HomeOpinion & AnalysisMuckraker:‘How Zim won the World Cup’

Muckraker:‘How Zim won the World Cup’

YOU have to admit that was a great heading in the Sunday Mail last weekend (right). It was of course totally false and misleading but a great heading none-the- less.

Zimbabwe is not in the running for the World Cup. But it did manage to lure Brazil into a very expensive warm-up friendly here in Harare. That’s the closest we will get.

It is just rather sad that our so-called public media had to resort to smoke-and-mirrors acts of this sort. And with it went the pretence that this encounter on the soccer field had somehow put to rest all the “lies about Zimbabwe not being a safe destination”.

“The prophets of doom have been proved wrong,” the Sunday Mail cheered.
“All the nonsense about security concerns and all the hogwash about a bad Zimbabwe will be exposed and disproved.”
We certainly hope so. But as this comes from those folks that brought us the “bad Zimbabwe” in the first place, we will have to wait and see!

There are of course precedents. In the late 90’s after Zimbabwe had won the bid to host the Africa Cup of Nations, the Herald weighed in with the headline “Zim wins Africa Cup of Nations”. The article carried the byline of the editor himself. Unfortunately Zimbabwe was dropped as the venue for the continental competition due to slow progress in renovating stadiums. Last November when the World Cup roadshow came to Harare, we were treated to more delusion by the Herald. This time it was: “Zim lifts World Cup”. What exactly do subs at the paper do?

Much has been written recently on the appointment of judges with many commentators saying the president was entitled to appoint who he pleased. The only requirement for consultation was with the Judicial Service Commission, we were told.

This may indeed be the case. But while the president may be under no obligation to consult his partners in the coalition government, good sense surely dictates that he does so. The whole success of the GNU project rests upon consultation and confidence. The reason we are failing so badly as a society is because those around Mugabe refuse to consult and are actually working against reconciliation and reform.

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson was perfectly correct when he said Zanu PF officials were hindering democracy, harassing the MDC and failing to honour their GPA obligations.
Isn’t that exactly what’s happening? And then, when Zanu PF doesn’t like the truth, it has its not-so-clever diplomats make absurd and childish remarks about house slaves.
Zimbabwe will never be an American colony, Ambassador Machivenyika Mapuranga proclaimed.
Do the Zimbabwean authorities really think they will garner international respect with this sort of undergraduate posturing? The other African ambassadors at this Africa Day event were embarrassed, we gather.

It is not surprising. Zimbabwe has become an embarrassment to its friends.
And its diplomats are part of the last-ditch defence the regime is mounting against so-called regime change.
Still with the judges, wouldn’t it be healthier for the judiciary if judges were to be appointed on the basis of consensus rather than partisan preferment?
We are sure judges would prefer not to be consumed by political acrimony of the sort that has transpired over the past few weeks.
Meanwhile, we are still keen to know what transpired in the five weeks that it took the ZEC to announce an election result in 2008!

On Monday the Herald led with a story, “AirZim retrenchees lied under oath”.
This concerned evidence former airline workers reportedly gave to the parliamentary portfolio committee on Transport and Communications.
Their evidence on cronyism and poor administration, if true, was damning.
But the Herald was told by an anonymous member of the committee that it was an offence for an individual to lie under oath in giving evidence.

Indeed it is. But who said the evidence of the AirZim workers was false? We never got to hear who the newspaper’s source was. What we do know is the story was designed to rubbish inconvenient allegations that place yet another inept parastatal in the spotlight.
And did you see the way all the party loyalists rushed to the defence of Air Zimbabwe? Some of these guys spend their time writing opinion pieces for the state media.
And a question for Dr Peter Chikumba. If you could see that Air Zimbabwe was “bleeding” on its Dubai and China routes, why did it take you so long to discontinue them?

So Jabulani Sibanda wants to change businesses with English names that remind him of the colonial era.
The Manica Post quoted him saying he was disturbed to learn that some businesses had names such as London Store which stirred in him the bitter memories of the colonial era.
“I was in Mutasa yesterday (last Friday) and I was shocked to see a shop called London Store. London Store in Zimbabwe, I wonder? It is really a shock. “We have to change all those names which remind us of the colonial era,” he said.
Sibanda was addressing war veterans and Zanu PF supporters during a meeting to do with the constitution-making process.

Is this Sibanda’s contribution to the constitution-making process? Has anybody bothered to tell him that his masters in Zanu PF including the Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and his family had become very fond of visiting London until they were slapped with a travel ban to Western capitals?
What else reminds Sibanda of the colonial era?  Maybe Harare suburbs like Highfield? This was of course emblematic of the nationalist struggle. But following its defection to the MDC it may be in for the chop? As for Sibanda we have a name for him: “Demagogue”.

Talking of demagogues, what is Julius Malema up to?
The controversial ANC youth leader has caused ructions within the African National Congress and Zanu PF.
Now he has reportedly spread the mayhem to Botswana.
The ruling Botswana Democratic Party is the latest victim and President Ian Khama is not taking this kindly. He has chastised Malema as an “ill-disciplined boy” responsible for factionalism in his party.
The Mmegi newspaper in Botswana reported that President Khama had said Malema was “ill-disciplined” and “I was wondering why they do not take action against him.”
A Botswana councillor had mentioned that a rebellious faction in Khama’s ruling party has befriended Malema.

The ANC youth leader visited Botswana earlier this year and told a rally that the country needed a “strong leader”, a statement which was viewed as an attack on Khama.
In Zimbabwe, Zanu PF’s politburo –– a powerful organ –– has clashed over  whether or not it was advisable to support Malema publicly.

In South Africa, Malema appears to be blackmailing Jacob Zuma, who the ANC youth wing wants to challenge to stop his “risky” sex life.
But if the latest reports are anything to go by then Zuma is not the only president in South Africa to engage in nefarious sexual antics.

South Africans may have come to terms with Zuma’s infidelity, but a new book to be released next month about Nelson Mandela, claims the country’s first democratic president was no saint either.
Titled The Young Mandela, the book by David James Smith –– an extract of which appeared in the London Sunday Times –– shows another side of the former president, including allegations of womanising, wife-beating and at least one love child.
But whatever he may have been up to, Mandela surely can’t beat Zuma’s record.
Zuma is expecting his 21st child with his second wife, MaNtuli. This comes amid reports that their marriage is on the rocks.
Weekend media reports in South Africa splashed a possible presidential estrangement on their front pages.

The Herald on Tuesday carried an upbeat picture of visiting Chinese politburo member “Cde Wang Gang” at the Zanu PF headquarters. Zanu PF and the Communist Party of China renewed a memorandum of understanding, we are told, which included exchanging notes on “ruling experiences”. 
Zanu PF national chairman SK Moyo (not Jonathan Moyo as Xinhua reported) was quoted bleating about sanctions and how they “impacted negatively on ordinary people”.

SK Moyo said China had pledged to “work with us to ensure they are removed forthwith”.
Exactly how they would do that was not explained. China recently refused to condemn North Korea’s torpedo attack on a South Korean warship. It is not in any position to seek concessions from the US or anybody else on sanctions.

And we hope Morgan Tsvangirai explained during his session with the Wang Gang that it was not so clever of the Chinese to place themselves in a five-year alliance with the losing party in Zimbabwe’s elections.

Have the Chinese not considered the implications of backing a party that was firmly rejected by Zimbabweans in the 2008 polls? Can you imagine Tsvangirai flying to Beijing and placing his support firmly behind the Tibetans in their struggle for freedom? 
“Cde Wang” said: “We oppose interference in other countries’ affairs.”
So what’s he doing here?

Reports that a “naughty intelligence officer” (the reports said “intelligent” officer!) found his way into the hotel room where Abbey Chikane, the Kimberley Process monitor, was staying, sound like a serious off-side.
The state media was happy to carry news reports that documents stolen from Chakane’s hotel room had revealed a conspiracy between the KP monitor and the Americans to block Zimbabwe’s Chiadzwa diamonds from international markets.
The state media was not at all bothered that the actions of this “naughty intelligent officer” may have far-reaching consequences for the country’s desperate bid to woo foreign tourists.
Chikane made sensational re-
velations about how state security agents managed to open his bag without his consent and photocopy e-mails which were later published in the state media.
If a distinguished international visitor to the country like Chikane is not safe in his hotel room what about ordinary visitors?

Muckraker enjoys the occasional joust with commentators in the state media who mislead their readers with claims that are wide of the mark.

We had one example of this in the People’s Voice this week where editor Ladislus Ndoro had a go at the Zimbabwe Independent because we published a story from our editor, who was visiting Australia, on remarks made by Foreign Affairs minister Steven Smith.
Ndoro appears to think that because Queen Eizabeth is head of state of Australia as well as Britain, “hence there is no difference between Australia and Britain”. Australia is just an extension of Britain, he argues.

Queen Elizabeth is also head of state of Canada, Jamaica, Belize and the Bahamas. Is it seriously suggested those countries are extensions of Britain or that their foreign policies are dictated from London?
More serious is the People’s Voice’s claim that President Mugabe won the election in June 2008 and that we should all accept that.
As the South Africans and Sadc didn’t accept it, why should we? Why is there a government of national unity if Mugabe won the election so convincingly?

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