GOVERNMENT has this week gone all out, singing the praises of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s achievements in bringing about reforms, one year after the disputed harmonised elections.
Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo and Information permanent secretary Nick Mangwana in long, winding articles in the state media have extolled the virtues of the septuagenarian leader. Mangwana said Mnangagwa has covered much ground in spearheading major economic, social, political and media reforms in his quest to mend international relations and build investor confidence while Moyo said the first year “marks an important milestone for a new administration which has made reform a key priority, seeking to sweep away decades of misrule and mismanagement which had become so synonymous with Zimbabwe during the First Republic”.
However, facts on the ground show a different reality from the rosy picture painted by the two government functionaries as the numbers below will attest.
Zero: the number of soldiers arrested for the brutal killing of civilians on August 1 last year and in mid-January this year despite widespread calls for Mnangagwa to do so.
One: the number of national television stations that have been in existence since Independence in 1980 and has remained so under Mnangagwa despite his government being hailed for bringing significant media reforms. The only national television station has been, of course, ZBC Television which has parroted state propaganda.
Six: the number of people killed by soldiers during the August 1 protests over post-election results.
Seventeen: the number of people killed by security officials in January protests this year after Mnangagwa announced a 150% hike in the price of fuel.
Eighteen: the number of hours of load shedding daily which has crippled industry.
Twenty-one: the number of people arrested on charges of subverting Mnangagwa’s government.
A current level of annual inflation of 175,66%, which is the highest since the introduction of the multi-currency regime in 2009. It is second only to troubled south American country of Venezuela.
Other significant pointers that rubbish claims of Mnangagwa having brought significant political and legal reforms one year on are the arrests of several individuals who have pointed out that Mnangagwa has been a failure as a leader as well as the recent judgement castigating the state media over biased reportage during last year’s elections.
All in all, Mnangagwa’s record of political, legal and media reforms has been nothing short of a dog’s breakfast.
Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa runs the risk of losing the little charisma that is left of his diminishing personality, judging by his misogynist behaviour, which often flares up each time he addresses restless citizens who are itching for a Biblical Moses who can set them free from the bondage of Egypt that Mnangagwa has turned Zimbabwe into.
Addressing an MDC rally last week in Lupane, Chamisa bombastically offered Mnangagwa, along with his two vice-presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi, bottles of choice whisky, elegant women and fertile farms.
For good reason, Chamisa’s careless utterances irked women, who constitute a sizeable chunk of the opposition base, and indeed, all decent men who disdain the mistreatment of women by men who have conspired to ruin Zimbabwe.
But broadly speaking, the youthful opposition leader must be reminded that nothing of what he offered in his not-so-sweet transaction can tempt Mnangagwa, in particular, to gracefully step down, giving up all the trappings of power.
Besides, we are told, the President maintains an admirable drinking regime, only partaking of the wise waters during the first half of the year. So obviously, at this time of the year, the President is in his “dry spell”, as he once told the Financial Times in 2018. He will not need cheap illicit brew, possibly the only alcoholic drink the broke MDC can afford.
The farm offer will also not move Mnangagwa. Our good leader already owns Precabe Farm in Kwekwe, and it will be fair to surmise that he owns several farms elsewhere, in line with Zanu’s policy of multiple farm ownership, which it pretends to correct just before every election campaign.
Victor Matemadanda had earlier set the bar too high for Chamisa, in a contest for uttering the most outrageous statement. He sought to outdo Chamisa, with the obvious consequence of eviscerating the last iota of respect left in the man.
Addressing a gathering of war veterans in Gweru on Saturday, Deputy Defence minister Matemadanda bellowed that government would not hesitate to unleash the military, notorious for its brute force, to quell any planned street protests against Mnangagwa’s administration.
It is all too clear that the men forming the inner core of Mnangagwa’s administration do not have any regrets about the fatal shootings of civilians in January when citizens took to the streets in protest against a 150% fuel increase by government and the general worsening of the economic environment.
The utterances were also a chilling reminder of the August 1 shootings last year, when security agents gunned down scores of civilians demanding the immediate announcement of last year’s election results.
Matemadanda’s careless talk will not help advance Mnangagwa’s re-engagement drive, particularly when the West and Zimbabweans at large are demanding culprits of the shootings to be brought to justice.
There is no better definition of shooting oneself in the foot.
For the avoidance of doubt, please be informed that your government is serious about the fight against corruption. In recent weeks there has been so much news on corruption and arrests made by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, showing the seriousness of government’s commitment to the anti-corruption effort.
Tourism minister Prisca Mupfumira and former director of state residences Douglas Tapfuma were both arrested for abusing their powers. See, they mean serious business.
But this is not the first time for high-ranking government officials to be arrested for abuse of office, with their cases attracting major interest but the cases have just died a natural death. Let’s hope this is not another charade.
Oh by the way, the Zanu PF youths have also been singing the same anti-corruption song, releasing a list of people they say are corrupt.
However, after the release of the list they then went on to clear businessman Tino Machakaire, saying he was innocent. It is not clear, though, what happened to the evidence of corruption they initially claimed to have.
There is no shortage of talk, talk and talk against corruption, but no action at. If there was concrete action, perhaps there would be no need for all the empty talk.
Zanu PF taking Zim back to Medieval Ages
While other nations are competing to come up with the most innovative technologies that can take the world’s industrialisation forward, Zimbabwe has just decided to take its citizens backward.
The ruling Zanu PF decided to bring back brick-and-mud ovens back in style to deal with bread shortages and price hikes.
Why depend on electric-powered ovens in a nation where power outages last up to 18 hours every day? These use firewood, meaning people do not need to be stressed about power cuts before the bread is ready.
To show that this was a carefully thought — out idea, President Mnangagwa, his ministers and Members of Parliament have been pushing for the adoption of the rudimentary bush ovens countrywide.
Small and Medium Enterprise Development minister Sithembiso Nyoni and her Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry counterpart Prisca Mupfumira even commissioned an oven in Makonde district recently.
However, the oven lasted less than 24 hours as the hapless owner ran out of flour.
The party has been celebrating the adoption of these ovens in all provinces. Forget about how the ovens promote deforestation or how unhygienic the process might be, what you want is bread on your tables, and bread you will get.