MUCKRAKER is always baffled by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s choice of some of the people he works with as their actions are not only contrary to his mantra of a “new dispensation”, but are also an affront to common sense and human decency.
After the bizarre remarks by Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri that the Covid-19 pandemic, which has cost hundreds of thousands of lives globally, was divine punishment for countries that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe, it seemed the dross emanating from the corridors of power could not get any worse.
However, one can always count on the excitable failed rhumba musician, also known as Deputy Information minister Energy Mutodi, to continuously raise the bar in blurting out the most outrageous of things.
In a desperate bid to brown-nose Mnangagwa, he said the septuagenarian leader has been better than his Tanzanian counterpart John Magufuli, in containing the coronavirus pandemic.
“His Excellency John Pombe Magufuli’s Tanzania now has 630 Covid-19 cases with prayers, but without a lockdown, while His Excellency President ED Mnangagwa’s Zimbabwe only got 31 cases with a lockdown and masks. An insight into how managers can be game changers,” Mutodi fawned assiduously in his tweet last week.
The political drama gained momentum when Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo distanced the government from the undiplomatic tweet. It was yet another reminder that, where Mutodi is concerned, the lights are on but nobody is home.
As if on cue, the tetchy junior minister wrote to Moyo telling him not to behave like a prime minister. Mutodi also claimed that the Foreign Affairs minister and Christopher Mutsvangwa, husband to his boss in the ministry, Monica, wanted to kill him.
“Living in fear of the Chris Mutsvangwa-SB Moyo coalition. I hope it won’t resort to wartime tactics. Appealing for prayers,” Mutodi tweeted.
This tragicomedy is a damning indictment of Mnangagwa’s poor judgment of character. The chaos, dissonance and indiscipline playing out in full view of the world are the by-products of his quality of leadership. The buck stops with him. If he is not careful, one of these days his under-employed minions will spark a major diplomatic incident.
While former Health and Child Care permanent secretary Agnes Mahomva was dramatically demoted from her lofty post and given a high-sounding but inconsequential position in the Office of the President, health workers were threatening to down tools over unbearable working conditions at a time the world is gripped by Covid-19. The health personnel cited lack of protective clothing, among other grievances.
In progressive countries, neighbouring South Africa included, prudent leaders are prioritising incentivising health workers and equipping them with essential tools to combat Covid-19 on the frontline.
But not in Zimbabwe, where government officials have instead been looting funds meant to fight the pandemic. Nothing new there.
Even during the country’s protracted armed struggle for self-determination, frontline soldiers were denied the much-needed ammunition while some political pretenders enjoyed life to the fullest in seedy Mozambican shebeens. The more things change, the more they remain the same.
Pie in the sky
What on earth did Zimbabweans do to deserve the sort of leadership they have?A few weeks ago, when governments around the world rolled out social safety nets to enable their citizens to navigate through the treacherous Covid-19 waters, the Mnangagwa’s administration also made its own announcements. But its promise has proved to be pie in the sky.
At the beginning of last month, the broke and clueless government announced it had put together a ZW$600 million kitty to provide pocket money to poverty-stricken Zimbabweans to help mitigate the effects of Covid-19 pandemic. True to form, the Zanu PF government has still not disbursed a cent, despite screaming headlines in the Herald comically proclaiming Cash disbursements start today.
Such cruelty! Do our owners know how dehumanising poverty is?
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, who is giving over-rated “technocrats” such a bad name, told the nation that he was using a “sophisticated algorithm” to vet the beneficiaries of the Covid-19 pocket money. These ministers are heartless. How do they expect pauper-thin citizens to survive a two-month lockdown on empty tummies? And who will they blame tomorrow when the hungry masses decide to invite themselves to their palatial mansions for free lunch one of these days?
Perhaps Cde Mthuli is still waiting for donations. The International Monetary Fund will not oblige, obviously, but the chap never loses hope, does he? He will soon learn to beg the Chinese.
Beijing sent a plane-load of face masks to Harare this week, but there was no economic bailout package in sight. Your track record as an African nation has to be pretty shabby when even the Chinese are careful not to trust you with a cent. Who can blame them, though? A government that raids a bank account belonging to foreign investors has no business complaining about poverty or sanctions.