Muckraker

Huni finally lands in the real Zim
nicode MS’; mso-bidi-font-family: ‘Arial Unicode MS’; mso-bidi-font-size: 12.0pt”>


Muckraker was intrigued by an opinion piece carried in the Herald last Friday purporting to be written by Charles Rukuni. It was all about President Mugabe being “vindicated” in his land reform programme because Britain had failed to honour its post-Independence undertakings.


The evidence for this assertion was a letter written by former International Development minister Clare Short to Zimbabwe’s Agriculture minister Kumbirai Kangai in 1997 and “made public by the British newspaper the Guardian two weeks ago”. In it she said Britain would only support an open and transparent land reform programme. She did not accept that Britain had any special responsibility to meet the cost of land purchase in Zimbabwe.


Why does Rukuni think this letter “reveals” anything we didn’t already know? It has been widely published including in the Herald. President Mugabe and his ministers have been complaining about it at every opportunity for six years. The most recent example was when SABC reporter Phil Molefe interviewed Mugabe and, having been handed a copy of the letter, helpfully offered the president an opportunity to once again denounce its contents.


Rukuni then went on to quote British academic and regular Guardian writer George Monbiot at length in his surprisingly unoriginal attempt to justify Mugabe’s depredations. For instance, this is Rukuni’s take on the 1998 Donors’ Conference on Land Reform.


“Despite the British government’s abdication, President Mugabe was prepared to go along with the British plan to wait for an International Land Reform Donors’ Conference scheduled for September 1998. But the British government trivialised the conference by refusing to send its senior officials…The conference was a total flop.”


And why was it a “total flop”? Because it only raised US$2 million and not the US$2 billion hoped for. There was no mention of the £44 million provided by the British government for land reform prior to 1998 or who benefited.


Anyway, we are agreed with Rukuni in his conclusion.


“President Mugabe then decided to go ahead with the land reform without international donors and the West and this has led to the country’s economic collapse…”


We should get Rukuni and other Herald contributors to comment on what they think about billions of dollars being spent on Mugabe’s Borrowdale Brooke mansion when there is no infrastructure in place to support resettled farmers.


Neighbours of the Mugabes, by the way, have been complaining about cuts in their water supplies. It must be galling to have no water for weeks at a time when the First Couple’s dams are filling up. Any attempt to suggest a connection would of course be entirely mischievous!


 If you were wondering why there has been a low turnout at some agricultural shows across the country, the Herald’s Moses Magadza has supplied an explanation. It is because the police band was not present.


“It is a measure of how popular the ZRP band has become with the people of Zimbabwe,” he told us last Saturday, “that agricultural shows for instance record very low turnouts if word goes round that these elegantly dressed, highly trained and extremely competent musicians are not on the entertainment menu.”


When the band passes, Magadza tells us, conversations in offices are abruptly terminated as people shoot off their chairs “as though propelled by explosives”.


Heads are thrust out of windows “to savour the band’s irresistible music with unconcealed admiration”.


How do we explain Cde Magadza’s unconcealed admiration? Here’s a clue.


“The band provided accompaniment on the popular (sic) Hondo yeMinda songs.”


Just in case you still don’t understand what this unalloyed puff piece is all about, it soon becomes clear.


“Due to immense public demand,” the band, “with the assistance of the Department of Information and Publicity”, is set to release a 28-track double compact disk called Tsemuramakomo.


In addition to songs such as Mbuya Nehanda, Magamba, and Jongwe, Professor Jonathan Moyo’s composition Go Warriors also features.


“There are plans to make it available to the public,” Magadza breathlessly assures the professor’s many fans. We can imagine the queues forming already outside Munhumutapa Building!


Having rubbished the BSAP band as amateurs by comparison, Magadza proceeds to tell us that last year the ZRP band “won the hearts of many” when at short notice they played the Ethiopian national anthem in front of President Mugabe, the Ethiopian premier Meles Zenawi and members of his entourage at State House.


In case you remain unimpressed by all this guff or think, like many, that the band sounds tinny and out of tune, you can blame the London-based Royal School of Music to which the ZRP’s own School of Music is affiliated. Opponents of arbitrary arrest, torture, and politicisation of the force may also want to do to this link what Interpol recently did to Augustine Chihuri!


 Nathaniel Manheru has been waxing indignant about the recently published report on the depredations of government’s National Youth Service militia.


“It is a hellfire depiction and vision of Zimbabwe,” he says, “unless of course you live in this country…”


In which case, you would have first-hand evidence that it’s all true. Did the Green Bombers not set up roadblocks and illegally harass motorists? Did they not act with impunity in unleashing violence against political opponents? Is Manheru in all seriousness denying what everybody in this country knows to be true?


He is particularly indignant that the report “misquotes” the president, Munyaradzi Huni and Lovemore Mataire.


Now there’s an interesting trio! Should this presidential writer give things away quite so freely?


“Manheru gives you the nexus of evil lies,” he confides.


It would seem he just did!


The South African media, he complains, all wrote the same story about the youth militia — “the slant, the detail, the style, the words, the prominence, the length, were not similar but the same”.


How do we explain this, Manheru asks? “Did these hacks come from the same womb … were they brewed from the same pot, trained in the same school?”


No, they all just read the same report. And it tells us how Zimbabwe is now universally perceived as a rogue state.


Manheru and other apologists for Mugabe’s misrule are responsible for that. His remarks that “ANZ is an unlawful outfit ha ha ha” will be widely quoted as the triumphant boasting of the spokesman for a criminal regime.


What for instance has happened to the individuals who blew up the Daily News’ printing press in 2001? Where are they now and how, in this virtual police state, have they been able to roam free for so long? Answers please Cde Man — ha ha ha — heru.


Meanwhile, Manheru’s acolyte Munyaradzi — ha ha ha — Huni (not to be confused with Ma — ha ha ha — hoso) has been making some rather revealing remarks.


“Life has become unbearable,” he admits. “There is no cash in the banks, no fuel at the filling stations. Prices of commodities are going up on a daily basis…It’s so frustrating.”


Welcome to the real world Cde Huni. But of course it’s not the government’s fault.


“When things are so tough, the tendency is to put all the blame on the government and at times one’s anger can make him or her believe that ‘it’s this government that’s causing it all’.”


But that’s not fair, Huni declares. “The government is doing all it can to revive the economy, but it is being let down by the opposition MDC that is not playing its part in calling for the lifting of sanctions…”


So it’s all the MDC’s fault you see. If only President Mugabe and Grace were given access to Harrods the nation’s problems would be a thing of the past.


Others responsible for the government’s plight are civil servants who are sabotaging the economy by failing to implement government policies, and “of course government is being let down by some corrupt officials in its midst”.


Of course!


What makes all this more painful, a clearly pained Huni whines on, is that “some” business people who are sabotaging the economy are “those who have benefited a lot from the government’s indigenisation policy”.


Surely not! But don’t worry. Every cloud has a silver lining. The government is “slowly getting it right in the fuel sector”, 300 000 people have been resettled (that figure again!) on the farms, and “once agriculture works, there will be a lot of products to sell in the shops and once this happens the prices of basic commodities will go down”.


That’s not the end of the good news. “Once agriculture works the foreign currency crisis will be solved because there will be a lot of products to export.”


So there you have it. No need for the MDC to dig government out of this hole is there? “Once” agriculture comes right, then all these problems will be solved — just in time for the 2005 election.


Next week: Munyaradzi Huni on flying pigs.


Mourners at the funeral of the late Robert Marere at Heroes Acre last Friday were shocked by what his brother had to say in his graveside eulogy. In front of the president, ministers and armed service chiefs the younger Marere blurted out the following: “Today we mourn one of the country’s national heroes that we are laying to rest here at Heroes Acre, Robert Gabriel Mugabe.”


Was this a slip of the tongue? We don’t know. But everybody laughed including the president. We’re glad he saw the funny side of it. But Marere Jnr might consider it wise to lie low for a while.

Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading