WHAT is worse, having your property invaded, or being called a liar by Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu of all people?
Former first lady Grace Mugabe, the one who vowed to take toppled president Robert Mugabe to the next elections in a wheelbarrow or indeed that he would rule from his grave if needs be, is in need of the nation’s fervent prayers and supplication after suffering that double humiliation this past week. As if it was not bad enough that her Mazowe farm was invaded by gold panners, she has had to suffer the worst humiliation anyone can ever face; having to watch Mpofu accuse her of telling lies. Yes, Mpofu — the self-confessed Willowgate Scandal source — who scandalously described himself sometime back as Mugabe’s “ever obedient son”.
According to reports, panners invaded Grace’s farm. When she confronted them, they started taunting her, even singing that “Kutonga Kwaro” song that once got a whole Vice-President fired from government before he bounced back as the boss through the barrel of the gun. When Grace, shaken by the insults from the commoners she once treated as the scum of the earth or deplorables, reported to the police, she suffered even worse ignominy.
Mpofu, the man who swears to have used nothing but hard work and sheer determination to build an empire in Matabeleland on a civil servant’s wage, called Grace a liar.
That’s enough to cause any self-respecting philanthropist to break down and drench her Persian carpets in tears. A real case of peacocks today, feather dusters tomorrow. Have people already forgotten all her charity work? Just last August, the state-controlled Herald — the flip-flopping latter-day Stalinist Pravda and the editorially higgledy-piggledy Zanu PF mouthpiece — described her as “a loving mother, compassionate philanthropist, astute businesswoman, perceptive politician, remarkable patriot”. Of course, the same paper deified Mugabe, but now pretends to despise him.
Karma a b*tch
Now, six months later, deplorable elements are allowed to sing and dance dirty songs on our own Mary Antoinette’s property. How things have changed! Indeed, what goes around comes around — the consequences of one’s actions will always catch up with them.
Well for Grace, hers was a unique form of philanthropy. It involved leaving children out in the winter cold in order to make way for a children’s home, and evicting a whole community in order to create a game park to benefit the community.
Why people are not grateful that she liberated land from greedy corporates like Interfresh, Muckraker will never know. Who can forget how Interfresh, then listed on the stock exchange, was forced to surrender half its land holdings to Grace, all for the national good?
In total, Interfresh lost land valued at US$27 million, surely a small sacrifice for any patriotic business to pay. Let us not be side tracked by small details like the fact that the company was forced to delist from the stock exchange because it had basically lost everything, resulting in massive job losses. As for the police, they have commendably not yet forgotten everything that the Mugabes taught them.
Last year, when the police was still in more loyal hands, then Home Affairs minister Chombo and police chief Augustine Chihuri simply ignored court orders demanding an end to Grace’s evictions of villagers. For years, police had also been told to ignore Grace’s invasion of nearby farms. So, ZRP must have been totally confused at Grace’s request to stop a farm invasion. Since when did this become a crime? Whoever said karma is a b*tch knew exactly what they were talking about.
There must be widespread jubilation in the Zanu PF ranks, now that the party is gradually becoming the real Zanu PF that they had always known and loved. Since the November coup last year, and the subsequent inauguration of a new leader spewing “open for business” epithets, things have been all a bit confusing to the rank and file of the ruling party. Look, after decades of supporting a party where self-interest, greed, violence and so forth, were not only encouraged, but taken as qualifications for office, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s early talk about running a lean, greed-free, cost-cutting and efficient administration must have caused a high degree of worry among your ordinary Zanu PF cadres.
But all this is being cleared up, as Zanu PF and Mnangagwa slowly shed off all the “reformist” pretences and slowly settle comfortably back into true Zanu PF form. All those promises in December of slashing costs and cutting back on foreign travel are now a thing of the past. In his 2018 budget statement, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa even laid down tough rules; no more business class for all chefs, and foreign embassies must attend some summits in order to lessen travel from Harare. This was not the Zanu PF we knew.
Now, here we are. Mnangagwa has made over a dozen foreign trips in four months, including the latest one on a super-luxury charter to China.
Muckraker is beginning to suspect Mnangagwa is travelling this much, and with such a large delegation, just to make Mugabe jealous. Mugabe himself has only been to Asia once since November, and the sight of Mnangagwa flying off to distant lands with large entourages must be killing him with nostalgia. Meanwhile, isn’t it remarkable how a loss of power has cured whatever it was that used to keep Mugabe visiting Singapore hospitals? If only he had known long ago. Whatever, in Zimbabwe the more things change, the more they remain the same.
Mnangagwa has said he doesn’t want people singing his praises, but how are the masses supposed to resist when the man seems to have superpowers?
Just this week, Sunday Mail informed the nation that Mnangagwa’s forex amnesty “has shored up Zimbabwe’s foreign currency reserves”.
Headlined Forex: ED brings the money, the article conjured up images of a heroic “Cowboy ED”, a bounty hunter straight out of the Wild West, riding victoriously into town, bags of recovered loot astride his trusty horse.
One could mention that this article came out on April Fools’ Day, but let’s have some respect for national superheroes, lest they bring us less money in spite.
In the same paper, we are also informed that Mnangagwa had single-handedly ended the doctors’ strike. “President ends doctors’ strike”, we were told. We were told Mnangagwa had taken swift action. Now, if ending a strike after a month is swift action, we cannot wait to see how long normal action is. This week, we heard that ED had “made half-a-billion dollars” for Zimbabwe, even before he arrived in China. Such heroics.
One recalls George Orwell’s Animal Farm, where Napoleon got credit for everything that happened on the farm.
“It had become usual to give Napoleon the credit for every successful achievement and every stroke of good fortune. You would often hear one hen remark to another, ‘Under the guidance of our Leader, Comrade Napoleon, I have laid five eggs in six days’, or two cows, enjoying a drink at the pool, would exclaim, ‘Thanks to the leadership of Comrade Napoleon, how excellent this water tastes!’”
Let’s just hope that ED, in his eagerness to get Chinese money, doesn’t pull a Napoleon and sell all our farm eggs to Mr Whymper in exchange for a few morsels.
Partisan state media Zanu PF to the core
The other day we read a preposterous comment from the editorially captured and passionately propagandistic Herald unashamedly showing anxiety over why the private media was reporting on the public funds President Emmerson Mnangagwa had been squandering on his recent whirlwind trips in the region and to China in particular.
The poor editorial, which neither had any public interest value in it nor was interesting to the public, claimed that it is none of our business how much Mnangagwa was spending in public funds travelling around as he was likely to spend a couple of millions but bring back billions from China. It was a kindergarten effort written by someone who has no clue about democratic standards of transparency and accountability. Of course, no one was surprised about that. That is how the paper and its editors behave — for theirs is a slavish hero-worshipping job all the way! What is surprising, though, are the political goings-on at the state media. Muckraker was amused to watch a ZBC report in which the discredited broadcaster interviewed its own reporter this week on his partisan political ambitions.
Tendai Munengwa is running for Zanu PF MP in Mt Darwin South, and there he was at a soccer tournament he hosted for voters, being interviewed on a station that he still works for!
Where in the world have you seen or heard that? But it will get worse. We now eagerly await state-controlled Sunday Mail’s Garikai Mazara, also a prospective Zanu PF candidate, interviewing himself in a monologue in the paper about all the good works he plans to do for the people of Guruve. It’s now clear our state media journalists are not just loyal Zanu PF party hacks; they are part of it neck-deep.