“There were attempts by Chamisa fans to spin their candidate out of the hole, posting pictures of Chamisa greeting Kagame. There were even insults thrown at Kagame. But, deep down, even the most fervent Chamisa supporter knew this was just the latest episode in the long-running ‘What Actually Chamisa Meant Was’ comedy series.”
In Zimbabwe, there are several tell-tale signs that the country is drawing close to elections. One obvious one is that people lose their minds, generally. This has been plain to see lately. But another sure and consistent sign is the surfacing of “opinion polls”, mostly of the dodgy variety.
This week, The Herald carried one such opinion poll. We were told: “If Zimbabwe holds harmonised elections today, Zanu PF Presidential candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa will garner 70 percent of the vote against MDC Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa’s 24 percent.”
The source? Something called the Pan African Forum Limited. Just to try and add a sheen of credibility to the laughable spiel, The Herald told us this outfit was a “Kenya-based network of African scholars”.
Except that the “network of African scholars” is just one discredited man. Some readers may remember one David Nyekorach Matsanga, a Ugandan trickster who made the rounds in these parts back in the early 2000s.
At the time, “Dr Nyek” was some PR consultant for Zanu PF through his company called “Africa Strategy”.
After former president Robert Mugabe butchered his way to victory in 2002, he decided he wanted some international public relations. So he hired Matsanga. The man’s previous clients included the murderous rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army which, obviously, meant Matsanga was well-qualified and fit for a Zanu PF job. But it all went sour when Matsanga stepped on former Education minister Jonathan Moyo’s toes by bringing in a UK television crew without a whole Information minister knowing. Next thing we knew, poor old Nyek had been barred from the country and he was squealing about being tortured at the Harare Airport.
Matsanga’s public relations effort included writing a book, Why I support Mugabe, which was treated in serious publishing circles as not even fit for the kids’ comic book shelf.
It was just a joke like his survey which The Herald — our Pravda-style state-controlled daily — took seriously. Well, The Herald is also always a joke, especially around elections. At one point, Matsanga claimed to have obtained samples of Moyo’s hair, which he said were taken to scientists who deduced that Moyo was “94% gay”.
Clearly we are dealing with an unstable man here, with no capacity to conduct an adult conversation, let alone an actual scientific survey.
Any grown man who claims to have stolen another man’s hair is not the sort of man that can be taken seriously by any serious newspaper, save for The Herald where competency in fiction writing and deceit are fundamental pre-requisites for reporters.
Another sign to expect in the countdown to elections is that Zanu PF will get more and more desperate in their promises and lies.
They will deny their failures every day, far quicker than Peter denied his saviour. They will deny ever causing unemployment, which is why we are were told this week that only just over 6% of the country is actually unemployed.
This must have come as surprising news to the hordes of Zimbabweans trying to scratch out a living on the streets.
Not only will they deny causing cash shortages, they will even deny that cash shortages exist at all. One way of doing this is to tell us that the absence of cash, and the proliferation of mobile money, is a major sign of progress. The fact that 95% of our transactions are now electronic is now being touted as a sign of some genius technological vision out of Zanu PF.
It happens every election. There is always some self-inflated spin doctor trying to convince the masses that their suffering is all part of some greater sacrifice. The problem is none of our liberators ever feel the effects of this sacrifice, which is why we saw one counting United States dollars at a rally in Mutare.
Muckraker is reminded of this evil villain in the cartoon Shrek: “Some of you may die, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make”.
You also know that elections are close when even the opposition starts acting weirdly. MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has, quite aptly, called the election campaign period “silly season”. Even Chamisa himself is an actor, however. At a campaign rally in Beitbridge last weekend, Chamisa told supporters that he once advised Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame on his country’s information communication technology (ICT) policy.
Apparently this all happened while Chamisa was on a 2009 trip with Mugabe to the International Telecommunications Union conference in Geneva. It was all going well for Chamisa until Kagame denied he knew Chamisa or that he ever had any such discussion with him. There were attempts by Chamisa fans to spin their candidate out of the hole, posting pictures of Chamisa greeting Kagame. There were even insults thrown at Kagame. But, deep down, even the most fervent Chamisa supporter knew this was just the latest episode in the long-running “What Actually Chamisa Meant Was” comedy series.
It must be tiring, getting angry on behalf of politicians daily.
One has to marvel at the man’s much-publicised tech genius, seeing as any involvement in Rwanda’s ICT policy during the Government of National Unity would have required time travel, mostly because Rwanda’s current ICT policy was approved back in 2000. We can only wait to hear what else Chamisa will credit himself for. He was probably there when Moses was writing down the 10 Commandments.
ED in absentia
After the MDC-T held its “Run for Chamisa” five-kilometre run last weekend, the Zanu PF youth league decided to do the same. They too organised their own “fun run” ahead of Mnangagwa’s visit to Gweru this week.
Not that this is a new idea. Many candidates have resorted to this “run with me” campaign trick, and this includes South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa next door. Except there was one major difference between the MDC-T and the Zanu PF events. While the MDC-T run involved Chamisa himself taking part in some of the running, there was no word from Zanu PF as to whether Mnangagwa would also run. Surely the people deserved to run with their leader.
We have all heard of his athletic prowess. How hard is a mere 5km jog for a man who walked 30km over hills and bushes, in the dead of the night, in landmine-infested Mozambique?
We expected other leaders to join the youths. What’s 5km to an accomplished party leader like Obert Mpofu? We trust the man to always lead from the front.
Mugabe summoning silly Mliswa joke
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy chair Temba Mliswa must take us for fools.
Did he really expect a whole Cde Robert Mugabe — the conqueror of the British in Rhodesia and everywhere else in general — to wake up early in the winter morning, shake off his Egyptian cotton sheets, climb down from his queen size bed, and dodder all the way down to Parliament just to sit in front of mere midgets and explain himself to them?
Mliswa knows that this is unlikely ever going to happen. First, who wants Mugabe and his loose tongue speaking about stolen diamond money in public? Where would the “New Dispensation” hide if he started spewing out sensational stuff about how some of our Junta kingpins profited heavily from Chiadzwa diamonds? Second, we all know the post-coup government is not too keen to be seen making our founding leader too uncomfortable. We have told the world that the man is just fine and, surely, the idea is to keep it that way. Mliswa is obviously grandstanding and trying to raise his own profile. He has never been one to pass up any chance to place himself in the spotlight.
Well, Mugabe is not about to stroke Mliswa’s ego, especially not if it means having to actually wake up early in the morning to go to parliament which tried to impeach him.