Austerity for the poor, prosperity for the elites

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War veterans secretary-general Victor Matemadanda speaking during a meeting held at Raylton Sports Club in Harare on July 21. Pic: Shepherd Tozvireva.

THOUSANDS of Zimbabwean drivers are expected to queue outside the Herald offices this week, after revelations that this was the only place in the country where fuel is readily available.

MUCKRAKER
Twitter: @MuckrakerZim

Motorists stuck in what feels like the longest fuel queues in the universe were excited to see a Herald headline proclaiming “Zim has enough fuel: Govt”.

According to the report: “Fuel service stations are getting the normal supplies of a combined eight million litres daily, but panic-buying by motorists in anticipation of a price increase and the festive season have meant that queues continue to exist.”

The report quotes Joram Gumbo, the country’s most credible minister. So, if Gumbo says it, who are we to doubt? Mr “Next Week” always tells the truth, does he not? This reminds one of another honest man, John Mangudya, who told us that “Zim cash shortages are temporary”, about two years ago.

As for the Herald, when has it ever lied? It is the paper of record. If they tell us that there is enough fuel, then surely they must be seeing it somewhere. It can only be somewhere over there at Herald House. Where else?

Muckraker intends to join the rest of the nation in queuing outside Herald House for a full tank.

New disease

This week, the government confirmed our suspicions; our leadership is immune to this new austerity disease that has been brought upon the nation by the Professor of Oxford.

While the rest of the nation is, as Mthuli Ncube and his boss like to put it, “taking the pain”, our leaders are taking the gains. Presenting his budget, Prof Ncube told us that our leaders, having seen our suffering, we are cutting their salaries by a massive 5%. What better way for our loving leaders to show that they are one with the masses than to take such a painful cut on their already meagre salaries? We are such a blessed nation. Or so we thought.

Now we read that, in fact, the salary bill for the Office of the President and Cabinet is actually going up in 2019. The travel expenses are still high. The perks and allowances are still juicy.

In fact, we are told that our new owner is earning a monthly salary that is higher than that of the leaders of rich countries in Europe and Asia. Our leader is the envy of other African leaders, and one imagines he shows them his payslip at one of the many summits he travels to.

The nation, obviously, will be delighted to pay the president a world-class salary, as soon as he shows he is capable of creating a similarly world-class economy.

Presidential age

The country was this week once again shocked to learn that 50-year-old adults are considered to be children in Zimbabwe.

While the legal age of majority is 18, war veterans believe people do not mature until they are around 52. This unique scientific finding by our gallant freedom fighters should interest behavioural scientists from all around the world.

Victor Matemadanda and his war veterans leadership called a press conference to make a declaration: nobody should be allowed to run for president until they are 52.

The very specific minimum age they gave is obviously meant to make sure that the likes of Nelson Chamisa would not be able to run for office for another three elections. But it also means that anyone in the country who is aged below 52 must, henceforth, be declared a minor, and must be deemed unable to make any adult decisions.

This is good news for all people in this age group. Armed with the permission of those who gave us the country, all under-52s are hereby authorised to stop all adult pursuits, like starting families or doing any work at all.

Of course, the worry is that our heroic war veterans seem to be suffering from a particularly aggressive strain of amnesia. Were they not teens during the war? Were they not led by young commanders?

In fact, Mnangagwa would not have qualified to be anywhere near government in 1980, seeing as he was 38 at independence.

Let’s hope the opposition, if this proposal comes to Parliament, will instead propose a maximum age.

Council rot

Speaking of the MDC, Muckraker is always amused to see how quickly the leaders of that party turn into mutes each time the excesses of their party are revealed.

These are people who usually have an opinion about everything. Their “intellectuals” will opine long into the night about every subject brought before them, be it finance or the mating habits of the Kariba bream.

But ask them to explain how their own Harare City councillors, all 45 of them, are feeding off ratepayers’ allowances while service delivery goes down the tubes, and suddenly they cannot talk. Maybe because their mouths are full, and it is considered bad manners to talk while your mouth is full.

The City of Harare presented its budget earlier this week, which shows so many similarities between the way council and government are being run. Salaries, allowances and a bunch of unexplained expenses are gobbling up the bulk of the public’s money in the council. This is familiar; in the government, salaries and allowances are taking up most of the taxpayer’s money.

Let the MDC show us how easy it is to lay off all these extra, overpaid workers at council who are leeching off ratepayers’ money. Is this not the economic wisdom that they recommend to government repeatedly?

Meanwhile, our MPs are reportedly getting more anxious waiting for Mthuli to buy them their cars. Let us just hope the car handover ceremony is held at State House. That way, our noble opposition MPs can have another opportunity to show Mnangagwa that he is illegitimate by boycotting the event.

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