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Reform: Deception really has its limits


IN New York with other world leaders this week, the nation’s current owner, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, was busy trying to convince everyone that he is just another Robert Mugabe. For anyone who might have been in doubt, he made sure that the police back at home defied a court order.

On the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Mnangagwa held several meetings, one including the head of the Commonwealth, which Zimbabwe wants to re-join. Remember, Zimbabwe pulled out of the Commonwealth in 2003 just because Mugabe woke up in a bad mood after being asked politely not to butcher his people. He decided to leave, instead of abandoning his favourite hobby.

This week, The Herald told us that the “Commonwealth secretary-general Mrs Patricia Scotland has expressed satisfaction with Zimbabwe’s reforms” during a meeting with ED. News that Zimbabwe is reforming must have come as a surprise to the police at the Avenues Clinic in Harare, who had been sent to trash a court order allowing Dr Peter Magombeyi to travel abroad.

The best way to attract investors and show that you are committed to democratic reforms is to obey the law, not to violate it. But, then again, these are rules that only normal governments follow. For countries led by the clueless, telling obvious lies is one genius plan to be taken seriously.
Faked abduction

For days, the nation had been told that Magombeyi had faked it all. We were even informed that he had, for five days, been hiding in the US embassy all along, eating burgers and quaffing free American beer.

This, we were told, was all part of a foreign-sponsored plot to tarnish our government’s obviously spotless image. We were all beginning to believe what our trusted government was telling us. After all, we all know that our trustworthy government never tells lies. The Herald, we all know, is the credible paper of record. So, imagine the shocked faces across the nation upon seeing cops raiding the hospital to stop Magombeyi from travelling.

We then saw in a police court application that the doctor may, in fact, not be fit for travel. First, we thought he had no injuries. Second, since when does illness stop people from travelling abroad in this country? Is this not the major reason for foreign travel among all our owners? The doctor is just emulating our leaders.

Speaking of hospitals, we were puzzled to see in The Herald a headline screaming “normalcy returns to hospitals” after doctors went on strike over their missing colleague.

According to the paper: “Normalcy is returning to public hospitals after health workers who had gone on strike over the alleged disappearance of Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association acting president Dr Peter Magombeyi resumed duties.”

What, exactly, does “normalcy” look like in a local hospital, by the way? No painkillers? No bandages? Demotivated and poorly paid nurses and doctors? Midwifes delivering babies by candlelight?

We hope our colleagues at the Pravda will be so kind as to remind us: what exactly is “normal”? What exactly does it look like? The nation has forgotten. We need reminding.

The nation was elated to see Mthuli Ncube finally put down the false technocratic robes. We first saw him at Esigodini last year, when he looked really awkward trying not to dance too much to Zanu PF songs at the party’s annual conference.

He was just a couple of months into his job then, still pretending to be a non-aligned expert hired to use his genius to single-handedly rescue the economy from years of economic crisis. But, once it became apparent that he was failing at his job, he qualified for full Zanu PF membership. We all know that failure is a requirement for party leadership. All those in the party that doubted his credentials dropped all doubts once it was clear the man was bad at his job. This is the sort of people they like.

Almost a year down the road, last weekend we saw Mthuli, during a meeting with Zanu PF members from the US and Canada, making his public debut as a full member of the ruining party with a couple of “ED pfee 2023, pamberi neZanu PF” slogans.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with a man selecting a party of his choice. Next time, let’s just have a bit of honesty when people are appointed.

Speaking of honesty, where are the “People’s Shops” that were promised by Ncube? Where is the decline in inflation he forecast would start this time of the year? But, then again, we are told lying is a password for entry into Zanu PF headquarters.

What on earth is going on between the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the fat cats who have grown richer since the November 2017 coup? It seems a high-stakes game is unfolding before our very eyes. Or could it be nothing more than a good old game of smoke and mirrors?

It is utterly intriguing to see the central bank purportedly freezing the bank accounts of well-connected companies. If a crime has been committed, surely, we should see people and companies being prosecuted. The tactic of resorting to high-sounding official statements which resemble hot air is quite a tired one. Where a crime has been committed, the public expects the law to take its course.

Talking of sound and fury signifying nothing, Mnangagwa will return to Harare to discover, much to his chagrin, that the parallel market is not as easy to tame as his economic advisers claim.

After arriving in New York, the President proclaimed victory over the forces behind the runaway parallel market forex rate. But, as it turns out, his celebration was shortlived and ill-advised. The exchange rate is far from being tamed, as anyone can now testify.
The laws of economics do not obey decrees.

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