HomeAnalysisTyphoid: Curious case of pot calling the kettle black

Typhoid: Curious case of pot calling the kettle black

“Typhoid is purely caused by poor hygienic practices and, no matter what we do as a ministry, if the issues are not addressed, we fail.”

HEALTH minister David Parirenyatwa has been fuming over the latest typhoid outbreak which has already claimed two lives.

Health minister David Parirenyatwa
Health minister David Parirenyatwa

His pious anger, unsurprisingly, is aimed at the Harare City Council whose appalling service delivery is fit for any hall of shame imaginable.

“Typhoid is purely caused by poor hygienic practices and, no matter what we do as a ministry, if the issues are not addressed, we fail,” the health minister said. This is what happens when a city council and the responsible minister Saviour Kasukuwere spend their time fighting over the appointment of a town clerk at the expense of service delivery.

That Zimbabwe is still plagued by a primitive disease that has been long eradicated around the world is testimony to a rotten and incompetent city council more interested in maintaining its fat paychecks than serving the residents who generate the money in the first place.

While we agree with Parirenyatwa that the service provided by the city council is disgraceful, one can’t help feel it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Parirenyatwa is superintending over a disaster in the health sector where patients have to buy their own drips and bandages and in some cases cannot even access painkillers.

Such has been the calamity that some of the hospitals have been forced to suspend surgical operations. With such a pathetic state of affairs in the health sector, the minister might not want to throw stones when he is in such a fragile glass house!

Muck awards

It is the beginning of a new year and it would be remiss not to reflect on the worst of the muck gathered in 2016 and, boy, is there plenty to choose from!

Most bizarre comment: The year has had its fair share of bizarre comments. Who can forget deputy chief secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Ray Ndhlukula’s comment that, by citing the national pledge, Zimbabweans would automatically see a reduction in corruption? What on earth was Ndhlukula hallucinating on?

Supa Mandiwanzira’s grovelling comment that he was “not super and that Mugabe is super”, a play on the ICT minister’s first name, was a major contender too.

But the most bizarre comment must surely go to the First Lady Grace Mugabe’s declaration that her husband will rule from the grave. This ludicrous comment by the First Lady demonstrated a shallowness that makes a mockery of the PhD she was fraudulently awarded by the University of Zimbabwe.

Most outrageous appointment: The appointment of Mugabe’s son-in-law Simba Chikore as chief operating officer of Air Zimbabwe will be hard to beat. It stinks of nepotism, patronage and shameless abuse of power by Mugabe. That the airline is now referred to as “Air Simbabwe” tells you all you need to know about what the national feeling is over this breathtaking act of blantant cronyism.

Worst performing ministries: Most of the ministries performed dismally during the year but the ministries of Energy and that of Mines had the muck that stood out. The ministry of Energy’s awarding of major power projects to convicted fraudster Wicknell Chivayo who, according to the Zimbabwe Power Company’s presentation to parliament has failed to deliver, was as shameful as they come. Add the payment to Fruitful (or is that fruitless?) Communications run by Zanu PF MP and apologist Psychology Maziwisa for public relations exercises despite the company having a fully-fledged department for such tasks. What about the decision by Zesa to flight an advert congratulating Mugabe for hosting a successful Zanu PF conference before it had even been held? Astonishing stuff!

The Ministry of Mines was not to be outdone. The admission by minister Walter Chidhakwa that the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company was illegally constituted would have been sufficient reason for the minister to resign.

The throwing of corporate governance tenets right out of the window by the ministry’s permanent secretary Francis Gudyanga who parachuted his cronies onto boards under his ministry as well as being the only board member on the boards such that he reported to himself added to the disgraceful performance of the ministry this year. All in all, the two ministries share the Award of Shame in 2016.

Most startling admission of 2016: Mines minister Walter Chidakwa’s admission that the ministry has ignored corporate governance and even the law in some instances comes in with a strong shout. But Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao’s admission that he failed to interpret the indigenisation law he was supposed to administer takes the cake.

That the minister, a beneficiary of Mugabe’s wide web of patronage and nepotism, still remains in office after such admission, speaks to how incompetence is tolerated in government.

Most shameful act of 2016: The bludgeoning of an innocent and defenceless woman by the police on the steps of the Magistrates’ Court when opposition parties were applying for the right to demonstrate, or the beating of innocent revellers by soldiers to try and force bond notes down their throats would be major contenders for this award.

But the hosting of a birthday bash by Mugabe in Masvingo, which is one of the areas hardest hit by drought, takes pole position as the most shameful act in 2016. A staggering picture of a woman picking crumbs on the floor after the US$800 000 birthday bash was one of the most striking images we came across last year, perfectly potraying the insensitivity of the nonagenarian leader.

Most embarrassing explanation of 2016: Mugabe’s explanation that his daughter had gone all the way to Singapore to give birth because she was familiar with the doctors there will go down as one of the lamest excuses given by man.

It would take something extraordinarily daft to outdo Mugabe’s unbelievable excuse. Step forward Chief Superintendent Mthokozisi Manzini Moyo whose excuses for stopping the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) rally to mark the party’s first anniversary will go down as the most preposterous explanation that will be difficult to match.

“Serious threats have been received from various pressure groups through social media inciting people to declare a full war in Zimbabwe starting on September 2, to destroy all police properties, to destroy all roadblocks with fire, to blow up all government vehicles and buildings, attack all members of the prison services and release all prisoners from jail, seize Zimbabwe Revenue Authority by force, shut down all major shops until government changes, prevent all airlines from landing and taking off, allow bus operators to operate at their own risk and to blow up all Zupco buses and ambulances,” Moyo said, peddling nonsensical reasons for illegally dis-allowing the rally. This explanation was not only embarrassing but also revealed deeply entrenched paranoia in the entire system.

Command agric: From one disaster into another

Despite all the hoo-hah about “command agriculture”, a programme ostensibly meant to end all food shortages in the wake of the chaotic land reform, one can always trust the government to do what it does best: blunder all the way.

Agriculture minister Joseph Made recently told parliament that the ambitious programme might be affected by a lack of inputs. This latest brain fade bears a striking resemblance to Reserve Bank-driven agricultural mechanisation programmes, which we were told, ad nauseam, would be the “mother of all farming seasons” and turned out to be the mother of all disasters as it was another calamitous farming venture and left taxpayers with a US$1,4 billion debt for tractors acquired by senior government officials whose identity has been a closely-guarded secret.

It is foolhardy to expect senior mandarins, who have fomented the madness that is still ongoing as evidenced by the Reserve Bank governor John Mangudya having to go to court to save his farm from invasion last year, to be the same chaps to undo the catastrophe.

What more, superintended by a minister who forecast a false bumper harvest after having seen hedges and trees from a helicopter. It is not command agriculture but command disaster.

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