“I took him (Rautenbach) to every high-ranking official he knows today in government. I was part and parcel of it. He said my shares cannot be made public because I am a Zanu PF politician and he will not get funding. He used to pay me. He has stopped and I took the legal route.”
THIS week, two leaders of the Zanu PF youth league were seen in public ranting against corruption. These were sights reminiscent of youths high on “bronco”, shouting at their own reflections in the local fishpond.
Bored by their irrelevance, Godfrey Tsenengamu and Lewis Matutu decided to have some fun. So they called in some journalists, obviously equally bored, for a press conference in Harare, where the likes of Kuda Tagwirei, Billy Rautenbach and Tafadzwa Musarara were accused of corruption.
It was news to many that corruption was now a bad thing. For close to 40 years now, theft and graft have been rewarded with top positions in the country.
If your CV said you may or may not have taken money from the diamond mines, you are likely to end up being the party’s secretary for administration, just to pick a completely unconnected example. Everyone in the Zanu PF leadership has at least five or so corruption scandals that they are most proud of. It is a badge of honour.
Anyone who is clean is treated with suspicion and can never be trusted with leadership.
Some may have forgotten a small matter in 2015, when youths arrived at a school in Caledonia claiming that it had been grabbed in the name of Grace Mugabe, who was the country’s owner at that time.
“The youths allegedly went on to collect school fees amounting to US$70 000 after misrepresenting that they were collecting the money on behalf of Amai Mugabe and converted it to personal use,” one report said at the time.
Perhaps Cde Matutu would be happy to refresh the nation’s memory about that funny little incident, or the other case about extortion of businesses in the Midlands.
Once, we were told that Command Agriculture was some genius plan that would end all hunger in the country and make Zimbabwe the envy of all farming countries all around the world.
So loved was the programme that, at that fateful rally with Mapostori in early November 2017, the original Dr Amai went into a lengthy diatribe to complain about how nobody gave her credit for such a successful programme. Our current owner, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, at the time, had been busy telling everyone who cared to listen just how clever a leader he was by coming up with Command Agriculture.
Now, suddenly, why are we being told that the whole thing, this whole time, was just one big scam?
We were once told that the likes of Tagwirei were the sort of patriotic businessmen that the country needed. Now he is suddenly corrupt? When did this happen? Did this realisation come while he was eating mazondo on a luxury jet to heaven-knows-where with the President of the Republic? Or was it when Sakunda was being awarded fuel contracts at Dema despite losing tenders? Was it also when the government was signing off billions in payments to Sakunda for maize?
According to Tsenengamu, Tagwirei has far too many fingers in far too many pies.
“How then do we have a situation where one person (Tagwirei) controls every sector of the economy? This must come to end today,” Tsenengamu thundered.
He is right. Only Zanu PF should be allowed to loot the country. The party has never been good at handling competition.
Muckraker was amused seeing Temba Mliswa accusing Rautenbach of being corrupt.
One had to make a double take. Surely, this cannot be the same Mliswa that we all know. It must be an imposter.
Because the Temba we all know was, back in 204, jumping all over town demanding US$165 million from the same Rautenbach for the massive job of merely introducing him to his then powerful uncle, Didymus Mutasa.
“I took him (Rautenbach) to every high-ranking official he knows today in government. I was part and parcel of it.
He said my shares cannot be made public because I am a Zanu PF politician and he will not get funding. He used to pay me. He has stopped and I took the legal route,” Mliswa said.
For all his efforts, Temba was paid handsomely, getting US$10 for every tonne of coal mined at Rautenbach’s Hwange and US$5 per tonne of coke. That’s some good pay for merely introducing someone to your uncle.
Some of us, our uncles are in the rural areas, drinking cheap beer under mango trees. Other people’s uncles have handshakes worth hundreds of millions of real dollars. Who would forget Rautenbach accusing Temba of “extortionist tendencies”?
There was even a chopper ride done, as Temba took to the skies in Rautenbach’s helicopter to survey all the land that he could arrange for the businessman.
“I took him to Chisumbanje on a helicopter. What did he think I was doing in that helicopter risking my life? It was not a free ride,” Mliswa said then.
You can accuse Temba of many things, but you can never accuse him of being dishonest about shady deals. He said it himself; he never does anything for free.
War veterans are broke again so, once again, they are sending a fresh invoice to the people that they liberated.
From demobilisation payments at Independence, preferential access to resettlement in the 1980s, to the $50 000 payouts and pensions that destroyed the currency in 1997, Zimbabweans have had to pay many times. It is never enough. It is like a plumber who keeps sending you invoices for a job you already overpaid him for.
Now, war veterans are back with a new invoice. They want to be exempted from paying tollgate fees, so that they move freely in the country they freed. They also want more farms, a surprising demand seeing as they took all of them in 2000. They also want 20% of all the jobs in state companies, and want their children to get preference for jobs.
“We may discussing many things here, but what we really want is money,” a war veteran shouted at public discussions about the proposed War Veterans Bill.
At least the man was honest. They fought for money. We hope they give them US dollars. We cannot go to war to fight for our right to self-determination and sovereignty, only to come back and be paid in our own currency.
More equal than others
At one time, we were told to be grateful to the mujibhas and chimbwidos for liberating us from the clutches of the evil whites. As part of the people, they were the water and the fighters the fish, as Mao Zedong taught us in his seminal guerrilla warfare manual.
Yet, this week, in came war veterans leader Andrew Ndlovu, telling us that these collaborators do not deserve as much credit as we have been told to give them all these years.
“We are military persons, while those are civilians who are (Robert) Mugabe’s creation to combine us so that he could gain political mileage,” Ndlovu said.
“Some of these people (war collaborators) were too young during the liberation struggle and were herding cattle.”
What are we to think, now that over 20 years’ worth of propaganda is suddenly being thrown down the toilet? This is what happens when spaces at the feeding trough start getting fewer and fewer under the New Dispensation. It is now every man for himself.