HomeAnalysisTussling for political ego in a sinking economy

Tussling for political ego in a sinking economy

“…Chiwenga, using outdated and discredited tactics, is trying to dragoon citizens into submitting to the whims and caprices of an unaccountable elite. To hell with the views of Zimbabweans, because you wield scary guns? Chiwenga and his handlers forget that true security comes from ordinary people’s welfare.”

AS she does every year, Auditor-General Mildred Chiri last week provided empirical evidence that Zimbabwe is now Africa’s greatest kleptocracy.

Twitter: @MuckrakerZim

Sifting through Chiri’s astounding findings, you get to really understand the breathtaking scope and magnitude of the government’s corruption, mismanagement and incompetence.

It reads like a horror story of the total collapse of corporate governance principles. From revelations that a staggering US$570 million was plundered via dodgy loans parcelled out to greedy public officials, to an admission by the National Social Security Authority that land bought for US$3,4 million using pensioners’ money cannot be located, Chiri has done a sterling job of exposing the stinking rot within President Robert Mugabe’s plundering inner circle.

But your guess is as good as ours: Mugabe will not do anything about this industrial-scale looting — despite the glut of evidence. Mugabe and his two deputies Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko continuously waffle about addressing the need to combat corruption, yet do absolutely nothing when presented with unassailable evidence of naked theft.

The failure to react to this shocking abuse of taxpayers’ money once again exposes how utterly toothless the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission is. Indeed, it is a monumental waste of money to keep commissions such as these running, which have shown they have far more bark than bite. This is why Muckraker insists that it was the darkest day in the country’s history when this bunch of shameless thieves was declared winner of the 2013 harmonised elections.

Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, without a doubt, is a chaotic and primitive kleptocracy.

Military intrusion

It is no longer a perception but a fact that Zimbabwe is under the jackboot of military dictatorship.

From a de facto one-party military state, the country is sadly degenerating into a de jure military regime.

Thanks to the faction-controlled propaganda broadsheet, Zimbabweans were this week treated to Defence Forces commander General Constantino Chiwenga’s rambling monologue—amateurishly packaged as an exclusive “interview” even when it was clear that no questions were put to him.

It would be naive to assume that a doddering Mugabe is still in control. It would also be suicidal to believe Mnangagwa has no hand in Chiwenga’s undignified rant.

The 2004 Tsholotsho debacle is rearing its ugly head again, albeit under the false banner of command ideology.

Chiwenga attacked Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo and Youth minister Patrick Zhuwao for expressing their dissatisfaction with the command mantra that has reduced some media outlets to a laughing stock, not to mention other organs of Zanu PF.

The army commander — sounding like an arrogantly superior and disdainful wanna-be ruler — resorted to crude and unpolished language in chiding Moyo for alleged disrespect.

Here is a military commander attempting to muzzle legitimate criticism of a public programme. This is bizarre.

In fact, Chiwenga, using outdated and discredited tactics, is trying to dragoon citizens into submitting to the whims and caprices of an unaccountable elite. To hell with the views of Zimbabweans, because you wield scary guns? Chiwenga and his handlers forget that true security comes from ordinary people’s welfare.

You can see the common thread which runs through all facets of life in Zimbabwe.

The hapless masses are retrenched, brutalised, maimed, killed, fleeced, denied the rights to free expression and free assembly and subjected to unspeakable violence when they call for the removal of a ruinous government. We know what happened in 2008.

Moyo or any other citizen has the right to differ with Mnangagwa.

For Chiwenga to say he is speaking as a citizen with a right to express his opinions and then castigate others for doing the same is hypocrisy writ large. Mnangagwa or Chiwenga should not be riled when Moyo tweets or when Zhuwao speaks against them — it is their democratic and constitutional right.

Criticising the actions of public officials does not make you an enemy of the state. It simply means you do not agree with the way public affairs are being handled.

In a chilling remark, Chiwenga says Moyo is now exactly at a point where he wants him to be. Which point is this one? Such ominous threats bode ill for the national mood as Zimbabwe enters the 2018 election season. And in that connection, what is the reason of holding elections next year if some military commanders are going to wade into the political arena with such impunity?

Chiwenga boasts that he is educated. Let his conduct show that.

Silent coup

When a military commander threatens civilians, the entire nation should take note. And what do we make of the cheerleaders of this macabre display?

Zimpapers editors have been transformed into command barrack journalists. It would not surprise anyone to read the Herald or Sunday Mail, one of these days, giving Chiwenga glorifying titles such as “The Lion of Zimbabwe, The King of Kings, Commander Par Excellence of Southern Africa, The Conqueror of Professors, The Master Puppet of Commandism, blah blah blah.”

Military bases should not be turned into command centres for election rigging and dictatorship. The world is watching.

Whither opposition?

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, more than anyone else, should now understand the dynamics of Zimbabwe’s political tragi-comedy, having been a victim of it time and again.

Tsvangirai showed the extent of his naivety in an interview with this paper last week when he claimed, with no sense of irony, that the army now trusts him. This is the same army whose commader, Chiwenga, recently referred to Zanu PF as “our party” and the same army which has clearly nailed its colours to the Zanu PF mast, as shown by its unrelenting involvement in the ruling party’s programmes. The impoverished mentality being displayed by Tsvangirai gives credence to former United States ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, who observed that Tsvangirai needs massive hand-holding. The political terrain is already skewed heavily against the opposition without being further weakened by Tsvangirai’s vapid views. That he wants to lead the coalition of opposition parties when he expresses such warped beliefs begs the question: whither opposition?

Chinx snub

Dick Chingaira, known as Cde Chinx, was denied national hero status, with Zanu PF making him a liberation war hero.

He joins the likes of Ndabaningi Sithole, Wilfred Mhanda (Dzino Machingura), among others, who deserved to be interred at the National Heroes’ Acre but were barred on the whim of Mugabe and his cabal. And yet the likes of Elliot Manyika and Border Gezi were buried at the Heroes’ Acre.

Music was integral to Zimbabwe’s liberation war; some were inspired to join the struggle by Chinx’s songs. It is a shame the regime recognises thugs as heroes. No wonder why the distinguished liberator, Welshman Mabhena, made it clear that he did not want to be buried with thieves at the national shrine. Cde Chinx is an undisputed national hero.

Sadly not in Mugabe’s books who has, as he does everything else, personalised the Heroes’ Acre to bury his cronies.

May his soul rest in peace. We appreciate Edgar Tekere, who revealed in his book A Lifetime of Struggle that Mugabe didn’t know how to wear combat gear or hold a gun, choosing to be glued to his safari suits in front of other comrades in the bush. Is Mugabe a greater hero than the likes of Chinx who were at the warfront?

Manheru’s sunset good riddance

Herald columnist Nathaniel Manheru aka George Charamba has revealed that his long, rambling diatribes will no longer pollute our Saturdays. Manheru will be remembered for resorting to vulgar sexual metaphors in his sleep-inducing articles. Perhaps he could now try his hand at penning scripts for pornographic movies.

He will also be remembered for his bizarre arguments, most notably when he declared that Zanu PF has no duty to create jobs for MDC-T supporters, and his laughable denial of the existence of factions in Zanu PF. To Manheru, Muckraker says good riddance to bad rubbish. Go forever, you badly schooled wordsmith, and don’t you dare resurrect.

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