Of veiled threats and fly-by-night tycoons

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ON a tour of a solar plant in Mutoko this past weekend, President Emmerson Mnangagwa was quoted as saying the project was an example of the sort of businesses that we want, not those of the likes of Wicknell Chivayo, who has been failing to put up a similar plant in Gwanda despite being paid millions in tax dollars.

MUCKRAKER
Twitter: @MuckrakerZim

“We need in the future to have committed people who have experience in projects of this nature, not these fly-by-night briefcase businessmen,” Mnangagwa was quoted as saying.

This must have come as a surprise to all the briefcase businessmen who have found the President’s door wide open over the past six months. We were all beginning to think that these are the types of preferred businessmen in the country. From companies with dodgy records, to those with no records at all, Mnangagwa has welcomed them all. Did we not see the Herald hailing all these fellows as some white knight investors coming in to save our economy?

As for Wicknell, the nation must have been pleased to learn that at least Mnangagwa knows about this sordid affair.

Given his inaction on the matter, we were beginning to suspect that perhaps the leader isn’t aware that one guy got millions to build a solar plant, but went and bought shoes instead. He then used the change to build a couple of wooden sheds, just as a final mockery to the government and the rest of us to remind everyone that he is untouchable.

Wicknell must be thanking his luck. Where else in the world do leaders give prior warning to the crooked to change their ways before they are arrested?
Now that Mnangagwa has shown he is aware that Wicknell exists, we await swift action, seeing as the president now repeatedly boasts of a crack anti-corruption unit in his office. Let’s see that unit chase after Wicknell. It’s not like the man can run very far.

Indiscipline

Muckraker was angry to see a group of ungrateful villagers trying to leave Mnangagwa’s Mutoko rally before the man had finished talking.

Surely, if you have been given a free T-shirt, the least you could do is to be grateful, sit in the sun and listen to the president. Is that too much for a leader to ask?

The indiscipline in this country has gone out of hand, clearly. Do people no longer want to hear about Zimbabwe becoming a middle income country by 2030? Do they not want to hear another round of threats to arrest corrupt officials? They don’t want to hear him talking about raking in imaginary billions in foreign investment?

It is disheartening to see supporters at opposition rallies singing and dancing and basically having a ball, while those at the President’s rallies look like they are at one of those tedious rural funerals where lunch is boiled cabbage and the burial is delayed by six hours because the in-laws are demanding some 26-year-old lobola debt.
Someone needs to put a spark in the President’s campaign, real fast. We still have some 40 or so days to go before the end of the campaign. Is he trying to bore us into submission or what?

Sour grapes

There are many husbands in bitter separation from their wives who must be looking at vice-president Kembo Mohadi with a degree of evil envy right now. Some of these men try their best to make the lives of their exes as miserable as possible.

Some take away property, make their wives outcasts from families, or withdraw one benefit or the other, just so they can soothe their bruised masculinity. For Mohadi, his way of getting back at an ex is to make sure she never has a political career of her own.

After the recent ZanuPF primary election, his wife Tambudzani was chosen to stand as Senator for Beitbridge. But Kembo is having none of that. Just days ahead of Nomination Court, she was replaced by another candidate.

In his divorce summons last year, the VP told the court that “the two no longer share any common interests”. It seems Mohadi doesn’t even want them to even share a political party. You are no longer my wife, so you can’t be in my party. A once revolutionary party now reduced to a petty private club driven by the hurt feelings of grumpy old men.

Poor “political novice” Engelbert Rugeje; the ZanuPF commissar must have scratched his box cut in bewilderment when he was told to stay out of Beitbridge.

Over the years, this country has run out of many things. But there is one thing that we have never lacked: comical vice-presidents.

Silly season

It is silly season with the elections just over a month away. From imaginary billions in foreign investment to fibs about US$15 billion funding, the campaigns by presidential candidates Mnangagwa and MDC alliance leader Nelson Chamisa have at times bordered on the bizarre. MDC-T vice-president Elias Mudzuri even claimed at one rally that the late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai visited him in his sleep. This shows that there is no limit to the lunacy during this period to win the hearts and souls of the electorate.

The minority parties are making sure they are playing their part in the circus. Zimbabwe Development Party (ZDP) led by Kisinoti Mukwazhi as well as the Voice of the People (VOP) led by Moreprecision Muzadzi have declared they will not take part in the July 30 election because of an uneven playing field. Their major bone of contention however is neither the voters’ roll nor the printing of ballot papers. It is not even about partisan reporting by the public media. These guys are stewing over not being allowed to get their grubby hands on political party funding. They had applied to the Constitutional Court to get access to funding despite not having a single seat in Parliament.

Chief Justice Luke Malaba in his ruling reminded the political chancers that the formation of a political party is not an income-generating project, warning them against burdening the courts with claims of a share from the election campaign fund awarded in terms of the Political Parties (Finance) Act. That these political upstarts thought that gathering a few family members and buddies and calling themselves a political party qualified them for funding clearly shows that common sense is not common to everyone.

Zec rigging

As the country moves closer to the general elections, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is behaving in a dodgy way as part of its attempts to avoid holding free, fair, transparent and credible elections.

The election body, which behaves like a Zanu PF rigging machine, is ducking and diving all over the place on the voters’ roll, polling stations and sub-polling stations, printing of ballots and the quantity of excess ballots, and many other issues which can have a huge material impact on the outcome of the polls.

Yesterday, Zec had to be ordered by the courts to release the voters’ roll. It has been falsely claiming that most of these demands are not lawful. It now appears the only way to get Zec to cooperate is to go to court. But why should people waste so much time and resources going to court to demand basic things about elections?

By acts of commission and omission, Zec is collaborating in rigging elections through electoral manipulation and fraud.

Most of the elections in Zimbabwe have been characterised by cases of rigging and fraud, courtesy of Zec and its predecessors. But electoral manipulation in Zimbabwe has shifted from merely fraud and malpractices to rigging the political environment itself. Systematic manipulation usually happens prior to election day through demographic shenanigans, disenfranchisement, altering of the playing field and getting people to vote outside their constituencies. When will Zec stop rigging elections? Muckraker suggests vote-rigging be classified as subversion or treason. Perhaps that’s the only way to get Zec and its Zanu PF proxies to stop it!

Elections: ZBC blows own trumpet

After broadcasting the MDC Alliance’s manifesto launch, the ZBC-TV has thrown a party for itself.

“ZBC hailed for covering political parties,” the station gushed. We have seen this before. It is always hilarious when the station wins TV broadcasting awards and shouts to high heaven about it. ZBC even calls itself the “pioneer of local content”.

It is like winning a one-man race and then awarding yourself a medal, then going off on a long lap of honour, waving your flag as if you ever had any competition.

ZBC has defied the constitution for so long, it now congratulates itself for one moment of rare and, as we all know, token and brief professionalism. The constitution requires that ZBC provide objective coverage at all times, not just during the election period. Now that it has shown one single opposition event, we must all buy the chefs at Pockets Hill yellow buns and soft drinks to congratulate them.

These are times when we are all supposed to be grateful for the return of our basic rights, much like thanking a thief that has thrown your wallet back at you.

ZBC is like that lawless kombi driver who, on one rare day, stops at a red light and then wants to be given a cream doughnut for that. Please you don’t get a doughnut for obeying the law.

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