“It was a case of smiling all the way to the bank for civil servants yesterday as the Government honoured its pledge to increase their salaries by 29 percent beginning this month.”
THE economy continues to boom, at least at the Herald House and on Finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s Twitter account where delusionism reigns.
Not long ago, The Sunday Mail ran the headline, “Cheaper basic goods by April”. Prior to that we were told there would soon be free education. The news was met with massive celebrations, especially because The Sunday Mail, The Herald, and ZBC are the most credible news sources in the country, and anything they say cannot be disputed. They would never lie to the people.
Now, with the arrival of April, bread is now selling at $3,50 per loaf, inflation is officially well over 60% and the price of getting drunk is around $12 a bottle in some unpatriotic bars. But, of course, according to our owners, this is all part of a clever plan. How else will we know prosperity if we are not first deprived of it?
This week, according to The Herald, civil servants were in celebratory mood after the government drowned them in money.
“It was a case of smiling all the way to the bank for civil servants yesterday as the Government honoured its pledge to increase their salaries by 29 percent beginning this month,” The Herald dutifully declared, conjuring up scenes of large numbers of civil servants dancing in the streets.
The paper went on: “Nurses, prison officers, members of the Zimbabwe National Army, Zimbabwe Republic Police officers and those from the Air Force of Zimbabwe started accessing their salaries yesterday with an increment of up to $129, depending on grades.”
How much is that money really? Well, with that hefty RTGS$129 increment, civil servants will be able to buy a loaf of bread every day for a month. That is more than most Zimbabweans can afford, placing civil servants right at the top of the country’s top earners.
And our detractors have the nerve to say President Emmerson Mnangagwa has failed?
Speaking of economic recovery, anyone desperate for good news on the economy must look to Finance minister Ncube’s Twitter account.
If he is not quoting himself, or posting stories quoting himself, he is posting pictures of himself with investors, bankers, heads of various international finance institutions, and all sorts of other important people who are stampeding to see Ncube everywhere he goes.
When he goes oversees, foreign TV stations and newspapers have to be held back by heavy police as they battle each other for the right to interview him. He is easily the most sought after Finance minister in Africa.
For Ncube, local newspapers are not good enough to speak to, especially about major issues that affect locals, such as currencies and so forth. He prefers foreign media, who have a better understanding of the Zimbabwe economy than local journalists.
Even Ncube’s boss, Mnangagwa, only had a rare interview this weekend with the national broadcaster, after countless interviews with foreign media.
We all know that, to our leaders, local journalists are good only for writing about Dynamos, Macheso, n’angas (traditional healers) from Chipinge and court stories.
Speaking of the Presidential interview, Muckraker was pleased to learn that our comrades from the People’s Republic of China are now in charge of detecting corruption in Zimbabwe.
In an interview with ZBC, Mnangagwa said he had only been made aware that some Chinese money meant to fix Harare’s rotten water system had been swallowed by chefs. Said our leader: “So, when I met my brother and colleague President Xi Jinping (Chinese President) and discussed this loan. I was not aware that had happened and so I said, ‘Mr President, you gave us this loan, but stopped it before all the money had been fully disbursed’, and he said, ‘My brother, the money was not used for what we had given you for.’ I was not aware people bought cars, some having workshops which had nothing to do with sanitation.”
Up to that point, the nation had assumed that Mnangagwa had, at his disposal, a whole Zimbabwe Republic Police, complete with the CID Serious Fraud Squad, a whole Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, the National Economic Conduct Inspectorate, the National Prosecuting Authority, a fully paid Prosecutor-General, and a shiny new special anti-corruption unit inside the President’s Office.
Yet, it took Xi, thousands of kilometres away, to detect the stench of theft.
We might as well appoint Chinese corruption busters. The only worry is that they execute corrupt people. Such punishment would leave all of Jongwe Building and government offices empty. We would be left with no government.
Waiting for Godot
We are pleased that Mnangagwa is continuing some of the great traditions of former president Robert Mugabe’s regime, beyond the routine stuff such as rank incompetence on the economy and an obsession with foreign trips.
An annual interview with ZBC is something we must all look forward to. For decades, around February, we all gathered around the screen to watch the president spew nothing but hot air. We were pleased this week to see Mnangagwa continuing that long tradition, by giving an interview in which little of substance was said.
It was also good to see Robson Mhandu, a ZBC relic, introducing the interview. We need such patriots. If you are wondering where Mhandu has been, he has been out there serving the nation. In 2013, he stood as a Zanu PF candidate in Chitungwiza North. He claimed to have been “inspired to join politics by the ideals of President Robert Mugabe and the realisation that some of the technocrats and educated people who benefitted from Zanu PF’s education policies have abandoned him and the party”. That’s what Mhandu said at the time.
We hope, behind cameras, he asked Mnangagwa about those who abandoned Mugabe.
As for the interview itself, the nation is asked to just be grateful that, for the first time in over a decade, we saw the President managing to stay awake throughout the interview. This was not always the case.
Forget and smile
Meanwhile, across the road over at the MDC, the opposition party’s secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora has been sounding like how MDC leader Nelson Chamisa sounded after the 2018 elections.
After his party stuck a pin into his over-inflated ambition at the weekend, Mwonzora accused the MDC, Chamisa and his allies of manipulating the process. The playground was uneven, Mwonzora whined, and the ZCTU, which was supposed to run the nominations, was sidelined. The voters’ roll was not released for some nominations and there was intimidation and cheating, he claimed.
It all sounded hilariously familiar. Chamisa obviously dismissed Mwonzora’s claims of rigging. Losers “will naturally be unhappy and bitter” and must accept the result. “When the people have chosen we must all celebrate,” said Chamisa.
Mwonzora must just take Zanu PF’s advice. No matter how cheated you feel, just forget it and move on. Did he not hear Paul Mangwana, who told a Zimbabwe Electoral Commission meeting this week that even Zanu PF supporters accused ZEC of cheating them, only for the party to tell them to move on?
Take a hint, Mukoma Dougie.
As for the MDC, it is a proud milestone. Once a party has started holding dodgy elections, where votes are by show of hands in the presence of the party leader, it is yet another sign that the party is ready for office and a ready replica of Zanu PF.
Parliament degenerates into a circus
It is not every day that Chiefs Council president Fortune Charumbira can be cited for uttering anything other than hot air.
Charumbira’s penchant of putting foot in the mouth earned him a High Court order last year compelling him to apologise publicly for foolishly declaring traditional leaders’ support for the ruling party.
However, last week he decried how useless those who are in Parliament through proportional representation (PR) are.
“Political parties are abusing the PR seats and they have become retirement gifts to some tired people who come into Parliament and do nothing. I know this because I am in Parliament and I see this every day,” he said.
Muckraker not only agrees with this assessment, but will also point out that most MPs are occupied with cheap point-scoring and outright buffoonery.
Preposterous contributions by the likes of Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna, who demanded the execution of people who call for sanctions by firing squad, bears testimony to this. The August House has, indeed, lost its sanctity and now resembles a low-quality pantomime.