“Defending the revolution and our leader and President is an ideal we live for and if need be it is a principle we are prepared to die for.”
A tragedy befell the country last Saturday, when a callous assailant detonated an explosive at a Zanu PF campaign rally addressed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa at White City Stadium in Bulawayo. Two security aides were killed and dozens injured.
In such a tragedy, you expect level heads and maturity. What we saw, instead, was Zanu PF grabbing the opportunity to show us yet again why it is a party run by stone-age politicians.
Where do we even begin?
Well, let’s start with condemning the barbaric act and condolences to the bereaved families. But then, somehow in that whole melee that followed the blast, Zanu PF still managed to rush its VIPs to a private hospital, while sending those deemed to be less important to public hospitals. So, even in tragedy, Zanu PF chefs still cannot resist to segregate the common man. We all saw the pictures of the injured lying on hospital floors at Mpilo and United Bulawayo Hospitals, which are badly equipped government institutions in Bulawayo.
The chefs were in comfortable beds at Mater Dei Hospital. It takes a special breed to have the presence of mind, in the midst of all the chaos we saw at White City, to have the audacity to give themselves preferential treatment. It must be second nature for that lot.
Ready to die
And while we were all still reeling from the tragedy, in came the Zanu PF Youth League. When you hear that the youth league is about to hold a press conference, you best turn down the air conditioning because you know a blast of hot air is about to be unleashed.
Pupurai Togarepi, the Zanu PF youth leader, whose own son is now too old to be a member of the youth league, told us that “youths” were willing to put themselves in harm’s way to defend their leader.
“From now onwards, we offer ourselves as a human shield to our President, to the leadership and to the people of Zimbabwe. We know that they are targeting our President, they want to kill him,” we were told. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? We seem to remember, not long ago, another youth leader full of similarly hot air making the same sort of pledge.
“Defending the revolution and our leader and President is an ideal we live for and if need be it is a principle we are prepared to die for,” Kudzai Chipanga told us last November, in a statement defending his then leader Robert Mugabe.
The remarks had echoes of Nelson Mandela’s historic “I am Prepared to Die” speech during the Rivonia trials just before he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964. Just imagine a charlatan like Chipanga trying to sound like Mandela!
Well, a few days after that we saw a sheepish Chipanga in a dodgy jersey, late at night, issuing an apology to the military naturally after a shock therapy in their custody.
Before Togarepi’s press conference, the Zanu PF Youth League had released a surprisingly mature statement, which called for calm and that the security forces be allowed to do their work. Clearly, Togarepi thought this wouldn’t please his master enough, so he connived to embarrass himself by pulling a Chipanga. We even had war vets demanding to head Mnangagwa’s security.
People never learn, do they?
How exactly does the youth league plan to become a “human shield”? With which weapons? Their standard National Youth Service machetes and knobkerries? Smear themselves with special juju and make themselves bullet proof? Can they catch a grenade for their leader as cowardly and comfort-loving as they are? These Zanu PF hero-worshippers are just a disgrace, they thrive on cultivating personality cults and bootlicking.
The craziness did not end there. We had all hoped for maturity and calm, but anyone who knows The Herald knows they are never late to a circus.
Sure enough, the paper published a picture of Grace Mugabe, suggesting to us that the “V sign” she was making was some sinister celebration of the bomb blast.
You want your newspapers to show restraint to show that they realise the gravity and sensitivity of the matter. You expect them to recognise the need to calm, and not stoke, tensions. But those things happen only when professionals — not hired guns — are editing your papers.
Well, Muckraker cannot claim to have ever seen a newsletter for a travelling circus. But it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to suspect it would read something like The Herald.
As for ZBC’s Rueben Barwe, who asked Mnangagwa whether “people of Bulawayo” were to blame, someone needs to give him a lifetime supply of his favourite sleeveless woollen jerseys and khaki waistcoats, and nudge him gently into quiet retirement. Preferably in Botswana where he used to drive kombis. He still speaks Setswana like Kgosikgolo, a traditional paramount chief.
If Terence Mukupe runs the country’s finances as he runs his own affairs, we are in more trouble than we realise.
This week we learnt that debt and Mukupe have become synonymous. We heard that the deputy Finance minister was sued for almost US$30 000 owed to a school. This lawsuit isn’t to be confused with the one in which Mukupe owes Trust Bank US$32 593, or the case in which a construction company is suing him for US$28 000, or even the one in which a seed company is in court to recover US$15 000 from him.
When a deputy minister of Finance can be so hopeless at handling his finances, the entire nation would be excused for getting that sinking feeling that we are not fixing this economy anytime soon.
But let us be clear about one thing. The man in Zimbabwe fits the billing and is clearly fit for the job, seeing as he manages his affairs in the same way as the government manages its budget.
But then again this is what makes Mnangagwa sound ridiculous when he claims there is new dispensation in Zimbabwe. New economic order with such ministers who can’t even run their own lives? Mukupe is not paying his bills, but is spending loads of money buying T-shirts for his Harare East campaign. So why then do we act surprised when a government that does not pay its workers a living wage is run by a party that somehow has money to buy millions of T-shirts? Why should we cry when a party that cannot buy ambulances somehow has millions to spend on shiny campaign vehicles? Clearly, Mukupe is the right man for the job. Given his track record, Mukupe could soon enter the Zimbabwean lexicon as another word for debt.
Just as you thought the antics of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) could not get any worse, it has placed itself firmly in the spotlight by refusing to publish photographs of the voters on the voters’ roll.
The reason they cited is that voters would feel intimidated and their privacy violated by public exposure. It boggles the mind that Zec, which has now relented, wants to protect voters by withholding pictures, but have no problem registering the addresses of the same voters they are protecting. Surely information revealing where the voters stay is bound to be more open to abuse than the mugshot of the voter. Thankfully, Zec officials have since realised the folly of their ways and released those photos. A credible election is a must; Zimbabweans don’t deserve this funny business by officials who should know better.
But that was before The Herald joined the circus by conducting a laughable “vox pop” on the issue and, lo and behold, all who were interviewed did not want their voters’ roll pictures published, but had no problems with their addresses published. How dull can some people get.
Those who do not mind having their pictures published were nowhere to be found by The Herald reporters apparently. Those who expressed strong views of wanting to avoid being captured on camera on the voters’ roll in the name of privacy were captured by The Herald photographer and published in the paper.
As one reader noted: “The very same people who want their faces to be ‘private’ are publishing their faces in a national newspaper—talk about being daft.”
Muckraker could not agree more. Such stupidity is breathtakingly astonishing!
Delusions and the new dispensation
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya this week showed the extent of the delusion at number 80 Samora Machel Avenue. At an African Development Bank roundtable with the Zimbabwean private sector, Mangudya claimed, with a straight face, that the current pressure on foreign currency is as a result of growing activity in the economy that has seen demand outstripping supply.
That the shortage of foreign currency has been worsened by the introduction of bond notes in 2016 which he lied would be at par with the United States dollar seems to have eluded Mangudya. To say the economy is on the mend when companies are facing closure due to failure to access foreign currency either means that Mangudya continues to make a poor effort of deception or that his head is stuck in the clouds.
It is this kind of disingenuous deceit which confirms that the “new dispensation” is a big fraud.