IT has been a fine couple of weeks for the family that owns the country. First, the owner of the country renewed his lease after he was declared the winner of the best election ever run in Africa. He was inaugurated at a world-class event that shamed detractors.
While the nation was still reeling from the wild celebrations, there was more good news. It was announced that our National Mother cemented her spot as our New Doctor Amai. In recognition of her sterling philanthropic work, which includes teaching women around the world how to cook for their husbands, the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) awarded her with a PhD. And people wonder why the UZ is one of Africa’s most revered learning institutions. They know how to identify talent.
This was not the end of the good news for our best family. It was announced that one of the sons, one David Mnangagwa, is our new Deputy Finance and Investment Promotion minister. A national nephew, Tongai Mnangagwa, the MP of Hunyani, was announced as the Deputy Minister of Tourism.
Of course, all this good news resulted in a national outbreak of jealousy. They are complaining that we should have picked someone else for that position. But is that “someone else” the child of a president? Why can’t they go to their own fathers for a job?
Besides, David is more educated than some of these other kids. He went to a university in America, unlike some of these people who only went to UZ. We urge anyone aggrieved to wait for their turn to become President and appoint their own children.
Some people are, of course, making noise that our current owner has appointed his own son into the government. Some people are even using fancy English words to describe this, such as “nepotism” and “tinpot dictatorship”, or “banana republic” and so forth.
People forget too soon. Was it not just a few years ago when our previous owner appointed his son-in-law to be the chief operations officer of our imaginary national airline? It was a reasonable economic decision, since he was the most frequent user of the airline. This is the same now.
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Since the country is run by “vene vayo” (its owners), they must take care of the national pocket on their own. We cannot have strangers sniffing around the books and making unnecessary noise for no reason.
Surely, if you are running your private business, you cannot be expected to trust strangers with your money. If you are running a kombi business, do you not appoint your son to take care of the money? Do you not send your own child to take the day’s takings?
A couple in cabinet
It is not only the Mnangagwas that have had a good week. There are also massive celebrations at the home of the Mutsvangwas.
Chris Mutsvangwa has been named as the Minister of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle. We are sure that one of his biggest key performance indicators will be to make sure that the number of war veterans in the country keeps growing.
His wife, Monica Mutsvangwa, lost her job as the Minister of (Mis)Information, but got a new one as the minister in charge of Women and SMEs, a fancy name used to describe the country’s growing number of unemployed people.
Muckraker does not remember a time when we had a couple sitting together in cabinet. Well, at least not an official couple. With each minister entitled to two big cars, one a luxury Mercedes sedan and the mandatory luxury 4X4, the Mutsvangwa household is in for four new cars.
We are sure the government is already building new carports at their home to accommodate this new fortune.
Like any patriot in the country, Muckraker was horrified watching the television interviews of some of our new ministers.
On ZBC-TV, which is known for quality news around the world, we had Jenfan Muswere, the man who has been appointed to replace Monica Mutsvangwa as chief government propagandist.
“I want to assure you that I will be a minister of all media houses given the diversity,” said Muswere, the new Information minister. “There will be a lot of diversity in terms of our approach, in terms of collaboration and co-operation.”
The man even mentioned Section 61 of the constitution, which has those silly provisions about allowing Zimbabweans to freely express themselves and making it mandatory for state media to provide fair coverage to everyone in the country.
You can be certain that even he laughed himself hoarse after making that joke about allowing diverse views on our television screens.
With a new minister in office, Nick Mangwana, as one does, is keen to impress and show that he is still doing what is expected of him.
Mangwana rushed in like a newly trained United States marine, guns blazing.
“We are lucky when in the election of MPs there are people with professional qualifications and good experience in the pool the President has to pick ministers from. If some of those happen to be related to him, that doesn’t disqualify them for nomination on that basis only. They are also Zimbabweans,” posted Mangwana on his social media handle.
Someone needed to remind Mangwana that there is really no pressure on him to defend his principal’s behaviour all the time. We have come to expect certain behaviours, and it is alright sometimes to just relax silent and eat in silence.
But then again, one must be seen to be defending the indefensible, an ability that is considered the top qualification for such jobs.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa is, of course, unhappy that people are asking him questions about his new cabinet. Why people ask an elected public official to answer questions, is beyond him.
As he appeared before journalists on Monday to announce his cabinet, he looked annoyed by these pesky reporters asking him to explain some of his decisions. Why, for instance, had he appointed Kirsty Coventry, they asked.
She has presided over the ban of the Warriors from soccer, the deterioration of stadiums, and so forth. In fact, she scored low on marks when Mnangagwa himself graded his cabinet. It was like coming last in the worst class at a school.
But Mnangagwa defended his decision, saying: “I have re-appointed her because I am happy with her performance. Whoever was not impressed by her can appoint someone else when they become president.”
We have all seen such cases, where they send the worst teacher to teach the worst class. Nothing happens there because neither the teacher nor his students know what good performance looks like.
Of old and tired loyalists
As you would expect, the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) is frothing at the mouth after the latest cabinet announcement.
“This cabinet is illegitimate as it is a product of a disputed election,” according to the spokesperson of the opposition.
He did not comment further on whether CCC MPs will also consider allowances, loans and cars as similarly illegitimate gains of an illegitimate election.
According to the CCC, Mnangagwa’s cabinet is packed with “old and tired loyalists” and these appointments show “the lack of commitment to fresh perspectives”.
Well, to show that there is no room for “old and tired loyalists” in the CCC, the party announced this week that it had appointed two old loyalists as the mayors of the country’s two main cities.