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Honoured in foreign lands while your house is on fire

“Indeed, since you took over the office of the President, Zimbabwe has recorded very important milestones, investment has increased, while fiscal deficit has been reduced. In this respect, I am particularly pleased to know that the last economic performance was better than what was expected.

THE nation watched with great pride last weekend as the President of our Republic, Emmerson Mnangagwa, received loud cheers as he entered Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria for the inauguration of South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Twitter: @MuckrakerZim

Other leaders arrived to silence, while ours rocked up to thunderous applause. We would like to hail our state media for capturing this momentous event and plastering it all over the front pages. People of Zimbabwe need to know that their President is actually popular — at least outside the country.

Who can forget those rapturous cheers each time former Robert Mugabe stepped into any South African stadium? We have done it again, producing presidents that are popular. That they are more popular outside their countries than at home is neither here nor there. It is a good thing to hear about loud cheers near our President.

Maybe that will wake him from sleep.

As the people of Zimbabwe, we are delighted to discover that our neighbours think so highly of our President, but hate immigrants fleeing his rule. We are therefore surprised that they allowed him to leave. Surely, they could keep him. We are generous neighbours and would be happy to donate him.


Muckraker was delighted to come across a leftover billboard from the 2018 election campaign. It proclaimed that, once we had voted our mature president into office, there would be electricity everywhere.

If only all that thunder for Mnangagwa at the stadium in Pretoria could generate electricity.

There were many other billboards.

One of them promising “quality healthcare” is so big that our leaders can see them from high up in the sky as they fly to India for, you know, actual quality healthcare. Then we also had billboards promising some sort of industrial revolution and a flood of foreign investment and jobs.

Be patient, our leaders have been telling the people, including their restless supporters.

“Government is seized with the issue and I assure you that the prices will soon fall. Be patient,” Transport minister Joel Biggie Matiza said at a party meeting in Beatrice, when confronted on rising prices by Zanu PF supporters.

Yes, Muckraker joins our leaders in calling for patience. What is a mere 39 years in our efforts to start leading the country? Be patient, we will call you inside to eat, too, when we are done after 50 years.


Zimbabweans have received surprising news that less than 10% of the country is paying ZBC licences.

“The potential licence revenue we are supposed to collect is around ZWL$220 million per annum, but the compliance rate is very low at less than 10%, and what it means is that less than 10% of the country’s population is paying licences,” ZBC chief executive officer Patrick Mavhura told the National Assembly.

This was a huge shock; the surprise being that there are still so many people paying ZBC licences. If it is true that, indeed, 10% of people in Zimbabwe pay ZBC licences, then that is a 10% more than necessary.

Muckraker recalls reading a book about prisoners in 1940s America being infected with all sorts of painful diseases just so that drug companies could create medicines.

It is therefore hard to imagine why anyone would pay someone to torture them. If anything, it is ZBC that should be paying people to watch.

Dear Mthuli, please decree that anyone seen paying ZBC licences must immediately be exempted from paying taxes for 20 years. They have suffered enough.


Tanzanian President John “Bulldozer” Magufuli this week arrived in Harare to dismiss misguided elements claiming that the Zimbabwe economy is not growing.

At a banquet in his honour, Magufuli said the economy was in transition, and was heading for a boom given the current policies of his counterpart’s government.

“Indeed, since you took over the office of the President, Zimbabwe has recorded very important milestones, investment has increased, while fiscal deficit has been reduced. In this respect, I am particularly pleased to know that the last economic performance was better than what was expected,” Magufuli said.

He even whipped out the numbers to prove all the critics wrong.

“I was just reading some of the information, it grew by 3,5% and this year it is expected to grow by 4,2% and next year it is expected to grow by 4,4%. Of course, you cannot measure the growth physically, and normally during the transition period people never feel the changes, but I can assure you, Your Excellency, you are doing the best,” said Magufuli.

Clearly, a foreign president knows better than Zimbabweans themselves how the economy is doing.

We have no idea how Magufuli came to the realisation that the economy is on the mend. Without insinuating much, it has been whispered that at these state banquets, leaders also drink one too many. We now have evidence.

Surplus dirge

Talking of Cde Mthuli, the minister this week came face-to-face with the national sentiment towards his handling of economic issues.

In the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly, he was taken to task by former Finance minister Tendai Biti in an intriguing verbal clash that gripped the imagination of an entire country.

A tenacious Biti — freshly elected as one of two vice-presidents of the opposition MDC — was anxious to debunk one of Ncube’s favourite fallacies these days: that Treasury is doing a sterling job, as evidenced by the recording of a fiscal surplus.

Biti told Ncube that there is no point in celebrating a hollow “surplus” when the economy is in tatters.

He likened it to a parent who boasts about having a surplus of $5 in his pocket — yet he has not paid his children’s school fees. What is the point of such bragging?

“You cannot celebrate a surplus on a cash basis when debts are accruing every day. . . your contention of a surplus is fictitious because you are not using international standards of accrual accounting,” argued Biti.

Ncube tried to repulse Biti, but to no avail. Biti had buttressed his point. And here is the brutal reality of it all: it seems rather whimsical of the minister of Finance to repeatedly boast of a fiscal “surplus” when people are dying like flies in public hospitals that are failing to dispense basic painkillers.

Malnutrition and stunting are decimating children. The maternal mortality rate is among the highest in the world.

Prices are shooting up at an alarming rate. Hunger, disease and despondency are stalking the land—from Zambezi to Limpopo. What is Mthuli’s surplus doing for the orphans of Muzarabani or the dirt-poor dwellers of Epworth?

Congress without military tanks, guns

The MDC concluded its congress on Monday after an eventful weekend that included last-minute bootlicking — some of it almost literal — and victory and loss for some party bigwigs.

Pity poor old Morgen Komichi. His entire pitch for the vice-president post was that he was loyal, calling himself “Father Abraham” and all that. I never strayed from the party, he would tell everyone. Still, in the end, it was those that had once left the MDC that won seats at the feeding trough.

But in a country where democracy scares people, one has to doff a hat to the MDC for at least trying to achieve a semblance of free voting.

Yes, of course, there was some good old manipulation here and there. Would it be a real Zimbabwean election without some standard chicanery?

Even elections for local burial societies are known to be fraudulent.

Still, the MDC congress was far better than what we have seen in another unnamed party, where contestations for power are resolved by guns, axes, military tanks and even an occasional poisoned ice cream.

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