Three days after making changes to his Cabinet and appointing 14 new faces, many people are still wondering what could have been happening in the heads of President Robert Mugabe and his advisors.
The President created new portfolios, changed others, appointed several deputy ministers and, perhaps having run out of portfolios, appointed a full minister Without Portfolio!
Mugabe’s usual critics were so dumbfounded they expressed exasperation by posting on social media platforms: “Ahhh- yaa [sigh]. No Comment”.
It cannot be lack of information on the state of the nation in terms of economic standing that drove Mugabe and whoever was advising him to make a conscious decision to belabour the country with such needless expenditure.
It can also not be governance ineptitude because it is inconceivable Mugabe could be so insensitive; cruel to the people of this country — including those that have kept him in power for over 35 years. It could not have been out of necessity because none of the appointments made last Friday are urgently needful.
One plausible reason could then have been outright arrogance and the need by Mugabe and his party to ensure political security, to silence dissent and to reward certain people for working towards increasing their cushion.
Mugabe is obviously aware of the cost implications of such vulgarity to the national purse and therefore the wellbeing of the ordinary Zimbabweans, but clearly he and those around him, like his deputies, do not care anymore.
“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorises it, and a moral code that glorifies it.” This observation was made by one of the world’s great thinkers, a political economist, Frederic Bastiat, way back in 1850.
While the generality of Zimbabweans must bear the effects of grinding national poverty, Mugabe and Zanu PF are seeking to chisel out more of the national cake for themselves, just because nobody can stop them!
Zimbabwe has one of the largest cabinets in the world and, given efforts that appeared to have been put with the IMF, including a commitment to cut government expenditure, nobody would have dreamt Mugabe could have ventured into such monstrosity — appointing completely unnecessary deputy ministers and even ministers with no portfolios.
But then Zanu PF finds nothing wrong or shameful about such naked arrogance.
After the ruthless plunder of our diamonds and other forms of national wealth, the scavengers now want to gnaw at the remaining bare bones. They want us to buy houses in the leafy suburbs and brand new cars for people whose services government does not need at all.
And, while the politicians pursue their agenda of piling riches upon riches, the poor and hungry masses worry about their growing misery wrought upon them by rotten governance.
Mugabe and Zanu PF appear to be completely out of touch with the reality that the citizens of this country are among the poorest in the region and the continent.
They seem determined to bleed this country to death — completely oblivious of the fact that if they continue on this path, there soon will be nothing to go after, but each other.
A close look at the new appointments shows VP Emmerson Mnangagwa had a big hand in this latest Mugabe handiwork. The Crocodile has clearly taken the opportunity to reward those that fought for his survival in the murky Zanu PF waters.
The kind of people we have as government leaders are those that would want to justify their obscene wealth in the midst of stinking national poverty with claims that they have worked hard — and that the masses that have toiled for their deep pockets have not done enough to pull up themselves by their bootstraps — never mind most of us never had the straps, nor the boots.
Each time Mugabe has made senseless Cabinet reshuffles, he defends the move with a passion and those that surround him will always glorify the good leader’s reasoning without question.
Ten years ago, Mugabe put together what he called a “War Cabinet” whose mandate he said was to deal with the then rampant white-collar crime that saw company executives and bankers flee the country or jailed.
Members of that “War Cabinet” included such amadoda sibili (real men), as Mugabe dubbed them, like Ignatius Chombo, Obert Mpofu and others. Their brief was to root out corruption and dishonesty — to probe and punish plunderers of our economy.
The President, embarrassed and exasperated by wanton thieving of public funds, had taken a hard public stance against graft and greed.
The nation believed he had found the panacea to Zimbabwe’s mortal cancer and that lessons would be learnt from the real big heads that everyone expected would roll.
That did not happen. Yes, the so-called masters of externalisation and money laundering were either locked up or haunted out of the country, but the big fish — rotten to the core — simply swam deeper under water. The fatwa on corruption failed to yield expected results.
After a year of his rather boastful announcement of the “War Cabinet”, it was none other than Mugabe himself who came out to tell the nation that his amadoda sibili had turned out to be one of “the worst cabinets I have ever had”.