SO Comrade Philip Chiyangwa has received the word? The Tribune reported last week that the flamboyant businessman and Zanu PF chairman for Mashonaland West was now a “born again Christian”. The paper
claimed that apart from a “loose connection (with) the church through his late mother, Chiyangwa was until yesterday (Thursday) not known as a God-fearing man”. Muckraker wonders what a God-fearing man should do?
“I was a Christian before and this time around I decided to be born again for good,” declared Chiyangwa. “I am now a Christian with the Word Ablazed Ministries after realising that these people were with me during my recent ordeal. They are for me and I am for them.”
Is that all there is to Chiyangwa’s metamorphosis? The “recent ordeal” is that Chiyangwa was arrested in January in connection with the ENG scandal involving over $60 billion. He was detained for perjury, contempt of court and attempting to defeat the course of justice in connection with the same case. Could that period in prison have been his road to Damascus? Is he now going to forsake his worldly riches to focus all his attention on the narrow path? Only time will tell.
The Sunday Mail carried a picture of President Robert Mugabe shaking hands with the born-again Chiyangwa at a belated birthday function organised by Reverend Obadiah Msindo of Destiny of Africa Network. Muckraker is curious to know what was going on in Mugabe’s mind as he came face to face with Chiyangwa whom he described at the Masvingo Zanu PF conference in December last year as a tsuro magen’a (a trickster).
It was at the same gathering that Mugabe first sounded warning of the impending anti-corruption crusade when he spoke disparagingly against people who make money dishonestly and then turn around to say “they are born again Christians”. Or those who allegedly use money to buy positions in the party.
He was full of the same spiritual fervour during his birthday commemoration on Saturday: “We pray for blessings but the Lord also asks us ‘what do we have to offer in return’? Have we lived honest and charitable lives?”
Are we entering a new era of spiritual rearmament? Muckraker understands at the birthday celebrations in Zvimba three weeks ago Fr Fidelis Mukonori gave the president a Bible for a present!
The Saturday Herald carried a curious comment admitting that they have been blaming the wrong people for the nation’s problems. In light of the ENG saga and the fallout in the financial services sector, the editor noted that they were mistaken to blame all of Zimbabwe’s woes “on Western forces”.
“It has now emerged that the reality on the ground was some sophisticated scheming and engineering driven by greed and corruption,” the editor wrote.
Such washing of dirty linen in the public is a serious offence in the Zanu PF scheme of things. The mantra is “Never admit error, blame somebody else”.
Except that in typical Zanu PF fashion, banks have become the latest scapegoat while those responsible for the economic morass now strut across the stage in white robes. Thousands of column centimetres have been devoted to the issue of corruption in the past and government’s condoning of it. Instead President Mugabe has used every public forum to condemn Tony Blair and George Bush for the country’s problems while leaving his lieutenants to wreck havoc on the economy.
He recently declared the Blair-Bush war “won” and that the spotlight was now inside the country. Muckraker wants to see how far the war will go. Otherwise the only war, an unjustified war, was in the DRC and the nation has not recovered from that haemorrhage.
What should have been a major government scoop against imperialist forces turned out to be no more than a damp squib on Monday. The first reports of the said American plane impounded at the Harare International Airport gave the impression that the security of the country was under serious threat of an American military invasion. The plane was full of suspected mercenaries and carried military hardware, it was reported.
“The Herald saw the white plane with a blue stripe across its body at the Harare International Airport yesterday,” elaborated the Herald on Tuesday.
“It (plane) contained an assortment of military hardware that included a rubber boat (dingy (sic)), sleeping bags, loud hailers, hammers, compasses, sophisticated radio communication equipment, water proof military boots and bolt cutters.” So that is what is meant by “military hardware”!
Their front page picture showed members of the military police who were rummaging the plane holding what looked like masking tape, never mind whether it was military or civilian. Where was the hardware?
ZBC Newsnet crews tried to spice their report with footage of weapons seized when three Americans were arrested at the same venue in 1999. At least on that occasion there were automatic rifles. But the ZBC tried to deceive inattentive listeners by superimposing the footage over the latest phantom invasion — minus Reuben Barwe strutting pompously before the cameras.
At the time of going to press the Americans had already denied knowledge of the plane while the aircraft itself was said to be destined for Equatorial Guinea.
So this is how Zimpapers rewards its workers? We are talking not only about Mathew Takaona, Robson Sharuko and others. The despicable ingratitude extends to the general hands.
The Manica Post this week carried the story of its longest-serving employee with 37 years to his credit. Simon Mutimbanyoka joined the company in September 1966 and retired last month. Everybody who knew Mutimbanyoka had fullsome praise for him, including Manica Post editor Makuwerere Bwititi. “He is a quiet and hardworking man,” he said.
When it came to the moment of parting all that management could give Mutimbanyoka for his 37 years of loyal and dedicated service was a wheelbarrow!
It reminded us of stories we used to read about in the state media soon after independence of how racist whites were giving their employees a bicycle after 10 years of service. How things don’t seem to change!
After all those many years of service he must now start all over with a wheelbarrow!
We are grateful that Youth Development minister Brigadier Ambrose Mutinhiri has found time from his busy schedule to assure the world that the national youth training programme is absolutely voluntary and that noone has ever been raped. Mutinhiri was refuting allegations in BBC’s Panorama programme that youths were being trained to torture opponents and that young girls had been raped at the secretive camps dotted across the country.
No, said Mutinhiri almost tearfully, the curriculum for the youth service “covers national orientation, disaster management, national resources management, survival skills and entrepreneurship” among others.
The claims by BBC were insulting to a democratic government, he said self-righteously. “That actually reminds us of the painful atrocities that were committed against our people by the white regime in the fight for independence and we would never allow it,” declared Mutinhiri.
Muckraker wishes a single person, even from Zanu PF itself, would believe this fiction. “I would expect that if someone is raped, they would report to the police,” said Mutinhiri with disarming simplicity. Could anything be easier?
But why are the camps shrouded in secrecy if there is nothing to hide? Why are they located in impenetrable no-go areas where not even the state media are allowed to film them?
What could possibly be meant by national orientation? As we said earlier, we wish just one person could believe Mutinhiri’s fiction that reporting rape cases from such camps would be so easy. Could the rapists be so magnanimous! Has Mutinhiri visited a single camp?
We pray that since Mugabe himself has now gone so spiritual he will tell his ministers that human beings created by God cannot be used as a means to an end. It is worse when these are unemployed desperate youths.
We did not first hear of the abominations of these camps from BBC’s Hilary Andersson. Thousands of Zimbabweans who have fallen victim to these accursed youths don’t even listen to BBC programmes. What is Mutinhiri talking about?
ZBC appears to be running out of people ready to be used for its sterile propaganda. On Tuesday it had to bring in Herald assistant editor Moses Magadza to comment on the veracity of reports concerning national youth service graduates.
Needless to say, he dismissed reports of their waywardness as the usual British propaganda seeking to tarnish the image of government ahead of a major human rights conference. As a journalist and not one of the usual dubious political analysts, we would have expected Magadza to be more circumspect in his comments.
He knows better than the other gullible lot that he has to carry out his own investigations first before commenting. Instead he allowed himself to be used to fill a gap left yawning by “political commentators” who have decamped ZBC.
Equally ready to be of dubious service to Zanu PF propaganda was Patrice Makova of ZBC’s Newsnet. He came in on Newshour as a commentator again. His was to prove that the impounded “mercenary plane” belonged to the us government despite all the evidence from Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi himself that there wasn’t a single American in the plane. In fact by Tuesday all the hype about military hardware had virtually disappeared.
Then there was the indefatigable Shake Maya of Nagg fame. He claims to be leader of some opposition party but was campaigning for Zanu PF. Thank God we can’t remember what he said. Good riddance!
“I remember introducing Tafa-dzwa Musekiwa to my mother at the Eastgate food court in December 2000 whereupon my dear friend boastfully declared that by the time I see him again he would be in government,” raved one Boyd Madikila in the Herald on Wednesday.
“Having spent many days together discussing politics within the embattled walls of UZ with the likes of Gibson (did he mean Gabriel?) Shumba and the late Learnmore Jongwe, I dismissed such declarations as dreams of a political juvenile delinquent. How true my assertions were. Only two years down the line Musekiwa would relegate himself to political wastelands of self-imposed exile in the UK.”
Muckraker doesn’t know what scrapheap Madikila has been salvaged from. But he seems keen to be co-opted into Zanu PF and to be believed. What we don’t understand is why he found it worth his while to introduce his mother to a “juvenile delinquent”? Are we meant to believe that that is exactly what he told Musekiwa at the time when Madikila says “How true my assertions were”?
Backbiters who discuss this with Musekiwa today and then change colours the next day when they see chances to climb onto the Zanu PF gravy train are not worth of a friend.