.

Manheru drivel

Herald columnist Nathaniel Manheru’s claims that people who did not vote for Zanu PF have no right to ask the government to deliver on its 2013 election promise to create 2,2 million jobs are laughable; a clear sign that being reminded of their failure to deliver on the promise is taking its toll on the ruling party.

“One voice that keeps coming into my eardrums with irritating shrill is the demand by the hashtag generation for two million jobs promised by Zanu PF in 2013 polls,” Manheru bleated. “Even the MDCs have joined in demanding those jobs as if Zanu PF owes them a living. You want two million jobs from a minus vote input? Who did you vote for? And why should a Zanu PF government govern to your benefit?”

Surely George Charamba, believed to be Manheru, can do better than this. Such crass ignorance about democracy is inexplicable. Mugabe and Zanu PF must deliver on their manifesto or electoral promises. After elections whoever wins in a democracy governs in the interest of the nation and everybody, including those who didn’t vote for him or her. This is a rudimentary principle of democracy. Even Manheru’s boss who usually finds democracy detestable and confusing understands this, which shows how glaikit or thoughtless the spooky columnist sometimes can be.

Higher education minister Jonathan Moyo also dismissed this ridiculous statement by Manheru on Twitter, saying “The truth (that Mugabe promised to serve all Zimbabweans) doesn’t disappear on account of the personal views of an anonymous columnist.”

Grace Legend making

First Lady Grace Mugabe celebrated her 51st birthday over the weekend and we were not surprised by the great flood of sycophantic messages from government ministers and heads of state enterprises even if the latter are on the verge of collapse through mismanagement and corruption which has bred insolvency.

We also expected the re-writing of history to re-brand Grace as the “unifier” and loving mother of the nation, among many other epithets, which we read through just for that increasingly rare chuckle in these troubled times of economic difficulties.

Nothing, however, could have prepared Muckraker for the serious bootlicking from two of his favourite historians, Midlands Vice-Chancellor Ngwabi Bhebhe and Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda who took turns to spin some yarns about Grace’s “commendable achievements in the business sector as evidenced by the positive impact that your business ventures are making on the Zimbabwean community.” Sibanda even claimed Grace was an “outstanding entrepreneur” who had established her “state-of-the-art dairy business at what was formerly a pristine jungle.”

Of course, everyone knows that despite having received state aid and cornering a captive market Alpha Omega Dairy has failed to fill supermarkets with its products, struggles to pay its workers and is reeling under a massive debt in the region of US$20 million. It is also a fact that this was no virgin land or pristine jungle as more than 1000 hectares were taken from Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed agro producer Interfresh’s Mazoe Citrus Estate — producers of the world famous Mazoe drink.

The land for the dairy was grabbed from white farmers.

Sibanda (in the African Heritage text book) and Bhebhe (From Iron Age to Independence) have both contributed to scholarship on Zimbabwe’s pre and post-independence history but given their part in re-inventing the history of Grace’s accomplishments, Muckraker would be forgiven for thinking their books are also full of fiction. If the history of well-known current events can be re-branded in broad daylight, what more the less known events of the past.

Apart from the two scholars, several other government officials fell over each other with their lavish contributions to the growing Grace Mugabe legend. There’s no telling what we will read about on her 52nd birthday.

Like other dictators and their consorts, we could even be told that Grace — now armed with a fraudulent UZ PhD — chose her own birth date and place in Benoni in the-then apartheid South Africa as a symbolic gesture of her future fight against racism and other forms of oppression. We might even be told that she started speaking at one month and walking after three months — North Korean-style propaganda.

short and sweet…

Black skin, colonial mentality

President Robert Mugabe has spent more than half his long life presenting himself as the perfect antithesis of former Rhodesian Prime Minister and architect of the UDI Ian Smith. But the reality is that the more he tries the more reality betrays the fact that these two gentlemen have always and will remain two sides of the same coin- one simply a darker shade than the other.

Whenever he feels threatened Mugabe has never hesitated to resort to some repressive Smith-era legislation and methods to deal with real or imagined opponents as his Zimbabwe Elections Commission demonstrated this week when they forced Zimbabwe Election Support Network to sign Official Secrets Act (OSA) forms of non-disclosure. This was after they had observed the Mazowe North by-election which was won by Zanu PF’s Martin Dinha. OSA was enacted by Smith in 1970 and is one of many pieces of repressive laws that have served Mugabe so well as have the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act which was re-incarnated as the more repressive Public Order and Security Act in 2002. The more things change, the more they stay the same.