HomeAnalysisCabinet confused like a rabbit on headlights

Cabinet confused like a rabbit on headlights

“What you have read in the state media is pure malice, malicious lies. We are denied space in the Herald; they lie about me. What type of a paper is that, whose news is just hatchet job after hatchet job. Which land belonging to youths has been sold?”

IT was not surprising that this week the Zanu PF-led government once again made a spectacular volte-face on its reform proposals just four days after they were publicly presented and announced in parliament.

Twitter: @MuckrakerZim

Last week Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa in his Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review statement announced a series of austerity measures to contain runaway public spending.

However, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister Christopher Mushohwe on Tuesday dismissed this saying the cost-cutting measures were rejected by cabinet and, therefore, there will be no retrenchments, salary cuts and foregoing of bonuses.

It is not the first time Chinamasa has been publicly embarrassed and dismissed on his hardnosed economic proposals by demagogic populists in government who fear an uprising against the bankrupt regime due to his austerity measures.

On the bonus issue last year President Robert Mugabe humiliated Chinamasa saying bonuses will not be withdrawn after he had announced a freeze on them. In any other democratic and functional country Chinamasa would have resigned in frustration.

Sadly ministers in Zimbabwe are kept on a tight leash by Mugabe through patronage as well as the fear of the repercussions should they dare do so.

This clueless government is surely taking the country’s citizens for a ride by this rank madness.

It is difficult to fathom that this bunch of ministers actually meet weekly and have a clue given this noisy and rumbling discord.

It is high time Mugabe and his people stop playing politics with people’s lives and face reality that the government needs to bullet of reform to save the nation and its citizens from this man-made economic catastrophe.

The promised 2,2 million jobs by Zanu PF are looking ever more like a mirage as companies close on a massive scale and jobs haemorrhage left right and centre.

The country does not deserve this micky mouse cabal of kleptocrats masquerading as ministers, policy-makers and administrators.

PhD investigation

We applaud Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo’s remarks at a graduation ceremony in Mutare on Friday last week about the dubious awarding of PhDs.

“The ministry has witnessed with utter dismay a growing trend by some philanthropic organisations awarding PhDs and the recipients of these dubious PhDs going around calling themselves Dr so and so”.

We agree entirely with these sentiments by the minister as we have also noted “with utter dismay” First Lady Grace Mugabe going around the country calling herself “Dr” after attaining an instant PhD from the University of Zimbabwe without having even studied for it.

What makes it even more disgraceful in her case is that she is the wife of the chancellor of all state universities, Mugabe demonstrating the shameless abuse of her husband’s position to get a PhD at lightning speed.

We sincerely hope Moyo probes into this serious abuse of the education system at the top echelons of power. Go for Grace’s fake PhD first minister and launch an investigation into that. That’s your litmus test. Failure will reduce Moyo’s promise to crackdown on dubious PhDs to mere rhetoric.

Media gripe

National Housing minister Saviour Kasukuwere who has been under fire over allegations, which have been published in the state media, of parceling out land to his cronies among them his brother Tongai came out guns blazing denying the accusations in a local privately-owned daily.

What caught our attention, however, was the claim that Kasukuwere who is a cabinet minister has no access to the state media.

“What you have read in the state media is pure malice, malicious lies. We are denied space in the Herald; they lie about me. What type of a paper is that, whose news is just hatchet job after hatchet job. Which land belonging to youths has been sold?” Kasukuwere charged.

This is not the first minister to scurry to the private media to defend himself after accusing the state media of denying him space.

Even Moyo voiced similar frustrations when interviewed by our sister paper The Standard earlier this year.

The complaints by the cabinet ministers who are also members of the ruling Zanu PF politburo of being blacked out and attacked by the state media vindicates the outcry by the public that the state-controlled media have been reduced to propaganda pamphlets, this time not only for the ruling party, but for a faction running the Ministry of Information. It’s a shocking abuse of public assets and power by toxic elements at Munhumutapa Building using their offices to pursue narrow and self-serving factional agendas.

Diamond disaster

Revelations by Chinamasa last week during the presentation of the Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review statement that diamond production at 972, 765 carats is a far cry from the target of six million carats indeed shows that everything government touches turns to rust.

Indeed, since the formation of the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company in which government has a 50% shareholding, it has been a huge circus that just needs the addition of acrobats, trapeze acts and trained animals.

From accounts of employees being fired after polygraph tests as if there are criminals to that of the ministry’s permanent secretary Professor Francis Gudyanga who not only supervises the ZCDC, but is also its acting chairman as well, which means that he literally supervises himself earning thousands in board fees without the board — himself — sitting, it has been one sorry mess.

Gudyanga’s performance during his tenure as Mines secretary has baffled even parliamentarians as he also chairs three parastatal boards that fall under him in a classic case of corporate incest.

The term “Nutty Professor” would suit the permanent secretary like a glove.

Zanu PF arrogance

The full negative impact of the MDC-T’s decision to pull out of the numerous by elections until electoral reforms are implemented continue to be felt.

One such example of the adverse effect of having more Zanu PF representatives was illustrated by the daft remarks of Zanu PF Mpopoma legislator, Joseph Tshuma who is one of the five Zanu PF MP’s who won seats in Bulawayo last year in by-elections boycotted by the opposition.

He insinuated that Bulawayo people were lazy and not aggressive enough in grabbing opportunities, but quick to blame marginalisation for their woes.

Tshuma told pastors at a meeting held at Inyathi Youth Centre on Tuesday last week that he does not understand why people cry marginalisation when they are not grabbing opportunities, preferring to risk life and limb crossing the crocodile-infested Limpopo River to South Africa.

Such remarks show that he is either at sea on what is occurring on the ground or that he is as thick as two planks. What opportunities does he talk about with the high rate of unemployment caused by his party’s ruinous policies? Does he seriously think that anyone enjoys risking life and limb crossing crocodile infested rivers?

People’s Democratic Party provincial spokesperson, Edwin Ndlovu, had this to say about the dunderhead Tshuma’s remarks.

“After getting the Mpopoma seat by default, he should just enjoy the gravy train while it lasts and give us a break.

We know that power corrupts, but for him to be corrupted within a year of being an MP is frightening.”

We could not agree more.

short and sweet …

Good ideas fall on deaf ears

The proposal by the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe that government streamlines its cabinet to just 15 ministers and remove the deputy ministers who are a serious drain on limited resources, though noble are just as good as whistling in the dark.

They are talking to a government which have no qualms about creating a ministry of national heritage and turning the psychomotor industry into a full-fledged ministry, adding to the burden of the taxpayer at a time government’s coffers are virtually empty.

Emcoz’s advice to a government that in the midst of a deepening crisis, appointed Makhosini Hlongwane as minister without portfolio before eventually handing him the Ministry of Sport is an exercise in futility.

They must like many others be feeling rather silly after praising Chinamasa’s austerity measures only for them to be reversed before the ink they were written by has even dried up.

They have surely learnt that Zanu PF is the master of the irrational, a stranger to logic and enemy to progress.

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