“We should not expect our leaders to think for us all the time, but we should come up with brilliant ideas and challenge our leadership to fund the business”
ZANU PF’S attempts to foist its catastrophic leadership on the town of Norton failed dismally as its candidate Ronald Chindedza was thrashed by independent candidate Temba Mliswa last Saturday.
Mliswa hammered Chindedza by a margin of 2 735 votes. We are not surprised Mliswa won, given the bankruptcy of Zanu PF’s campaign. It is all well and good to send the party’s heavyweights including the country’s two Vice- Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko to drum up support for the party’s candidate. However, it all falls flat when the heavyweights’ message is centred on protecting those fingered in corruption or threatening to thrash white farmers and saying precious little about what the electorate wants to hear, mainly substantive plans to stem the country’s economic decline and providing jobs.
Zanu PF’s impoverished strategy of dishing out bags of rice or mealie-meal and parceling out housing stands to unemployed youths who cannot even afford a brick will cut no ice with Norton residents. Zimbabweans are looking for solutions to their daily woes, which include queueing in banks for a measly US$50 as the cash shortage worsens.
Zanu PF’s beleaguered political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere tweeted that they had learnt lessons from the chastening defeat. We just hope that they have learnt that addressing the current economic mess they have created and clamping down on corruption is of higher importance to Zimbabweans than doling out stands and other trinkets.
The lesson we have learnt is that without resorting to violence or other forms of coercion in an election campaign, Zanu PF fares dismally.
When Reserve Bank governor John Mangudya was appointed there was hope that he would be a breath of fresh air, unlike the previous regime which will be remembered for burdening Zimbabweans with a US$1,4 billion debt over farm implements dished out to the political elite.
However, Mangudya’s handling of the issue of bond notes leaves a lot to be desired. His refusal to reveal where the bond notes are being printed and the legal details surrounding the surrogate currency will only worsen the skepticism and fears of the transacting public which has borne the brunt of the irresponsible printing of money by the central bank that led to astronomical levels of hyperinflation. His refusal has even led to speculation that the money will be printed locally and this sentiment is worsened by Mnangagwa’s remarks that the government wants money it can control.
Less than a month before the envisaged introduction of bond notes, we have not seen a publicity campaign. The increasingly tetchy Mangudya has even denied that the bond notes are unpopular. He even bizarrely challenged a reporter as to whether a referendum had been held to prove that bond notes are reviled by the majority of Zimbabweans.
This is despite widespread protests against what some have called monopoly money.
There is a strong perception that the central bank will not come clean on the exact details of the US$200 million Afrieximbank facility which will purportedly back the bond notes. There is no term sheet, it has emerged. This adds to the confusion and has all the hallmarks of voodoo economics. Unless Mangudya is more open to the public about the whole procedure around bond notes, this funny money will not be worth the paper it is printed on when it finally comes to the market.
There is never a dull moment with Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, even though his utterances are usually unhelpful and even insulting. Who can forget his offensive remarks criticising able-bodied men for vending when the country’s unemployment rate is over 95% or his arrogant vow that Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo will never have to answer to allegations of misuse of the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund?
The excitable Vice-President was at it again last weekend, telling women to “think outside the box”.
“We should not expect our leaders to think for us all the time, but we should come up with brilliant ideas and challenge our leadership to fund the business”. Which begs the question: what ideas has Mphoko come up with?
Blocking the arrest of those accused of corruption, factional fights and bootlicking President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace are not ideas for business. His advice for women to think outside the box is hypocrisy of the worst kind, given that the government has been at the forefront of closing avenues through its ruinous policies that suffocate business. Mphoko’s brainless utterances have shown that he fits like a glove in Zanu PF’s cabinet of deadwood.
Zanu PF, struggling to raise money for its 16th national talkshop to be held in Masvingo, is taking its begging bowl to parastatals. The party has invited corporates to dine with Mugabe and his wife Grace aimed at fundraising for the annual event.
To have dinner with Mugabe and Grace, corporates must fork out a whopping US$100 000 for 10 people around a “platinum table” and there are five “gold tables” each going for US$50 000. That parastatals, most of which are failing to pay workers and are faring dismally in service delivery, will be at the forefront of funding this event, shows why the country is in such a horrific mess.
It is not as if anything constructive comes out of these yearly Zanu PF conferences which are usually characterised by party hangers-on jostling to praise Mugabe and his wife. It is a platform for party members to feast and come up with resolutions which are never implemented. It is also a platform for Mugabe to posture and attack real and imagined enemies without giving tangible solutions to the economic morass the doddering nonagenarian leader and his clueless government have created.
With parastatals serving as feeding troughs for the party’s demagogues, it is doubtful whether Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa’s plans to privatise parastatals will ever see the light of day.
The fight between the Joice Mujuru-led Zimbabwe People First and the Morgan Tsvangirai- led MDC-T over who should lead the envisaged coalition is now turning into a circus. Addressing a ZimPF rally in Gutu West, the party’s national co-ordinator, Dzikamai Mavhaire, declared it was now time for a female president to take over the reins of power.
“Mugabe has said Tsvangirai can’t lead because he did not fight in the liberation struggle, now Mujuru is here. He said Tsvangirai is not educated, Mujuru has a doctorate … Let’s have a woman for a change, support one of your own. We (men) are backing you for a change,” he said.
Mavhaire’s comments raise eyebrows. What did Zimbabwe benefit from Mujuru’s liberation credentials and doctorate when she was in government for 34 years? It is arrogance in the extreme that Mavhaire demands Mujuru to lead the coalition after being spat out by Zanu PF. Their demands would have carried more weight had they left Zanu PF of their own volition. In the same vein, for the MDC-T to demand that its leader should lead the coalition shows that they have adopted Zanu PF’s habitual intolerance. Instead of tabling demands in the media, the two parties should be discussing the issue among themselves to come up with a solution.
The insatiable lust for power by both parties is laughable as they are acting as if they are already in government. It is like schoolboys fighting over what they would do if they were to pick up money. The opposition parties should be serious and get their house in order before they are swept into the dustbin of history.
short and sweet …
A government terrified of democracy
Paranoia among the security officials surrounding Mugabe plumbed new lows after State security agents barred ballpoint pens or pieces of paper from the venue, probably fearing these could be used to produce offensive banners against President Robert Mugabe at the Lupane State University graduation ceremony last week.
That even journalists from the print media were not spared, as they had their pens seized despite positively identifying themselves using their accreditation cards, shows the establishment fears criticism to the extent of seeing shadows. It is nothing short of ridiculous that pens are now seen as a security threat.
The UZ protestors have been denied their academic certificates – for the crime of waving placards in Mugabe’s face.
It potrays a government terrified of democracy. What a national disgrace!