ZIMBABWEANS were surprised to learn this week that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s much-touted anti-corruption drive is now being conducted via Facebook.
It all started with William Mutumanje, who calls himself Acie Lumumba, being appointed chairperson of a PR taskforce for the Ministry of Finance. The appointment was met with widespread celebration. If someone, whose claim to fame was a sleazy video, and being arrested for a big mouth or fraudulent things, then there is hope for all of us losers to one day work in government. Equal opportunity for all.
Immediately, Lumumba (Mutumanje is soiling the heroic and original Lumumba’s legacy) hit the ground running, as they say at Munhumutapa Building. As any true communications strategist will do, he grabbed his phone and went on Facebook. He made allegations against some chefs on the top floors of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ). In no time, the RBZ had suspended the officials, purportedly to allow investigations.
Until this happened, Zimbabweans had been under the impression that corruption would be fought via law enforcement agencies and other legal bodies. As it turned out, we were all misinformed.
All this time, the RBZ had been waiting for a Facebook post by a random charlatan to act against allegations of corruption that have dogged the bank.
We now await all other whistle-blowers to go on Facebook Live and make allegations against the corrupt awarding of tenders and some such graft in government. It seems Facebook is the only way to get the authorities’ attention. Not police dockets and normal whistleblowing.
Muckraker was shocked to learn of the reasons given for sacking Lumumba so swiftly.
First, Cde Nick Mangwana, the head honcho at the Ministry of Information and Propaganda, told us: “The Minister of Finance Hon Ncube would like to inform the public that he doesn’t have a spokesperson outside institutions of government.”
And then, while we were still mourning about this, we saw a letter cancelling Lumumba’s contract, on the basis that “new information has come to light over the appropriateness of the appointment”.
It must be news to the nation that “appropriateness” is now suddenly an issue in recruiting people to government. Many will be scratching their heads and wondering when exactly in the history of this great country “appropriateness” ever stopped people from being appointed to jobs for which they do not qualify. In fact, the more inappropriate one is in a post, the more they are likely to be appointed.
Which is why, for example, board members that were on the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration board that was just two weeks ago dissolved on charges of “failure to implement recommendations of an audit report” somehow still got appointed, this week, to the new board of the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe. Who said Zimbabwe is poor at recycling?
This week, the Zanu PF youth league came out wagging a finger at this upstart Mthuli Ncube. Apparently, the man is somehow working against Command Agriculture. According to Lewis Matutu, Zanu PF youth leader, all this RBZ drama is part of a ploy to go after the man funding Command Agriculture.
“The attempt to attack government programmes, particularly command agriculture, under the guise of exposing corruption at the RBZ (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe), is unacceptable,” Matutu was quoted as saying.
Don’t we all just love Command Agriculture? That the taxpayer has spent at least a billion dollars on the programme, whose terms remain opaque, is neither here nor there. Also neither here nor there is the fact that we still have to import grain despite spending all that money. Would it even be a real Zanu PF policy if it was transparent and successful? In any case, Muckraker would be surprised if Mthuli is, indeed, against Command Agriculture. How dumb would Mthuli be to go after his own boss’s favourite toy? The programme was so popular and successful across the nation that our Former National prophetess even gathered together believers from all around the country to tell them that Command Agriculture was her idea all along.
Speaking of matters of faith, Muckraker joins Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga in condemning all these false prophets that have been praying for his demise.
This is what unemployment does to people. Everyone is claiming to be a prophet. One moment you are a bookkeeper at a Mereki butchery, the shop closes down, and the next thing we see you in a pink shirt and white shoes on the street claiming to be God’s spokesman. It’s a pity really.
So we were all happy to see former Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi at Chiwenga’s rural home, declaring how relived he was to see our valiant Vice-President in such fine health after all the fake prophecies flying about on the unruly internets.
“When we came here, some were even whispering, speculating, people were so keen to see you, Vice-President. There was a lot of speculation,” Sekeramayi was quoted as saying. “But when they saw you coming out of your house to attend the church service, the speculation died, people were happy to see you.”
We are happy to see that Sekeramayi no longer believes in such fake spiritual mysticism. He used to be seen barefoot at the foot of hills, clapping his hands in gratitude for diesel oozing from the rocks above. A man can change.
As the Chiwenga himself told the meeting in Hwedza, “how can you say that on the one hand you are practising Satanism and on the other you say you are a prophet, what kind of a prophecy is that?”
We are so blessed to have leaders who believe in one God.
But Chiwenga’s real message lay in his threats against “false prophets” and his hitherto coup allies whom he accused of thinking that “zvavo zvaita — they have comfortably accomplished their mission” and “playing games with this country”. He warned: “Tisaridze ngoma nedemo takagara papfumo — let’s not be dangerously overzealous.”
There you have it folks. Now the battle lines are drawn between Mnangagwa and Chiwenga.
This week, government declared it was allowing companies to import goods from abroad and sell them in our shops. When they import these goods, in United States dollars or the rand, they will somehow still be required to sell them in bond notes and whatever currency it is that we have in our banks. No wonder the nation is increasingly wondering what sort of magic economics Mthuli was teaching at Oxford.
However, some of the people who need to get this memo first are actually inside the government. Beer drinkers who staggered into a bottle store owned by deputy Industry Minister Raj Modi in Bulawayo sobered up quickly when they saw the price tags. There were beers in there being sold only for US dollars.
This, if the government is to be taken seriously, is illegal. Yet, here was a whole minister clearly telling us otherwise. Now is The Raj going to be arrested?
Why is Mnangagwa quiet on Gumbo?
SINCE he came into power, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been posturing as someone who wants to fight corruption. Of course, no one serious believed him on that.
How does he fight corruption when he is surrounded by corrupt cronies?
Mnangagwa was always going to hound his political enemies, not to combat corruption but settle scores. That he did and may continue doing. He has been on Ignatius Chombo, Samuel Undenge and Savior Kasukuwere’s cases. The point is not that these former government bigwigs must not be prosecuted for corruption, but that there must not be selective application of the law.
This brings us to Energy minister Joram Gumbo’s cases. The minister has been entangled in different corruption cases while he was still at the transport portfolio. These include the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (Zinara), Zimbabwe Airways, the Beitbridge-Chirundu highway project and the Zinara allowances scandals.
In each of these cases, the minister was engulfed in corruption storms, either as the alleged offender, defending those accused of corruption or reinstating them back to work. Gumbo has also allowed, ignored or neglected dealing with people accused of corruption firing those who were trying to expose venality.
Mnangagwa must urgently do something about this if he is seriously fighting corruption. Why is he quiet on Gumbo?