HomeAnalysisA paranoid president, new limo and ConCourt drama

A paranoid president, new limo and ConCourt drama

“It appears not even Mnangagwa himself knows how many votes he actually got. One day he won by 50,8%, and the next day he got 50,67%. By Christmas it may be 13%, at this rate. It’s like celebrating your birthday without actually knowing when exactly you were born.”

SO the week began with more news that President Emmerson Mnangagwa has no idea as to who exactly is in charge of the country. Apparently, nobody commanded the soldiers to murder unarmed civilians on the streets of Harare on August 1.

Twitter: @MuckrakerZim

“No one gave orders … there is this perception and it is disjointed. I explained, the army has a strict command structure, I am the commander-in-chief and matters are handled according to the process,” Mnangagwa said in an interview with — as usual — a foreign media house.

His remarks came as a surprise to Zimbabweans everywhere, who up to that moment had been made to believe that the president of the country is the commander-in-chief. Did we not get this drilled down our throats over the old Mugabe years, what with Jonathan Moyo’s “Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces” spiel?

Now, all of a sudden, the commander-in-chief tells us that nobody gave the orders? Who would have imagined that an entire army unit just decided to randomly stroll into town, in armoured personnel carriers and supported by military helicopters, and found itself spraying bullets around with nobody telling them what to do? We knew we had a bit of a problem with lawlessness, but we had no idea it had gotten this bad.
One cannot blame the president for being paranoid, even about carpets. During the Defence Forces Day celebrations Mnangagwa avoided the red carpet that had been rolled out for him. Zimbabweans will recall how his predecessor Robert Mugabe once suffered embarrassment after tripping and falling on the red carpet.

And who knows, there are far too many enemies out there. One can never be sure that there is no miniature landmine under one of those red carpets. As a sly soldier, especially one that escaped into Mozambique in the dead of night and walked 30km through a bush he has never been in before and yet somehow still making it to Beira, the president knows never to take anything for granted.

Which perhaps explains why he is now surrounded by more than 40 bodyguards, who were seen swarming his brand new armour-plated and blast-proof limousine the other day, looking like a pack of overdressed penguins running after a fishing boat.

New limo

Speaking of the ultra-luxurious sedan, the entire nation is in thrall of the new limo. Some detractors are pointing out that the car cost over a million dollars, as if one can ever put a price on the life of the country’s most valuable citizen.

The question of why we are spending US$1 million on a car when that amount could buy one million packs of the basic painkillers that our public hospital pharmacies currently do not have is a question only unpatriotic citizens are asking. The more patriotic ones are happy to see their leader moving in a vehicle befitting his office.

Which self-respecting leader moves around in a Pullman beast these days? Surely a modest vehicle, considering the state of the economy, would have been the rational option.

How can we say we are “open for business” if we are not giving such good business to Mercedes-Benz? The company has been a friend of the nation for years, providing humble transport to many revolutionary leaders over the years. The people are eternally grateful.

Jovial mood?

Zimbabweans were shocked to hear Mnangagwa claim this week that “the entire country was in a jovial mood” during results announcements. The shock is most likely due to the fact that celebrations were hard to find, even in areas where Zanu PF and Mnangagwa had won resoundingly.

It appears not even Mnangagwa himself knows how many votes he actually got. One day he won by 50,8%, and the next day he got 50,67%. By Christmas it may be 13%, at this rate. It’s like celebrating your birthday without actually knowing when exactly you were born.

We are sure that once Zec has decided on what vote exactly to allocate to Mnangagwa, a loud bell will sound from Jongwe building and the entire nation will switch into celebratory mood. So far, the only celebrations we have seen are in the Herald and the Sunday Mail, where the man is being congratulated for his “resounding” decimal point win of 0,8% .

Overzealous tweet

Zanu PF youth league secretary Pupurai Togarepi bit off more than he could chew this week when, in a clear attempt to curry favour with the party leadership, took to micro-blogging site Twitter to pontificate over the decision by the MDC Alliance to bring in lawyers from South Africa for their petition to the ConCourt.

In their application to the ConCourt, the opposition party wants the result of the July 30 presidential elections to be set aside due to irregularities. The judgement will be delivered today.

“Is it a vote of no confidence in our Zimbabwean lawyers that has seen our friends (MDC Alliance) hiring lawyers from the moon?” Togarepi asked without a sense of irony. The hypocrisy of his self-serving tweet was exposed when one responded by asking if it was a vote of no confidence in the country’s youth by Zanu PF when it appointed Togarepi, who is in his fifties, as the party’s youth secretary.

The barrage of criticism of Togarepi’s overzealous tweet did not end there. Some asked him why his party’s leadership had no confidence in the country’s health sector as they always seek treatment outside the country. Others queried why they had to bring in Rwandan expert Clare Akamanzi to get advice on ease of doing business reforms yet the country is endowned with experts in the field. All in all Togarepi’s tweet was exposed for the dog’s breakfast it was.

Muckracker advises the overaged youth leader that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

When all and sundry become law experts

So, the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) drama we had all anticipated ended before it began. In just one day, the entire country became a cesspool of self-qualified lawyers, statisticians and even judges. It’s not like we ever shy away from being experts at things we know nothing about.

Nobody should ever accuse Zimbabweans of not knowing everything. Our troubles have taught us to learn things that other nations have never heard about.

Just a few months back, we became bomb experts who know the trajectory of grenades and how shrapnel travels.

Before then, we were even the world leaders in chromatography, as we explained to the world how an “X” can migrate from one corner of specially-created ballot paper to another, under the correct temperature and humidity of a ballot box.

Not to forget the year we became world beaters in economics, but most particularly in the field of currency movements and “quantitative easing”, which is really just a fancy term for Gideon Gono’s really odd hobby of printing money for fun.

Back in November we were experts in military strategy and the constitutional intricacies of impeachment and resignations.

We are grateful to whoever came up with the idea of showing this week’s legal circus on television. At least now we know how much we were lied to by politicians on all sides.

Those who claimed to have won cleanly obviously didn’t, and those that told the world that they had “overwhelming and embarrassing evidence” of rigging suddenly started coughing up pieces of hair when the judges demanded proof.

At least, in all the mess, ZBC got the most viewers it has ever received since Mugabe’s famous last address to the nation where, instead of announcing his resignation, the doddering nonagenarian instead defiantly vowed to cling on, capping off his speech with the unforgettable “Asante sana” — which is Swahili for thank you.

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