ONCE again the scourge of nepotism, cronyism and patronage has reared its ugly head as President Robert Mugabe’s son-in-law has been appointed Air Zimbabwe chief operating officer.
This latest appointment, on the strength of a marriage certificate, adds to the shameful list of relatives and cronies who have landed top jobs on the basis of kinship rather than professional qualification and experience.
There are repercussions for this sort of behaviour. It will be remembered that his bungling nephew Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao earlier this year conceded he had failed to interpret the indigenisation law he is supposed to administer.
In trying to defend Mugabe, Transport minister Joram Gumbo, without any sense of irony and shame, gushed that Mugabe is his nephew! This confirms that the country is being run like a backyard tuckshop by Mugabe. In appointing his relatives and cronies, the doddering autocrat has irreparably damaged state institutions. The awarding of an instant PhD to his wife Grace, for instance, has forever tarnished the image of the University of Zimbabwe — which is now forever tainted as an institution which can dole out dodgy degrees, like confetti at a wedding, to the high and mighty. Mugabe has also abused his power by blocking an investigation by Parliament into the corrupt Dema electricity deal involving Sakunda Energy which also involves Chikore’s brother Derrick. A pattern has emerged.
It is such shameless nepotism and corruption that has reduced the country to a laughing stock and explains why the economy is in such a catastrophic mess.
Mugabe, we are always reminded ad nauseam, is the chancellor of all state universities.
He came face-to-face with the disgust and frustration of those he was capping at the University of Zimbabwe graduation ceremony on Thursday last week. Former Zimbabwe National Students’ Union president Tonderai Dombo, exercising his democratic rights, took the opportunity to display a placard reminding Mugabe to create the 2,2 million jobs he promised in 2013. “Graduates today, marovha mangwana (loafers tomorrow), tipei mabasa (give us jobs),” the placard read.
Mugabe’s aides, habituated to hearing their boss being adulated as either the second son of God or the equally blasphemous angel Gabriel, leapt to apprehend Dombo as if he had drawn an AK47 rifle.
That Dombo was arrested for expressing his disdain shows how democracy is an alien concept in Mugabe’s world. However, the lunacy would worsen with Dombo being threatened with having his degree withdrawn for freedom of expression.
It is scandalous that fake degrees are brazenly parceled out yet genuine ones are withdrawn at the whim of cornered politicians.
The overreaction to the protest proves the unassailable truism that the truth hurts.
Mugabe’s inept leadership has hemorrhaged jobs on a massive scale, rendering the degrees irrelevant.
Instead of terrorising students for telling the truth, Mugabe and his cabal of hopeless ministers should either shape up and work towards sorting the economic mess they have created or ship out.
Dombo was spot-on: “As a former student leader I felt obliged that I should represent the students I have been leading. The majority of them are fearful to tell the authorities that things are not normal. I realised that someone needed to stand up because keeping silent on such matters makes no sense. We have to speak out against the few elites who have access to the country’s resources. We cannot keep silent when we have been reduced to living like baboons or other wild animals.”
South Africa’s former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni is creating a fund for Zimbos who, in escaping poverty and hunger brought by Mugabe’s ruinous leadership, have swarmed Mzansi’s pavements as beggars.
Mboweni said he is saddened to see hordes of destitute Zimbabweans begging at street corners in that country.
Mboweni’s observation is yet another reminder of the desperate hellhole that Zimbabwe has been reduced to. The mendacious apologist Nathaniel Manheru can howl in protest all he wants, but Mboweni is right: Zimbabwe has become a crying shame in this region.
The reality, of course, is that back home in Zimbabwe everyone has been impoverished—except the likes of Manheru.
Zimbabweans are even begging for their own hard-earned money, as shown by long winding queues at banks. And go to any foreign embassy in Harare and see how desperate the citizens are to escape this man-made disaster.
Despite their world-acclaimed education, long-suffering Zimbabweans are forced to accept the humiliation of terrible working conditions and demeaning menial jobs. This is just so they can feed themselves and have something to send home. But Spinmeister Manheru is firmly ensconced on the gravy train and blind to these brutal realities.
The MDCT celebrated its 17th anniversary last weekend — quite a feat in a country where oppression and intolerance reign supreme.
As MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka has observed, dislodging an analogue leader in the digital age may seem deceptively easy but it is no stroll in the park.
The opposition party has changed Zimbabwean politics in many ways, good and bad. However, a huge blot on the opposition party’s record has been the failure to address the internal succession question. It is well and good for the MDC-T to criticise Zanu PF for failing to address the issue of succession but it is the height of hypocrisy when they continue to stutter and stammer on the same issue in their own party.
Tsvangirai’s remarks on the issue in an interview with our paper last week were instructive. “The leader of the party is elected directly by the people and anyone can contest that post. Because of that, you can then not say there is a plan to have a succession without having the underlining principle of the people choosing their leaders at their appropriate time,” Tsvangirai said. These remarks bear an uncanny resemblance to what Mugabe has been saying to skirt the issue of succession and tighten his grip on power. Should the opposition get into power, the last thing Zimbabweans need is another government whose succession plan is as clear as mud.
short and sweet …
Who will leash the dogs?
Who shall guard the guards? That is the million dollar question after an audit revealed the top-level rot at the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra).
The forensic audit report, compiled by HLB Ruzengwe, has been submitted to Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa for examination and presentation to the government. Ironically, Zimra has been at the forefront of prying into the affairs of corporates and individuals through so-called lifestyle audits — and yet they themselves are mired in stinking graft.
If there is anyone in this country who deserves a lifestyle audit, it is the Zimra bigwigs and their network of cronies who facilitate industrial-scale smuggling, under-invoicing, bribery and other grand crimes while building jaw-dropping mansions and driving supercars. Here is a classic case of a busybody who obsesses with a speck in someone’s eye while conveniently ignoring a log in his own. With such stinking hypocrisy, the taxman has zero credibility.
But will anything ever come of the damning audit? If Mugabe can laugh off the theft of diamonds worth billions of dollars without any arrests, we are not holding our breath over the Zimra audit.