ZIMBABWE, under President Emmerson Mnangagwa, has now become a country of sickening contradictions.Last week, a visiting United Nations special rapporteur on human rights Clement Nyalessosi Voule issued a hard-hitting report on the country’s checkered civil rights record at a time government was desperately attempting to conceal and even deny circumstances around the abduction of Peter Magombeyi.
Magombeyi, who leads the Zimbabwe Hospitals Doctors Association (ZHDA), was abducted by unknown assailants, suspected to be state security agents, tortured and dumped in the middle of nowhere at night.
In the aftermath of his abduction, the state’s propaganda machinery spun an unbelievable yarn, suggesting that Magombeyi, even in the midst of overwhelming evidence that he had suffered a mental disorder, was faking his seizure, Hollywood-style.
Except to say Voule, like any normal human being, did not buy the preposterous nonsense spewed by the state media and other mandarins who mindlessly parrot the government line no matter how absurd.
In a scathing indictment on Zimbabwe’s battered human rights record, he noted: “There is a serious deterioration of the political, economic and social environment since August 2018 resulting in fear, frustration and anxiety among a large number of Zimbabweans.”
He added: “I believe that the long-awaited hopes are fading.”And hope has been fading faster than morning dew on a hot day for Zimbabweans, hard-pressed by a myriad of challenges ranging from prolonged water and power cuts, runaway inflation and widespread company closures and worse of all, a leadership totally bankrupt on ideas.
Tourists who visited Zimbabwe this week, kick-started their itineraries with a first-hand experience of how almost everything has come to a screeching halt in Zimbabwe, together with its comatose economy
At the Robert Mugabe International Airport, named in honour of Zimbabwe’s former president who died in Singapore on September 6, tourists were picking up their luggage from a Massey Ferguson tractor rather than from the carousel.
Whatever the cause could be that has led to the breakdown of the carousel, the incident shows the embarrassing new lows the country has plunged to. With the sight of the tractor, the tourists must have thought for a minute that they had touched down in a maize field instead of the airport!
It makes a mockery of ED’s tired mantra that the country is open for business when the first act by visitors is to extract their luggage from a tractor at the country’s main airport in the capital.
Given the embarrassing state of affairs, it is probably apt that the airport was named after Mugabe whose ruinous leadership turned Zimbabweans form swimmers in the sea of optimism in 1980 to huddled figures in the backwater of despair by the time he was booted out by the military in 2017.
Speaking of tourists and their perception on Zimbabwe, Muckraker this week welcomed a close relative travelling from South Africa who was incensed by government’s decision to ban receiving and sending cash through the mobile transacting platforms.
Government’s decision was informed by the outrageous arbitrage premiums as high as 40% that mobile money agents are charging at a time the Zimbabwean dollar is rapidly losing value against the US dollar.
For a very long time, Zimbabweans have suffered the agony of having to deal with the consequences of the bizarre decisions by the inept authorities in the face of an imploding economy of entirely their own making.
Trying to tame the volatile exchange rate by banning cashing out money via mobile transacting platforms will not restore value in the worthless Zimbabwean dollar. Doing so would be akin to stitching one’s backside to stop diahorrea. It is the economy stupid!
This is what happens when a government introduces a fiat currency and ridiculously declares that it is trading at par with the United States Dollar.
As what has become the norm, the Reserve Bank than sheepishly backed down the next day restricting the amount one can cash out in any transaction to a maximum ZW$100. This indeed is a trial and error. Econet has unsurprisingly taken the confused government to court and time will tell,as it always does, what the courts will make of this putrid mess.
While the lunacy of banning the cashing in and casshing out of money through mobile platforms without providing an alternative for desperate cash seeking Zimbabweans, a failed rhumba-musician-turned minister was being refreshingly honest about his colleagues in the moribund Zanu PF.
Deputy information minister Energy Mutodi, for once, has after having spewed vitriol on various issues, including the shocking claim that civil rights and opposition activists who had abducted are drunkards.
Mutodi tweeted: “Tendai Chirau, ranking an institution and giving it its proper position is not unpatriotic. I don’t know why the ruling party continues to rely on these dunderheads. Probably explains why we have failed in urban constituencies. The youth league is full of crap.”
Chirau is a member of the Zanu PF youth league, he had, prior to Mutodi’s tweet, attempted to downplay the gulf between Midlands State University and Capetown Univeristy, the latter, where the junior minister attained his doctorate.
As the saying goes it take one to know one and Mutodi would know all about being a dunderhead. The confrontation has confirmed what Muckracker has always known which is that the country is doomed with the impoverished leadership of Zanu PF.
ANC starts anti-sanctions campaign the state media screamed on its front page yesterday. The South African Ruling party, African National Congress is gearing up activities for October 25, a day the regional body Sadc has set aside to call for the lifting of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe based on its atrocious disregard of human rights.
Curiously the same regional body has not set aside a day for those Zimbabweans shot and killed by soldiers in August last year and January this year. There has been no day set aside for those who have abducted and in the case of Itai Dzamara was never to be seen again.
The same regional body has also said nothing about the banning of protests by the opposition by a government that has resulted in the indiscriminate beating of citizens, including the aged and women.
It is this sickening hypocrisy that has shunted Sadc into irrelevance. It has become more of an old boys club that sees no evil hears no evil, a toothless bulldog.
In any case as pointed out by the United States ambassador to Zimbabwe, Brian Nichols Mnangagwa’s government should first remove its own sanctions which include corruption and theft of resources before it calls for the removal of restrictions.
During Mugabe’s reign, Zanu PF marched against sanctions to no avail after his government failed to implement reforms. Now Mnangagwa is emulating Mugabe in doing exactly the same. There is a word for it. It is called insanity.