SENILITY is the physical and mental decline associated with old age, especially the deterioration of cognitive functioning synonymous with ageing.Muckracker was reminded of this word when Zanu PF chairperson and Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri opened her mouth to speak at a meeting over the weekend.
Muchinguri claimed that the deadly novel coronavirus that has wreaked havoc worldwide, killing more than 9 000 people was part of God’s punishment on Western countries, particularly the United States for “paralysing” Zimbabwe’s economy through sanctions.
Muchinguri made the utterances in Chinhoyi on Saturday while addressing members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Collaborators Association (Zilwaco).
This coronavirus that has come are sanctions against the countries that have imposed sanctions on us,” Muchinguri said.
“God is now punishing them now and they are staying indoors now while their economy is screaming like what they did to ours by imposing sanctions on us. (US President Donald) Trump should know that he is not God. They (US) must face the consequences of coronavirus so that they also feel the pain.”
That the virus originated from China, which has stood by Zimbabwe and where there has been one of the highest mortality rate as a result, seemed to have eluded her.
That the pandemic has affected nearly every country, including our neighbours South Africa did not register with Muchinguri. The remarks by Muchinguri, as dangerous and foolish as they are, point to a real possibility that the fourth most powerful person in the ruling Zanu PF may be going senile, if she is not already.
For Muchinguri’s ridiculous remarks are in the mould of the latter years of the late former President Robert Mugabe, who due to old age and senility once mistakenly denounced his own party in front of shocked delegates at its congress in December 2014.
To imagine that this woman, who can utter such drivel, which has global consequences, is in charge of such a strategic ministry is frightening.
Even President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is no stranger to making preposterously embarrassing utterances, moved to distance government from Muchinguri’s unsolicited, offensive remarks.
However, not everyone slammed Muchinguri for her disgraceful remarks. Some hacks from the slavish state media amazingly defended her remarks as “banter”.
Though we know that one has to sing for their supper, especially in state media circles, defending derogatory comments made over thousands of lives lost through the virus as banter goes well beyond the call of duty. In fact, it raises questions and serious concerns whether some of our colleagues are still in full control of their mental faculties.
Just after Muckracker applauded Mnangagwa’s move on Tuesday this week for taking precautionary steps, including banning gatherings of more than 100 people, the septuagenarian leader once again demonstrated the levels of buffoonery that has characterised the so-called new dispensation.
Before the ink on his decree had dried, Mnangagwa gathered thousands of people, at least according to their own counting, in Nyanga for a rally the following day declaring that the ban on gatherings of more than 100 people will begin today instead.
“The ban will come into force on Friday (today) so people can still congregate until Thursday (yesterday) and not breach the ban, hence you have the permission to gather as you have done here,” Mnangagwa said, as if he had some extraterrestrial power to stop the effects of the contagion should it hit the country before today.
The failure to keep his own decree because of his engagements shows the selfishness of the septuagenarian leader, who has put the need to address audiences ahead of the risks of the coronavirus scourge.
The desperation for publicity is only matched by his wife Auxilia, aka “Madam Page Two” (she occupies page two of the slavish state daily The Herald nearly on a daily basis, which gives a blow-by-blow account of her patriotic activities), reportedly on orders from the corridors of power), who has an entourage of fawning state hacks following her every move.
Mugabe, for all his faults (and they were many) could at least maintain a position he took despite most of them dragging the country into the mire.
Under the flaky nature of Mnangagwa’s leadership, the prospects of the country emerging from the doldrums it in are extremely remote
The Political Actors Dialogue (Polad), the platform of political misfits, who garnered less than 3% of votes from the harmonised elections in 2018, has once again been in the spotlight.
MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe is one of the members of the platform that has become more of Mnangagwa’s pet project rather than a grouping that provides concrete solutions to the country’s calamities.
As levels of desperation to remain relevant, as well as to continue to enjoy the trinkets that come from being a member of Polad reaches a crescendo, Khupe pleaded with Western countries that have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe to forgive Mnangagwa, who is accused of human rights abuses, give him a second chance, and treat him the same way the United States and European countries treated other governments.
Khupe, herself a footnote on the political map, did not end there. She also pleaded with MDC leader Nelson Chamisa to join her in the bandwagon of losers. It is heart-rending that Khupe, once a firebrand politician who confronted Zanu PF head-on has been reduced to being Mnangagwa’s poodle that does his bidding.
Western capitals have repeatedly told Mnangagwa that only reforms will ensure full re-engagement.
Khupe and her cohorts in Polad could bark long and loud about forgiveness at the West, but as long as there are no tangible reforms by Mnangagwa’s government, their efforts are about as useful as winking in the dark.
Muckracker nearly bowled over with laughter when the Zanu PF-aligned Broad Alliance Against Sanctions (Bass) this week told Parliament that United States ambassador to Zimbabwe, Brian Nichols tried to bribe them with cars and houses so that they take their anti-sanctions protest to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s door-step.
Calvin Chitsunge, co-founder and chairperson of the group that has been camped at the US embassy in Harare since March 29 last year, told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs, led by Makonde MP Kindness Paradza (Zanu PF), that Nichols tried to bribe them so that they take their sanctions protests to State House and Africa Unity Square.
“They gave us tents and they told us that if we move out of the US embassy premises and pitch our tents at Africa Unity Square near Parliament and at the State House they will reward us with houses and vehicles worth up to US$110 000 each, but we turned that down because we cannot get those goodies while 15 million Zimbabweans are suffering due to sanctions,” he claimed.
Having clowns making such fatuous claims in Parliament is a clumsy way by Zanu PF in their attempts to get sanctions removed. Such theatrics will only embolden the US to keep the restrictions in place and is a classic case of shooting oneself in the foot. As the US Senate pointed out, “The attempts made in Zimbabwe’s parliament yesterday (Tuesday) to impugn the character of our ambassador are shameful. Unlike members of the Zimbabwe regime, handing out cars and houses for political gain is not how the US does business,” hear hear!