Zvinavashe goes ‘political’


into politics,” the Herald reported on January 1. Most people would be forgiven for thinking he was already in politics. We all recall those partisan remarks he made ahead of the 2002 presidential poll.

Just to clarify things, the Herald proceeded to explain that the former Defence Forces commander had indicated it was “full-time politics” that he would now be embarking upon — presumably as distinct from the part-time politics he has hitherto been dabbling in.

“From next week I will be talking like a politician,” Zvinavashe warned without elaborating.

Let’s hope when the time comes that he does more than regurgitate Zanu PF’s facile slogans.

All government and party officials are obliged to read from scripts handed to them by the usual suspects in the President’s Office. These contain catch words like “independence” and “sovereignty” — but not much else. No minister is allowed to think for himself. So even intelligent people like John Nkomo end up sounding vacuous when they read from the approved script. Others like Augustine Chihuri need all the help they can get!

So we will not be waiting with bated breath to hear the pearls of wisdom dangled before us by the ex-general. Zimbabwe’s military leaders are not known for their searing intellects. Most are happy to get on with their private businesses. And no matter how senior they have been, they will all be required to sing from the single hymn sheet handed to them just minutes before they open their mouths. Pathetic really!

The writer of the Nathaniel Manheru column, which reflects the views of full-time apologists in the Office of the President, appears miffed that Australia should be concerned about the murder of one of its citizens, Phillip Laing (called Phillip Langa in the Sunday Mail), in the Eastern Highlands. For a country “notorious for violent crime, kicking dust over a forlorn death is a protest too much”, the official spokesman fulminated referring to Australia’s past.

It all looks “straightforwardly criminal” to Manheru. Yet Australia has the “temerity” to warn its citizens against crimes related to Zimbabwe’s economic decline.

“Are we dealing with the criminal murder of Laing or the opportunity which this tragic incident provides for venting pent-up anger and attitude of this racist government?” Manheru wants to know.

At last, a confession that this government is racist! But Manheru wants us to believe that crime-related deaths are the product of Australian sanctions.

The fact is that Australian sanctions are mere pinpricks. The collapse of law and order is not the work of the authorities in Canberra. Nor are the lawless gangs who terrorise commercial farms, man roadblocks at election time and assault opposition supporters. Who has been orchestrating farm invasions in Chimanimani in defiance of court orders? Who are the state-employed killers of Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya who continue to operate with impunity against law-abiding citizens?

Zimbabwe today is notorious for violent, politically motivated crime. And this is the direct product of the arming of militias and the selective application of the law. To pretend that foreign governments are responsible for the violent seizure of farms protected by court orders and country-to-country agreements is fatuous. The criminality Manheru refers to is the criminality of a regime that steals land and farm equipment, that defies court orders and abuses the media to preach a gospel of hate and deception.

The Australian government is absolutely right to warn its citizens of the criminals who are emerging from behind the smokescreen of land reform. We know who they are. And one day soon they will be made to account for their crimes against the people of this country.

You can tell how desperate Mugabe’s office boys are when they attack Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Here is a churchman renowned for his human decency and shining integrity. But according to Manheru he is “useable”. Anybody who abides by principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law is being “used” by Zimbabwe’s enemies, this childish writer suggests. It’s all a conspiracy against land reform!

“The holy men across the Limpopo are disappointed Mugabe is Catholic, not Moslem,” Manheru suggests, so they can deal with him like Saddam Hussein.

In fact they are disgusted he calls himself Catholic. They are appalled he calls himself Christian. What Christian knowingly inflicts pain and suffering on the people in his care? Perhaps the garrulous Manheru can answer that.

The Sunday Mail carried a front-page picture last weekend showing children attending a Christmas party in Mbare with political slogans written on their faces.

Is this not a clear case of child abuse? Who organised this party because it looks suspiciously like a Zanu PF party? Were public funds used?

“I love Zanu PF” and “Sendekera Mwana Wevhu” were among the slogans daubed on the kids. None of them was at an age where they could decide for themselves whether they wanted to be exploited in this way. But it is a sign of the times that, like child soldiers in Liberia and Uganda, Zanu PF has descended to this level of recruitment in its battle against the people of Harare who have made it clear they don’t want that rotten party here.

By the way, we haven’t heard a squeak of protest from any organisation claiming to have the interests of children on its agenda! “Sendekera Mu’Born Free”, the Sunday Mail dutifully told us. Free to be abused by the look of it!

Another child, who we were told was a National Youth Service member, was shown in the Herald holding up a placard extolling Zvinavashe’s achievements at a farewell reception for him.

The general was “very innocent and tactiful (sic)”, the placard said.

Evidently English is not one of the subjects the Green Bombers are taking at their Border Gezi Camp.

Fox stood for “Freedom Organiser Xider”, we were told. “Xider” must be a code of some sort understood only by the initiated. Or it could refer to the General’s batteries.

Gava meant “God’s Arrangements for Vitalis’ Achievements”, according to another placard.

That was as far as the Bombers’ wisdom went. Probably about as far as Zvinavashe’s!

Could we appeal to all those making abusive calls to this newspaper about how unpatriotic the doctors are and how unfair we are in reporting threats against them to please identify themselves. We had one irate lady last Friday asking why we were working for the  “Breetish” in reporting on the health crisis!

She didn’t say who she was working for but we have some idea!

State commentators on our current economic malaise are becoming increasingly inventive in finding explanations for the crisis. Here is Caesar Zvayi in the Herald: “A certain group of people masquerading as democrats arrived on the scene and systematically began destroying the macro and micro-economic fundamentals through collusion with white industrialists and commercial farmers as well as through orgies of sabotage disguised as mass actions.”

Were these the same mass actions that the government described as flops?

Wait, there’s more: “As if that was not enough damage, they cavorted across the globe lobbying for economic sanctions in the vain hope that the resultant socio-economic hardships would foster resentment against the government.”

The hope was not entirely in vain it would seem.

“They have been successful to an extent as a lot of urbanites continue voting with their stomachs rather than brains.”

But, says Zvayi, who cannot be accused of writing with his brains, “we now know the breed of cat that ate the canary” .

Really? Perhaps Zvayi could tell us what it is. There are a number of fat cats where he comes from and they are of a single breed. And dozens of parrots, if not canaries!

Having “liberated ourselves from the Queen and her dominions”, Zvayi wishes all patriotic Zimbabweans “a better Christmas this year”.

Is this the best the Herald can do? Please bring back Olley Maruma and David Martin. At least they sounded intelligent. And we would have much more fun taking them on. Last time we heard, Martin was in self-exile in the Vumba!

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