HomeEditorial CommentMuckraker: Zanu PF Needs A Gag

Muckraker: Zanu PF Needs A Gag

IT was interesting to note President Mugabe’s warning in his airport speech on Monday that: “We should never tolerate interference in the domestic affairs of our country.”


“We will be very strict,” he said. “No outsiders will be allowed to follow parties and politics. Any country which does that declares itself an enemy of Zimbabwe,” he said.

Here is a function of the new cabinet that has already been usurped. It is up to the new government to decide on who can monitor Zimbabwe’s political process and who can’t, not Mugabe. Indeed, it will eventually be the responsibility of an independent electoral commission.

The whole point of the political accord signed on September 15 was to remove Mugabe from the day-to-day decision-making process so he doesn’t inflict any further damage on the country.

The people of Zimbabwe have made it clear they want help from the outside world in reconstruction of the economy, including help from countries Mugabe calls “enemies”.

These are the very same people now being called upon to dig Zimbabwe out of the hole Zanu PF has dug for us. Certainly the Russians and Chinese won’t be rushing to assist!

The fossilised language of ideological combat continues to occupy the pages of the state media where columnists are conducting a private war against the West. That is why there has been no great rush by the outside world to embrace the new order.

The first item of cabinet business once the new government has been formed should be to apply a gag to Zanu PF spokesmen so they don’t scare off any more potential rescuers.

Help ease water blues,” Zinwa has called upon the public to do. It wants to see community-based decentralisation of waste water by setting up small waste water treatment units. This would include schools, housing cooperatives, and industries, among others.

“Our aim is to advise stakeholders of the considerable water recycling economic value and then engage them on how to tap the value,” waste water manager, Engineer Simon Muserere, was quoted as saying.

What a cheek! Zinwa doesn’t need to advise the public of anything.

It needs to focus on its core business of supplying clean water to the people of Zimbabwe. Muserere should stop trying to divert our attention with schemes of this sort. We all recall how this useless outfit was placed in charge of municipal water systems that worked much better than they do now. Why were public objections by civil society such as the Bulawayo council ignored?

Then there is the torrent of water that has been cascading down East Road by the Trauma Centre for several months. Why can’t Zinwa fix that simple fault?

Muserere needs to be reminded that under the new political order wasteful and incompetent parastatals will not be tolerated. That includes smoke-and-mirror publicity stunts in the Herald.

Muckraker was intrigued by a report in Monday’s Herald that deputy Health minister Edwin Muguti’s official vehicle had been used in a spate of armed robberies. These included raids on gold mines and foreign exchange dealers. On several occasions, the driver, Rodwell Dube, removed registration plates and replaced them with fake ones.

In addition to Muguti’s Toyota Prado he used a Mazda belonging to the Health ministry.

His activities culminated in a shootout with detectives in the city centre, we are told.

Detectives said Dube was part of the gang involved in the shootout with police at Eastgate shops last week. Among the gang is an ex-police sergeant dismissed from the force for stock theft. He was out on bail pending appeal against a six-month sentence.

What is missing in this story is any reference to the deputy minister. Was he not interviewed regarding the activities of his driver and the abuse of his official vehicle? Was he not aware of the vehicle’s frequent absence? Why didn’t the Herald tell us?

Here was public property being abused by a driver whose delinquency appears to have been overlooked. We don’t understand how Muguti missed what was going on right under his nose?

Ephraim Masawi’s Prado was the subject of police investigations this week and for exactly the same reasons.

Ministers have a responsibility to safeguard public property assigned to them. How many other officials have allowed vehicles in their care to be diverted to other uses?

Our hearts went out to the tens of thousands of people who tried to obtain $20 000 cash from banks this week. There was very simply no money. Sidewalks along Samora Machel Ave were packed with disappointed customers.

So why didn’t the Reserve Bank anticipate this humanitarian disaster before it happened? Did it not liaise with banks as to the availability of funds?

It is painful to watch Gideon Gono being clever with words in his public pronouncements and then seeing ordinary Zimbabweans paying the price of his “cleverness”. It is very obviously time for the Reserve Bank governor to step aside and allow somebody else to do this job.

It was very helpful of the Herald to bring us a picture of President Mugabe addressing the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly. Who could miss those rows of empty seats?

Perhaps that’s because everybody had heard his speech before. The Security Council, he said, was undemocratic because it was subject to manipulation by powerful nations. He called for reform.

That is something he has refused so far to give the people of his own country. And just as the president was speaking, Russia voted with Britain, France and the US to reinforce sanctions against Iran. That must have caused some irritation in the Zimbabwe camp!

All in all it wasn’t a very fruitful visit for Mugabe. We wonder what use those other 53 people in his entourage made of their visas, apart of course from shopping.

We revealed last week that the US embassy said it had issued 54 visas including for the wife and son. Oh yes, a hairdresser went along too we hear in case the Iron Mask needed attention.

Information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu this week “hailed” the public media for its “professional coverage” of events during and after the inter-party negotiations.

The public media also “excelled” in its reporting of the president’s speech at the UN General Assembly, he said.

This provided some mirth in newsrooms around the country. Exactly how can you “excel” in reporting a speech by the president that was foisted on the media accompanying him? And what is “professional” about denying to other parties the right of reply to vituperative partisan opinion pieces carried in the Herald and Sunday Mail?

To date we haven’t seen a single article responding to the antediluvian posturing of Tafataona Mahoso who needs a few lessons in what makes journalism not simply professional but interesting!

We suspect Ndlovu’s daft remarks were designed to attract attention ahead of the cabinet appointments. Let’s see how far they get him.

It’s always good when someone in public life admits they’ve been wrong…or even slightly wrong.

When Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Karikoga Kaseke announced, apparently unilaterally, to a stunned local hospitality industry, that this year’s tourism expo – dubbed Sanganai/Hlanganai World Travel and Tourism Africa Fair – would move to Bulawayo on the grounds that space was limited at Harare’s Rainbow Towers, many if not most of the country’s old tourism hands shook their heads in collective amazement.

Kaseke said the show would be held at the under-utilised Zimbabwe International Trade Fair grounds, Famona, miles from anywhere resembling a hotel.

Harare’s space wasn’t cramped at all, the experts said, but if that later proved the case, there was almost limitless exhibition square metres lying empty 51 weeks annually within walking, if not spitting, distance of the expo’s traditional Rainbow Towers home at Harare showgrounds.

Put all two, three and four-star rooms available spread out across the sprawling City of Kings and they don’t equal the number of beds available at Rainbow Towers itself.

Harare also has Meikles Hotel, Crowne Plaza Monomatapa, Cresta Jameson, Oasis, Harare Holiday Inn and countless suburban lodges, guest houses and b&bs. Most international visitors will fly into and return home from the capital.

Now Kaseke has told the Herald there is need to put in place a “mitigation plan” (Plan “B” to you and me!) because of “accommodation challenges Bulawayo was facing!” (Sound familiar?)

He told the state-controlled paper: “Definitely some people will have to stay in Harare and Victoria Falls, then fly to Bulawayo, because the accommodation is not enough.

“All hotels were booked for these celebrations and Sanganai will be 20 times bigger,” he said, without revealing what, precisely, was previously 20 times smaller.

e have news for the irascible, short-tempered “KK” (the only man in the world ever charged with cruelty to crocodiles!). Planes from Vic Falls arrive in Bulawayo at sunset but there’s no room at the inn/hotel/lodge, the Bulawayo Club, Hotel School, Solusi University or even the lodges in the Matopos park for anyone who alights there!

Kaseke truly is an amazing chap. Apart from reportedly putting the elbow on Bulawayo hotel managers to release “freebie” rooms to his cronies for Sanganai (when they haven’t got sufficient beds to sell), he raised eyebrows by boycotting last year’s Zimbabwe Council for Tourism AGM at Nyanga to squire around a dreadlocked Rasta rapper and booked in Miss Tourism Zimbabwe and her princesses at the Monomatapa for several cripplingly expensive months. (They’d probably be still there if the press hadn’t blown the whistle.)

Last Friday, when almost the whole of the Zimbabwe hospitality industry was en fete for the gala birthday thrash of Cresta Jameson Hotel, he and 11 praise singers took themselves off to Nyanga to “join the rest of the world in commemorating World Tourism Day”.

Of course they commemorated it by wheedling freebie rooms, food and drink out of unfortunate Eastern District hoteliers.

Kaseke was thankfully absent at the previous week’s Meikles Hotel AZTA awards spring brunch on the roof garden. When Muckraker’s apprentice queried the non-attendance of the usually glowering functionary, he was left in no doubt “KK” wasn’t invited.

It will be interesting to see which political party gets “tourism” in the eagerly awaited Cabinet portfolio carve-up.

olice Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri says Zimbabweans should put aside their differences and work together. All sober-minded people welcomed the latest developments, he said.

Chihuri said the economic challenges facing the country “were not of the making of the leadership, but of foreigners who wanted to enjoy the benefit from the country’s resources”.

If foreigners want to benefit from the country’s resources they will need to see a stable political situation and sound macro-economic fundamentals in place. They will also need to know that there is a professional police force that is non-partisan in the fulfilment of its duties. That must be an immediate objective of any new government.

The Sadc initiative was spurred in part by pictures circulated at Dar es Salaam of MDC leaders brutally assaulted at a police station. We are yet to learn what action has
been taken against those responsible.

As for the economic “challenges” facing the country, there needs to be complete honesty in facing them. If we persist with the official deceit that foreigners are responsible for Zimbabwe’s self-made mess there will be no change and no improvement. That needs to be spelt out in large letters for the regime’s apologists.

nd now on a lighter note, we bring you this newsflash. Following the problems in the sub-prime lending market in the US and the run on Northern Rock in the UK, uncertainty has now hit Japan.

In the last seven days Origami Bank has folded, Sumo Bank has gone belly up and Bonsai Bank announced plans to cut some of its branches.

Yesterday, it was announced that Karaoke Bank is up for sale and will likely go for a song, while shares in Kamikaze Bank were suspended after they nose-dived.

While Samurai Bank is soldiering on following sharp cutbacks, Ninja Bank is reported to have taken a hit, but they remain in the black.

Furthermore, 500 staff at Karate Bank got the chop and analysts report that there is something fishy going on at Sushi Bank where it is feared that staff may get a raw deal.











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