Muckraker

Western sirens seduce Cde Gaddafi

IT appears Nathaniel Manheru is laughing the longest at the fall from grace of his boss Jonathan Moyo. It is, though, a mirthless laughter, full of bile from a clearly frustrated civil servant. If the claims are true, Manheru is bi

tter that President Mugabe did not consider him ministerial material.


But what was most useful in his attack on Moyo this week was biographical information he gave us, if it is true. While Manheru and Zanu PF were engaged in a conspiracy of silence about Moyo’s liberation war record, it took the Zimbabwe Liberator’s Platform to describe Moyo as “the first successful war deserter”. Now Manheru has added a footnote about Moyo’s “fake and fraudulent pretensions to war veteran status”. Of course Zanu PF was complicit in nurturing that false image. It also let him lord it on the opposition and the private media while he pretended to be the greatest patriot ever born in Zimbabwe.


Manheru also let it be known that Moyo indulged in “quisling politics” alongside the late Ndabaningi Sithole. We suspect he forgot to mention Zanu PF spokesperson Nathan Shamuyarira and his Frolizi. Zanu PF invariably offers succour to all the bad guys while it suits its agenda. That is how Moyo was able to “sell himself to an embattled Zanu PF” before it regained balance and spate him out like a rotten tooth.


Both were desperately looking for each other: Zanu PF fleeing MDC hounds while Professor Moyo was under siege from Ford Foundation and Wits University.


More revealing about Zanu PF’s criminal abuse of power than Moyo’s paranoia is Manheru’s disclosure that Moyo invented death threats so he could be given 24-hour security. That was how he landed at Sheraton Hotel during his inauspicious reunification with Zanu PF as spokesperson for the ill-fated Constitutional Commission. Thus wrote Manheru: “Put up in a suite (at Sheraton), guarded around the clock and wafted from place to place in a ministerial convoy, his ego inevitably puffed, and puffed and puffed.”


Why was this gross abuse of public funds never made public at the time? Or is this a case of sour grapes as it becomes clearer that it’s so near yet so far? Mugabe picks his cabinet from some dark corners without appearing to notice the gaping mouths and lolling tongues in the passageway!


Sadc predictably said nothing that would offend President Mugabe at its summit in Gaborone, Botswana, last week. He was allowed to sit next to the host, Festus Mogae, a man Mugabe would love to hate for reputedly hosting American military bases.


But appearances and form can be very deceiving.


The Sunday Times reports that South African president Thabo Mbeki implored regional leaders to act responsibly for a common destiny in his weekly online letter. He wrote that it was important to “understand that what we do in any one of our countries has an impact on the rest. It means, as countries, we sink or swim together.”


We wonder how many countries are prepared to sink with Mugabe.


While there was deference to his age and contribution to freedom in the region, temperatures are evidently getting cooler and there is growing impatience with Mugabe’s dogged refusal to put his shoulder to the wheel in the cause of the African renaissance.


The Sunday Times observes again: “With no one obviously keen to chat to Mugabe, he entered (the meeting place) and left alone, flicking his fingers or crunching his fists together until his knuckles audibly cracked.”


At Mogae’s banquet for the regional leaders Mugabe reportedly “ate largely alone and in silence”.


How loud can quiet diplomacy get we wonder?


In a dramatic sign of Libya’s rehabilitation into the international fold, Muammar Gaddafi has invited US president George Bush to visit Tripoli. This follows a thawing of relations between the west and the Arab nation since Gaddafi renounced a programme to develop weapons of mass destruction and pledged to improve his country’s human rights record.


Since then Libya has played host to French president Jacques Chirac and British prime minister Tony Blair, Mugabe’s unyielding bogey.


Why is that of interest, you might wonder? Because Zimbabwe is being left out of the loop. While a few years back we could posture about Libya supporting Zimbabwe in its land reform and emptying part of its fuel into our tanks, we can kiss goodbye to all that now, forever. Gaddafi appears to have given up on trying to help a leader who can’t take advice and behaves as if the whole world owes him an apology for colonialism. More than that, the gesture shows just how other countries are able to move forward while we are tied to the millstone of history by a leader who is afraid of the future.


And so it is that while other countries are forging new friendships, we remain tied to Fidel Castro and other international outcasts. It’s not surprising that we have been set back almost 50 years by geriatrics who will not accept that there is time for everything under the sun.


Meanwhile, President Mugabe is waiting for an invitation to No 10 Downing Street. It’s all vanity, said the Preacher.


Does the Sunday Mail have an editor? We seriously doubt it in the light of preposterous fiction published on its front page as stories. The story on a British bank seeking to scupper so-called “Zim, China deals” takes pride of place in the league of the ridiculous.


Ignoring all business sense and pretending the UK and China were at war, the writer claimed that by buying a 10% stake in the Bank of China, the Royal Bank of Scotland wanted to “shackle Zimbabwe’s chances” of getting loans from China. The tenuous evidence for the bank’s insidious plot against Zimbabwe is that it allegedly intensified efforts to buy into the Bank of China during President Mugabe’s recent visit to China!


Strenuously refusing to let facts get in the way a sweet reverie, the writer saw no contradiction in his conspiracy theory and the statement that the negotiation “follows a string of other major deals clinched between Chinese lenders and Western financial institutions”.


Are we being told that before Zimbabwe’s disastrous land reform there was no business between the UK and China? And they want readers to believe this baloney?


The cacophony against resolving Zimbabwe’s political impasse intensified last week with a frenzied campaign to discredit Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo’s efforts. Newsnet went into overdrive, telling ignoramuses on the streets of Harare that Obasanjo was a “tool” of Tony Blair and therefore had no right to interfere in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs. It was risible seeing old women who probably can’t afford a radio licence commenting authoritatively about Obasanjo’s double standards and how he can’t be an honest broker when he is a friend of devils in the MDC.


You didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to realise that most of the people interviewed had become avid readers of The Other Side. Which is most probably where the order for the anti-Obasanjo campaign came from. And whoever conducted the interviews made no secret of his location: Zanu PF’s provincial headquarters along Fourth Street in Harare. Unless all those women are getting subsidised commodities and food from the party, the truth will soon out!


The master analyst was one Sylvester Mashingaidze who said there was no crisis in Zimbabwe. Indeed, as he sat on the sofa, there was enough evidence of opulence and surfeit protruding from under the jacket.


Talking of food, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says the consumer basket for a family of six has risen once again to over $6 million per month. This is a basket of the most basic commodities before we factor in Aeneas Chigwedere’s backdated school fees. The shock increases expose the mirage of Gideon Gono’s economic turnaround and inflation figures running riot at 254,8%.


Still the figure can only be as accurate as the direction of the wind in an economy where altering the prices of goods already on the shelves has become a daily preoccupation for major retail shops. Why is Zanu PF not setting its sights on this very real national crisis and leave Obasanjo and Joachim Chissano alone?


Zimbabwe has marshalled all resources at its disposal to import enough grain for the patriotic sons and daughters who have not escaped starvation to the diaspora. This was revealed by GMB acting chief executive Samuel Muvuti. Road, rail and sea routes had been opened to “bring maize to the ports and into the country”, the retired colonel said.


“A ship carries about 30 000 tonnes,” he said helpfully, “making it easy for us to cover areas like Mashonaland West and nearby areas. We are well-networked and we intend to import grain at the rate 120 000 tonnes per month.”


We should take that with a fistful of salt seeing as this is the same colonel who claimed in one Newsnet interview just before the March election that the country had enough grain to last for 18 months. What happened to that, we wonder?


Then this sea route into the hinterland, is it the same route the Portuguese explorers, or was it David Livingstone or Henry Morton Stanley, were looking for those centuries back? Now the colonel appears to have “discovered” the route up the Zambazi River, perhaps with Lake Kariba as our inland port! You can bet hunger in Zimbabwe will “soon be a thing of the past”.


There was another major discovery made in Victoria Falls at the weekend. The Herald reports that the president of the Zimbabwe Medical Association “discovered” that economic hardships were causing a huge brain drain in the country. This was a result of “health costs and general scarcities related to international sanctions”, Dr Billy Rigava reportedly told doctors attending the association’s congress in the resort town.


Apart from the propaganda bit about sanctions, did we really need a stethoscope to diagnose the cause of the accelerated brain drain in the past five years?

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