Analogue leaders, typhoid and the return of ‘Cremora’

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“There must be an element of discipline within the party so that the system itself produces a leader who should succeed the leadership.”

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s penchant for globetrotting has increased with the nonagenarian leader blowing a staggering US$36 million in the first 10 months of last year.

MUCKRAKER
Twitter: @MuckrakerZim

This is more than the US$33 million he squandered during the same period in 2015. That this comes at a time the economy is on its knees with a severe liquidity crunch, which has resulted in company closures, massive job losses and the collapse of the health sector with hospitals that have become death traps due to the lack of critical medicine, is indicative of a leader who has no sense whatsoever of his priorities.

Indeed, Mugabe has become the country’s own version of Christopher Columbus. However, unlike Columbus who discovered new territories during his travels, Mugabe’s trips have not resulted in any discoveries, instead spawning poverty as he depletes the government’s revenue base through numerous jaunts bringing back just a bunch of MOUs most of which are not worth the paper they are printed on.

That the trips outweighed expenditure during the same period by key ministries such as Macro-economic Planning and Investment Promotion (US$4,8 million), Energy (US$920 984), Transport (US$5,7 million), Industry (US$7,4 million) and Small and Medium Enterprises (US$4,1 million, Mines (US$19,8 million and Environment, Water and Climate (US$1,6 million) shows why Mugabe is now a national hazard, harmful to the country’s prospects of economic recovery.

To make it worse, some of his ministers are now trooping to his holiday base in Asia for meetings, further burdening the fiscus in this day and age when there are many forms of communication that would be much cheaper and would not require any travel whatsoever.

It is difficult to argue with MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka who asserts that Mugabe is an analogue politician in the digital age.

Chiyangwa chaos

The more things change, the more they remain the same, the saying goes. The dictum came to mind after last Friday’s debacle when the national soccer team players refused to attend a send-off dinner hosted for them before they flew to Gabon to participate in the African Cup of Nations, which kicks off tomorrow demanding their dues.

The embarrassment for Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) president Philip Chiyangwa was made more acute in that Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane had been invited to what turned out to be a farce.

Frustrated by the result of his incompetence, Chiyangwa threatened to replace the whole team, we are told. This, of course, is laughable. Would the replacement players be happy to toil for no pay? Some in the state media even went as far as calling them mercenaries for demanding their money, which, of course, is a load of nonsense. If you pay peanuts you get monkeys. Chiyangwa and company knew well in advance that the team will be participating in the tournament. If anything, Friday’s debacle has shown that just like past Zifa administrations, Chiyangwa, who has even failed to run a shoe company, has honed incompetence into a fine art.

Childish rant

Claims by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere that typhoid in Harare was caused by vendors operating outside the MDC-T’s Harvest House headquarters has shown that the excitable minister struggles to differentiate when to behave with decorum as a cabinet minister and when to clown around as the political commissar of Zanu PF.

The minister’s vapid remarks should be reserved for the party’s rallies and not when discussing serious national problems like the typhoid outbreak. To accuse vendors around that area who sell DVDs, books and belts of causing typhoid mainly found in unwashed food is both petty and foolish and belittles the typhoid crisis that has claimed at least two lives.

Kasukuwere, who has been entangled in fights over the post of town clerk at Harare City Council, has shown that he is more interested in suspending MDC-T councillors than tackling critical issues that include the outbreak of the deadly typhoid. His shallow reasoning makes it hard to believe that he is a law student and makes it easy to believe MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora’s claim that the minister is struggling in his studies for a law degree.

With this calibre of Zanu PF ministers, nobody should wonder why the economy is in such a putrid mess.
Mphoko hypocrisy

Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, in an interview this week with Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation chief reporter Reuben Barwe, waxed lyrical about the urgent need to fight corruption because it hinders development. This is the same Mphoko who last year infamously waded into the corruption saga at the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) after he reportedly ordered the release of acting chief executive officer Engineer Moses Juma and non-executive director Davison Norupiri who were arrested by Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission investigators on allegations of defrauding the parastatal of US$1,3 million in July.

Mphoko arrived in person — John Wayne-style — at Avondale Police Station in Harare where he personally secured the immediate release of the two after describing them as his “boys”, removing his jacket in anger when the police officers at the station had refused to release them. It made a mockery of the anti-corruption body’s investigation.

This makes Mphoko’s pious remarks over corruption hollow. It is no different from a rapist advocating to be the one to counsel his victims. Mphoko should practice what he preaches before spouting off the evils of graft.
Succession

Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda added his voice to the absurdity of forbidding party members from talking about succeeding Mugabe.

Addressing South African media at the African National Congress’ 105th anniversary celebrations in Johannesburg, Mudenda said the succession debate was premature and that party members should not openly display their ambitions to succeed the nonagenarian leader.

“It is a complex one, but my belief is that no new sun rises before the old one sets,” he said, paraphrasing a Ndebele idiom.

“There must be an element of discipline within the party so that the system itself produces a leader who should succeed the leadership.”

Mudenda, of course, did explain how this so-called system will produce a leader. It is embarrassing and moronic that it is taboo in Zanu PF to discuss a doddering 92-year-old whose increasing senility as evidenced by reading wrong speeches, stumbling at various fora and continually undergoing medical check-ups, is there for all to see.

It is the failure to discuss succession that has resulted in factional fights to the extent that what is inscribed on a coffee mug can torch a storm as evidenced by the tiff created by the picture of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa holding a cup inscribed “I’m the boss”. With party members like these, who needs detractors?

The return of ‘Cremora’ the chief jester

It has not taken long for Webster Shamu to find his voice after his suspension from Zanu PF was lifted recently. Sadly, that voice has been found to gush utter tripe.

Addressing mourners at national hero Peter Chanetsa’s funeral wake at Cooksey Hall in Chinhoyi on Friday, Shamu took the opportunity to fawn assiduously about Mugabe .

“Today, you refuse to acknowledge his (Mugabe) leadership? Please, don’t forget history, Mugabe’s leadership did not come from nowhere, it was brought about by ancestral spirits. Apostolic sects have anointed him that is why he is still fit,” Shamu, who was suspended in the aftermath of the 2014 Zanu PF congress for allegedly aligning with deposed former vice-president Joice Mujuru in an alleged plot to topple Mugabe, said.

He also once again branded him Cremora, a coffee creamer. Quite what Nestle, the manufacturers of the product, make of the repeated abuse of their brand by the bootlicking Shamu is anyone’s guess. Such poppycock has become Shamu’s stock in trade. Who can forget his drivel about his wish that he was Mugabe’s first-born son?

Shamu is quickly establishing himself as Zanu PF’s chief jester, fending off stiff competition from the likes of Zanu PF Youth League secretary Kudzai Chipanga who have suggested Mugabe’s national identity card should have the word president affixed to it. As one reader noted, Shamu “spoke more about Mugabe than Chanetsa who he was supposed to be mourning” which all in all is quite pathetic.

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