A REVELATION that President Robert Mugabe is renting a luxurious 10-bedroomed villa in Dubai for a staggering US$500 000 a year is yet another reminder of the First Family’s obscene opulence at a time the country’s unemployment rate stands at a staggering 95% .
This was revealed in a legal dispute between First Lady Grace Mugabe and Lebanese businessman Jamal Ahmed over the purchase of a US$1,35 million diamond ring. Ahmed, in his answering affidavit deposed at the High Court last week, revealed that the Mugabes are renting a villa in the upmarket Dubai neighbourhood of Emirates Hill which has been described as “Dubai’s answer to Beverley Hills”.
While this is happening, Zimbabwe’s health sector has collapsed with the general public struggling to access even painkillers from public hospitals and when unemployment has created a nation of street vendors.
You have to remember that Mugabe’s countless trips around the world blew a mind-boggling US$36 million in the first 10 months of last year. And he still wonders why Zimbabweans are increasingly condemning his calamitous leadership failure?
This exposes the hypocrisy of his remarks at the 2015 Independence Day celebrations where he implored civil servants to tighten their belts in the face of economic hardships. Mugabe cannot ask workers to tighten their belts when he is completely removing his.
Zimbabweans deserve better leadership. Norton MP Temba Mliswa clinched the argument in parliament this week when he noted: “In my constituency, people have no money and have no access to (medical) drugs and we cannot have an executive that is corrupt and extravagant, buying very expensive rings when people are suffering.” Hear, hear!
Den of thieves
Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko’s outburst during a recent high-level meeting that cabinet is full of thieves was revealing and confirmed what we have always known.
During the meeting, held on December 20 before Mugabe went on annual leave in the Far East, Mphoko called for the dissolution of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corrruption Commission (Zacc), arguing it was being used as a political tool to target a few senior government officials yet most ministers in cabinet are corrupt.
“Mr President, Zacc must be disbanded. They have become a political tool for some among us. Why is Zacc going after one minister when this room is full of thieves?” queried Mphoko, before gesturing: “There are thieves all over this room.”
He was referring to the investigation by Zacc of Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo over the alleged abuse of the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund.
That Mphoko was defending Moyo by pointing out that there were many more crooks is shocking and signals the level of rot in government. These remarks also reflect badly on Mugabe who has appointed thieves as alleged by Mphoko. It also suggests that theft has become the modus operandi of government business.
The Vice-President’s remarks remind us of the timeless folktale Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves.
As his hangers-on jostle to brownnose Mugabe, we have been exposed to astounding and atrocious levels of bootlicking which range from the imbecilic and blasphemous comments of Zanu PF Youth League secretary Kudzai Chipanga this week calling Mugabe the second Jesus Christ to Webster Shamu loudly wishing he was the nonagenarian leader’s first-born son.
However, Herald columnist Obi Egbuna Jnr Simunye, ensconced comfortably in the United States, took it to a new low, penning a whole article to point out that Mugabe’s trips, which have left a gaping US$70 million hole in the government coffers over the last two years, have inspired Africa.
Such drivel is an insult to those who are failing to access even painkillers in hospitals and to thousands of graduates from the twenty or so universities who have turned to street vending, selling anything from airtime to mealie cobs to eke out a living while Mugabe scurries to Asia for a simple eye check-up.
Egbuna even has the audacity to tell us that had the doddering 92-year-old leader not travelled we would not have heard him tell the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair to “keep your England and I will keep my Zimbabwe” as if that has been of any tangible benefit to Zimbabweans.
This is hogwash writ large. Is stupidity contagious?
It was a very rude welcome to Zimbabwe’s treacherous political terrain for Zimbabwe People First leader Joice Mujuru after her party was trounced in the Bikita West by-election over the weekend.
Yes she was, for nearly four decades, a beneficiary of Zanu PF shenanigans serving as an MP in Mt Darwin and “winning” successive elections despite the grinding poverty and kraal-like classrooms in her constituency. Instead of trying to spin positives from their damaging defeat using ridiculous analogies of Coca-Cola’s humble beginnings, Mujuru must introspect and find a better way of weaning her ZimPF party off the Zanu PF culture that threatens to tear her party asunder.
The ruling party has streak that can also be found in Mujuru’s “opposition party” today as clearly shown by the infighting and jostling for positions now rife in her party.
Mujuru, after amassing a paltry 2 400 votes in the weekend poll, not only cries foul, but goes on to claim she is ready to take on Mugabe and his rigging goons in 2018.
We have a feeling that on the weekends’ showing, she will only be fulfilling the role of “bridesmaid” to Mugabe’s continued stay in power.
Mujuru’s utterances, including a pledge to forgive the nonagenarian leader should she get into power, are enough evidence that she has not yet recovered from the hangover of being Mugabe’s deputy. Mujuru reminds us of the late vice-president Simon Muzenda’s unforgettable remark: “If Mugabe goes, whose deputy will I be?”
The running battles between the Harare City Council and vendors over attempts by the city fathers to “clean-up” the streets are damning indictment of the incompetence of both the local authority and government.
This has resulted in High Court judge Justice David Mangota issuing an interdict stopping the violent blitz on vendors. It is disgraceful that government and council want to use vendors as scapegoats for their dismal failure to carry out their responsibilities.
It is not vendors that have failed to rehabilitate Matapi Flats in Mbare, making the area a health hazard and a breeding ground for primitive diseases such as cholera and typhoid; neither is it the vendors that have failed to provide water and other basic services.
The proliferation of vendors is testimony to Zanu PF’s scandalous failure to provide the 2,2 million jobs it promised in 2013.
SHORT AND SWEET…
Chipanga’s astounding praise-singing abilities
For someone who reportedly holds only three O-level passes, one is tempted to forgive Chipanga.
His political life is anchored on his apple-polishing abilities. Characterising Mugabe, a mere mortal, as only “second to Jesus” is the height of impudence and blasphemy. But then this is Zanu PF and we are talking of Mugabe.
Like Margaret Dongo said back in the day: “Muri vakadzi vaMugabe (you are Mugabe’s wives)”. Edison Zvobgo also noted of the then Zanu PF-dominated parliament: “Half the members in this house are fools”.
When asked to retract his remark, the affable former Justice minister, renowned for his wit, retorted: “Half the members in this house are not fools.”
Now South Africa’s opposition Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema has weighed in, telling Zanu PF party members that they are cowards for failing to tell “grandpa” Mugabe to step down.
Such daft utterances from Chipanga show that the excitable chap is blissfully at home with this clueless bunch.
Malema, doing a spectacular demolition job, added: “When youth movements across the continent are fighting for change, questioning the transformation of liberation movements into old age homes and general gerontocracy, the Zanu PF youth is instead defending and advancing an essentially anti-youth status quo.
This is because there is actually no youth in the Zanu PF youth; what you find are middle-aged men and women, half of whom are suffering from a mid-life crisis.”