ZIMBABWEANS were surprised to learn that they had moved to Level 2 of the lockdown, from no level at all.Announcing an extension of the lockdown last weekend, President Emmerson Mnangagwa caught the nation by surprise when he announced that the country had now entered Level 2 of the restrictions.
People across the country scratched their overgrown heads wondering whether they had fallen asleep for a week and missed an earlier announcement.
It turned out, no levels had been announced previously. Spin doctor like Nick Mangwana had to scramble to do their propaganda backwards, in a desperate quest to make their leader look less inept than he evidently is.
It would seem that, as a nation, we are that bright student who starts primary school in Grade 2, or starts university in second year.
In truth, as we see daily from the press releases they send out, nobody in the Office of the President and Cabinet can actually use a computer. In this case, clearly, someone simply forgot to delete the “Level 2” part when they did their weekly copy-and-paste job.
The story of “Ramakopa” (if you copy your Covid-19 plan from Ramaphosa, you become Ramakopa) used to be an urban joke peddled by bemused citizens; now it is reality.
The week went off to a very good start last Sunday, with Cde Chris Mutsvangwa blessing us with only the latest example of his idleness.
Writing in the Sunday Mail, Mutsvangwa, who fancies himself as a Rambo-like hero of liberation, told the nation that the late Solomon Mujuru was, in fact, not the brave soldier we were always told he was. He was, Mutsvangwa told us, only a “semi-literate” usurper, whose sole “claim to fame was that he was a serial party hopper in exile”.
As for Robert Mugabe, Mutsvangwa told us his only quality was that he had “amassed degrees, all of them adding up to nothing beyond a gripping English eloquence”. Mutsvangwa forgot to tell us how, for 37 years, a whole bunch of grown-ups had kowtowed to a man whose only attribute was speaking good English.
Of course, as usual, in Mutsvangwa’s eyes, only he alone fought the war. Everyone else was there for selfies. Except, of course, as ever, Musvangwa forgot to also detail to us his own role in the war. We are keen to have this whole nasty rumour about comrades missing their underwear each time he passed through an area cleared up as soon as possible.
This week, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube was crowing long and loud about something to do with Zimbabwe being named as one of the most transparent countries when it comes to budgets. The nation is surprised to hear the word “transparency” and “Zimbabwe government” being used in the same sentence. This was the first time it has occurred in the history of the word “transparency”.
The masses had no idea that payments to “Apostle Peter”, made in the name of Command Agriculture, and which were hidden from the public, were a form of transparency.
The nation could swear that it took Members of Parliament to force the government to seek “condonation” for billions of dollars in unbudgeted for expenditure.
“Condonation”, by the way, is just a fancy term for “we spent money that we should not have spent and now we are coming to ask your forgiveness although we will still do it again and again”.
Even Zanu PF must be worried at news that the government is suddenly transparent with how it uses taxpayers’ money. This should, surely, be stopped. If it continues, how else are comrades supposed to chow the benefits of the liberation struggle away from the prying eyes of the unwashed masses?
Still with the chap from Oxford, one has to respect the man’s honesty when he thinks nobody is looking. “Cumulatively, Zimbabwe’s economy could contract by between 15% and 20% during 2019 and 2020. This is a massive contraction with very serious social consequences,” Ncube said in the letter.
That forecast figure, of course, is much bigger than anything he has told the public here at home. So, it is only the IMF that deserves the truth? What else are we not being told about the state of the economy?
After bragging to everyone that he was so good at his job that the nation was swimming in surpluses, he goes and writes a five-page, tear-filled letter to the International Monetary Fund, begging for money.
One is reminded of the loudmouth imbiber at the usual local bar, busy bragging about buying beer while whiling up time so he does not run into the landlord and is forced to beg for another week of leniency to find the late rent.
Muckraker joins the masses of St Peter’s Musami on the momentous occasion of the arrival of 10 litres of hand sanitiser in the district.
It was such a big event, Zanu PF officials forced medical staff at the local hospital to stop the less important work they we doing, such as saving people’s lives, in order to receive the donations from the local Zanu PF chefs.
Naturally, a crew from the ZBC was on hand to beam this earth-shattering, earth-moving development to all the four corners of the country. What we did not hear is when Zanu PF, which in 2018 made sure that everyone had a Mnangagwa T-shirt, even against their will, would use the same level of resource mobilisation to ensure all nurses and doctors have protective clothing. We are surprised to hear that the nation is short of ambulances, when Zanu PF has proven expertise in the enterprise of buying large vehicles.
The country was this week told that the government would enforce a ban on second-hand clothes, because they spread coronavirus.
Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said “the apparent increase in the smuggling of second-hand clothes into the country through border posts such as Mt Selinda and Sango poses unprecedented danger of contracting Covid-19 by those who wear them. Government will henceforth upscale the enforcement of the law banning the importation of second-hand clothes”.
This must come as a surprise to the World Health Organisation. One of the major myths the WHO has dismissed totally is the idea that second-hand clothes can carry the virus.
There is no science to it all. We therefore call upon the police to enforce regulations on people spreading fake news on the virus.
It is a lie peddled by old aunties and uncles in WhatsApp groups. So it is perhaps unsurprising that it would become policy, seeing as the government is actually run by old aunties and uncles.
Coronavirus has done nothing to derail the full circus that is Zimbabwean politics. This week, the latest round of clownery was delivered in the MDC, or the MDC-Alliance, or whatever the name is these days.
Douglas Mwonzora decided to recall four MPs from a party that he does not lead, for crossing over from a party that they never joined. Of course, Speaker Jacob Mudenda grinned from ear-to-ear at seeing Mwonzora’s letter. When you see your enemy threatening to jump over a cliff, the least you can do is give them a nudge. This, of course, is what our leaders are good at. Ask them to play politics, they come running. Ask them to buy a pain killer for a clinic, they go running.
While the rest of the world was focussed on finding a vaccine for coronavirus, Zimbabweans were still wondering how to cure their rotten politics.