MDC-T leader Nelson Chamisa must be celebrating. For months now, Zanu PF and its attack dogs have virtually ignored Chamisa until he gained the irresistible political momentum. It was so bad that the MDC came out in public complaining that President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his minions were not returning all the fire they were throwing at them.
They began to wonder whether, somewhere in the dark corridors of Zanu PF headquarters, that building which has a nice campaign banner outside of it, but really has no working plumbing, the moribund party was plotting some secret ploy to steal general elections once again to avoid disintegration.
Well, it looks like the attack dogs have finally been unleashed, and Chamisa is now getting the attention that he deserves.
Sometime this week, The Herald had seven separate negative articles — written and packaged Pravda-style — on Chamisa in a single edition of the daily propaganda rag. Evidently, someone is starting to feel the pressure.
We had The Herald reporters stumbling over their tongues to find the choicest insults to describe Chamisa.
“MDC-T faction leader Mr Nelson Chamisa continued his cloud cuckoo land posturing over the weekend when he promised people in Buhera that he would upgrade Murambinda Growth Point into a city as big as Harare within a few months if elected president,” one Herald report said.
The article reminded one of those Fainos Kamunda-style love letters that rural schoolboys used to write, overeager to please local girls with their recently discovered English words.
The energy that The Herald scribes expend when vilifying Chamisa is incredible. Of course, they did the same to Joshua Nkomo, Edgar Tekere and Morgan Tsvangirai. There was an entire editorial during the week accusing Chamisa of being a “bad ambassador for the youth”.
Whole editors told their readers that Chamisa needed “mentors and/or mature advisers”. Well, they also need a few advisers themselves at Brick and Mortar Building.
By now, you would expect state propaganda hacks to know that such endless bashing of a political opponent only wins them more public sympathy and support.
There is no such thing as bad publicity in politics, especially if you are in opposition. But then we have a special breed of reporters over there at Zimpapers. You can bet they are actually congratulating each other for such Soviet-style journalism.
Chamisa must be laughing himself to sleep. He knows he is ruffling feathers at Jongwe Building.
We know the drill. Soon, Chamisa will be accused of every problem under the sun, from this unseasonal rainfall, the crisis in Gaza and eventually treason somehow. So we may soon even be told that he is training bandits in Botswana or that he is from the Great Lakes.
Not that Chamisa has covered himself in glory in London, far from it. He had a torrid time being interviewed by a ruthlessly partisan BBC HardTalk anchor. But Chamisa is lucky that many Zimbabweans now realise that Zanu PF is beyond redemption, and they are desperate to be rid of the lot. This has always been how the MDC-T got a pass from the public.
Generally, people lower their standards when it comes to judging the opposition. It is only natural. They are up against a beast and it is natural for people to root for the underdog.
The advantage is that their many foibles are ignored, and sometimes even excused and cheered. This is how we get folks out there claiming that opposition leader has not really told a few fibs in recent times.
Besides using words like “silly” and “nonsense”, there is nothing unusual about Sackur telling Chamisa his promises had been plucked out of “Alice in Wonderland”. This only problem this time was Sackur’s script which fits on the British project in Zimbabwe now.
Not long ago, Sackur told Walter Mzembi, a bottled smoke salesman in shiny shoes and bright clothes, who masqueraded for years as Tourism minister: “I do sometimes wonder whether you or the Zim government live in an alternative parallel universe”.
But even more amusing are Zanu PF acolytes in the state media trying to squeeze some political capital out of that HardTalk interview.
It is not like anyone at ZBC knows how to conduct a basic television interview. We have not forgotten those former president Robert Mugabe birthday interviews, which must be shown in the “How not to conduct an interview” class for trainee journalists.
We all remember Tazzen Mandizvidza and others before him interviewing Mugabe, giggling like a besotted schoolgirl, while Mugabe droned on and on when answering the only two or three questions that Mandizvidza would actually ask in a one-and-half hours interview — the entire duration of a football match.
The whole country is still shocked to learn that Zanu PF has been rigging elections. Who would have ever imagined Zanu PF cheating? Not this revolutionary party.
The biggest shock for Muckraker was the allegation that Webster Shamu, one of the country’s most patriotic people, was last seen somewhere in Mashonaland West with ready marked ballots flying out of his car windows. What has become of our leading lights of the struggle? But one has to understand how desperate comrades are to be back at the feeding trough, by all means necessary. Shamu has had a hard time since we last saw him. Who can forget seeing Shamu, at that 2014 Zanu PF congress. The poor chap sat there forlornly like that one broke son-in-law who is ignored at family gatherings because he never buys groceries.
What a fall it was for the man who once described Mugabe as “cremora”.
So he has been trying so hard to trace his way back home to Zanu PF, that last refuge of the crooked and talentless.
Muckraker remembers seeing Shamu and his wife at the Zanu PF conference in Victoria Falls in 2015. Having driven all the way there, they found nobody willing to be seen talking to them. So the Shamus bought themselves some lunch, put it on the car trunk and started eating sorrowfully.
And there was that time when Shamu showed up at a Zanu PF meeting in Norton and was denied entry to the area where top chefs were having lunch. Then he devised a plan. He tried to sneak to the podium, perhaps hoping to chant one more “cremora” slogan and get back in favour. Some disrespectful but alert youths caught the trick and cut off the microphone.
Shamu and his wife retreated to their car to eat their packed lunch, yet again.
Who wants such embarrassment? Let the man rig his way back onto the gravy train. He has suffered enough.
Muckraker was pleased to see the solidarity of our ministers this week. They were all so eager to attend a funeral in Shurugwi, they had to bunk less important things, such as answering questions from MPs in Parliament. The funeral in Shurugwi was for the father of Kuda Tagwirei, the head of Sakunda.
No disrespect to the bereaved, but one must wonder why a whole government had to suspend operations to attend this funeral. In fact, Muckraker heard at the mourners’ gathering in Harare on Monday government authorities asked for the funeral to be postponed from Tuesday to Wednesday for President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his officials to be able to attend cabinet on Tuesday and then the funeral on Wednesday. This is what money does to people.
You will recall that Sakunda is the company that has helped secure over a billion dollars for command agriculture, Mnangagwa’s claim to fame.
South Africans must come to Zimbabwe to better understand what state capture really means. If one of the powers-that-be’s close relatives dies, at this rate government will surely be closed for a week.
Long hours in office don’t mean competence
Mnangagwa has really gone all out to create the impression that he is a man seized with national issues.
The latest of such moves is a picture splashed all over state media this week of him and his granddaughters in his office. Zanu PF apologist Nick Mangwana tweeted thus about the picture: “The President is working so hard that his grandchildren had to pop in the office on a Sunday to see him”.
This obvious drivel would wash if there was any tangible difference on the ground. Since coming into office on the back of a military coup in November last year, there has been no change to the cash shortage, high unemployment rate or the liquidity crunch. In fact, prices of basic commodities have increased under his watch.
It begs the question, what on earth does he do at work when there is nothing to show for hours spent in the office?
Play video games perhaps. Mnangagwa’s advisors should probably tell him to deliver more. He must abandon vacuous slogans like “Zimbabwe is open for business” and stop spending time in office taking pictures. As the cliché goes, actions speak louder than words.