THIS week, the people of Zimbabwe finally realised what it takes to get “the listening President,” Emmerson Mnangagwa, to actually listen: put it on British television.
Just as United States President Donald Trump, who only takes something seriously if it is on Fox News, our leader only took notice because of a report on Sky News. All the noises from churches to stop the abuses did not move him one inch, let alone all these reports from local newspapers detailing violence and so forth.
But as soon as some Brit reported it on Sky News, then the man sat up and allegedly tweeted: “I was appalled by today’s Sky News report. That is not the Zimbabwean way. I have instructed that the individuals behind this be arrested and encourage all those impacted to contact the authorities and file an official complaint.”
We say “allegedly tweeted” because his spokesperson George Charamba revealed in a radio interview this week that the only way in which members public can verify whether tweets in Mnangagwa’s name are, indeed, coming from the President is for them to cross-check with him as the spokesperson via cellphone.
That was just the opening bell of the circus. What followed was a series of theatrics that would sweep all the gold trophies at a World’s Most Comical PR Fail Award Show.
First, our leader told us he was concerned by what he had seen on TV. The next day, The Herald told us that Sky News had “manufactured” the story about abuse. While we were still confused, the police spokesperson told us that the video was actually from 2016. And while the nation was still processing this, we were again hit with breaking news: the cop caught on camera savagely beating up a civilian had been arrested.
On the same page of The Herald, we were being told that all these allegations of violence were part of a “coordinated media attack” and also being told to come forward and report abuses.
Chaotic scenes not unlike feeding time in Muckraker’s humble chicken run. Every chicken for itself. Meanwhile, real Zanu PF people are shocked to learn that violence is “not the Zimbabwean way”. Since when? It is such betrayal of tried and tested Zanu PF ideals that will get Mnangagwa impeached.
Facing deaths and high prices, the nation was this week fixated on what is most important: the President’s Twitter account.
It all started last week, when the account tweeted things that are not in line with government policy. “Let’s begin a national dialogue. Let’s put the economy first. Let’s put the people first,” the account posted. These are the things that alarmed the real owners of the country. Putting people first or putting the economy first are just not part of Zanu PF policy. Since when do people matter? So, seeing as everyone has been crying for policy consistency, the real owners of the land immediately dispatched Presidential spokesperson George Charamba, to set the record straight.
“Just when we were in there, the President was drawing my attention to an attempt to, as it were, to put words into his mouth using his Twitter account,” Charamba told bemused reporters. “So, don’t always believe that which is coming through.”
His mission was complete; it was to calm the remaining Zanu PF supporters, lest they panic in the belief that the country had all of a sudden been taken over by reasonable people who actually live in the 21st Century. Well executed, Cde Joji.
There were plenty more reasons to be proud of our country’s Information Ministry this week.
The real owners of the country also sent out another of their brightest minds, the rhumba prodigy and Information deputy minister Energy Mutodi. In an interview with Star FM, the dancing maestro made an important announcement to the people: we must not take anything tweeted by the President’s Twitter account seriously.
And then, clearly by the hand of some reactionary miscreant’s hand, Star FM lost signal while Mutodi was busy dispensing his rare wisdom to the nation.
For a few minutes, the broadcast went dead. It only returned when the interview time was over, with a feeble apology from the station. Strange.
Muckraker joins other patriotic Zimbabweans in calling for an immediate commission of inquiry, with top-level international panellists, to investigate this obvious treasonous behaviour that saw one of our finest minds blacked out on radio. Unless, of course, this was all just a bit of congestion as millions tuned in to listen to the great Mutodi.
The easily excitable deputy minister was far from done. This week, he declared that government would not hesitate to shut down the internet — again.
Only Mutodi could prance around like a peacock over a brazen violation of human rights and wear it like a badge. This, of course, is after he had denied that they had cut off internet connectivity only a fortnight ago. Mnangagwa really knows how to choose them. Who can forget his appointment of Terrence “Cde Chaos” Mukupe as deputy Finance minister?
During his very short tenure, Mukupe found time to manhandle a senior staffer in the ministry over the lack of per diems and will be remembered not so fondly for his contributions in parliament, among which he called for the national soccer team to be detained in the army barracks as punishment for a first-round exit from a continental competition.
Mutodi has easily become an embarrassment for a government that has very little to show in terms of competence. As MDC Alliance spokesperson Jacob Mafume observed: “In fact, Mutodi is a glorified hoodlum and how he finds himself in government is a question for the ages”. Muckraker could not agree more.
Home Affairs Minister Cain Mathema last week confirmed that he has nothing to say, a confirmation that surprised nobody across the nation.
By the way, Mathema’s middle names are “Ndabazekhaya” and “Ginyilitshe” — meaning “stories of home” and “swallow a stone”. Astounding imagery!
Asked by NewsDay to comment on the security forces’ bloody crackdown, Mathema said: “I have no time for the private media or the so-called private media because, for starters, there is nothing called the independent media since they are all foreign sponsored. I do not understand why the private media keep calling and troubling me. My policy for years and since 2004 has not been to entertain the private media. I have nothing to say to the private media.”
Muckraker totally supports the man’s plea to all these foreign-sponsored so-called private media journalists to leave the man alone. If a man has nothing to say, why seek comment from him? Have you ever heard him say anything of value, anywhere? Why then do you try to make him apply his mind? Why do you want him to work that hard? What did Ambassador Ginyilitshe ever do to you?
“I do not understand why the private media keep calling and troubling me,” he whined. Neither do we, Cde Cain. Surely, they have better things to do than call you.
However, the minister could have given an easy answer to that pesky journalist: the police and the army are calling on all those allegedly violated by the police and the army to report to the police and the army, so that the police and the army who allegedly violated people may take action against the police and the army.