When will Mugabe return Libya’s 4 camels to the NTC?

Contrary to high expectations that Mugabe would rein in party stalwarts including most Cabinet ministers implicated in the WikiLeaks disclosures, the octogenarian avoided tackling the explosive issue in a show of poor leadership and hypocrisy.

Instead, he reportedly spent almost an hour talking about his erstwhile slain bosom buddy Col Muammar Gaddafi whom he described as “naïve” by sapping with the West and Europe where he heavily invested.

“Just a few years before he died he made the undertaking on investing in Africa, but we saw him dishing out camels and we got four which are at the farm,” he said. Many people now wonder: “When will Mugabe return Libya’s 4 camels to the NCT?”

The BBC television coverage of the Zanu-pf conference on Thursday 8 December 2011 helped remind those outside Zimbabwe how the former ruling party remains steeped in fear and denial of the harm their party has caused to the country’s economy for selfish reasons.

One praise singer at the conference, politburo member and Bulawayo Resident minister Cain Mathema in typical see-no evil, hear-no-evil and speak-no-evil Zanu-pf style, blamed company closures in Bulawayo on what he called “sanctions that were deliberately invited by the MDC so that workers would blame Zanu-PF.”

Momentarily, Governor Cain Mathema forgot that over the past year Zanu-pf youths reportedly took over some buildings owned by Zimbabweans of Indian origin, claiming it was part of their indigenisation drive.

For instance, in May 2011, Victoria House block of flats along Hebert Chitepo Street owned by Essats family of Indian origin was reportedly taken over by Zanu-pf youths. Other buildings which were “seized” or occupied include Elons Court, Zambesia and the Capri.

In August 2011, the owner of Elons court, Khalil Gaibe, tried to have the youths evicted, but riot police who showed up at the premises were unable to move them.

The same Cain Mathema, alongside another Zanu-pf Matabeleland South governor Angeline Masuku in March last year blamed sanctions for clocking 2 400km a week in chauffer-driven government cars to their work stations for several years.

Angeline Masuku said in a bid to beat “sanctions” she was forced to drive more than 240 kilometres daily in her Mercedes Benz E280 between a farm on the outskirts of Bulawayo and her offices in Gwanda. Similarly, Cain Mathema also commutes between rural Tsholotsho and Bulawayo where he is a metropolitan governor.

A simple calculation of the mileage and fuel consumption by the two governors gives a hint of the scale of waste of national resources when generalised to the rest of Mugabe’s cabinet, politburo, central committee and permanent secretaries most of who were rewarded with looted farms scattered all over the country.

For example, resident minister Angeline Masuku who is expected to work 5 days a week and 52 weeks a year, travelled 62 400 kilometres in one year excluding possible travel at weekends.

In the five year period by which time the story broke out in March last year (The Zimbabwe Times, 29/03/10) Masuku had travelled 312 000 kilometres. If she is still doing that, and we add her mileage for 2011, (62 400 kms) we get 374 400 kms- just below a half a million kilometres in six years!

In terms of fuel, Mrs Masuku used about 150 litres every week just to get to “work”. That brings the fuel consumption for one year (52 weeks) to 7 800 litres or 39 000 litres for five years. By 08/12/11, Mrs Masuku had used about 46 800 litres of fuel (i.e. 7 800 for one year plus 39 000 for five years).

Like Angeline Masuku, Cain Mathema had up to the time of his speech yesterday 8 December 2011 used about 46 800 litres of fuel to travel 374 400 kms at a cost of US$65 520 if their cars run on diesel or US$69 732 if they are still commuting based on prices ruling in January 2011. We have not factored in the driver’s pay and the car’s maintenance.

According to the Independent of 20 January 2011, as of Tuesday 18 January 2011 the price of diesel rose from US$1.15 per litre in December 2010 to between US$1.30 and US$1.40 per litre while petrol was selling at between US$1.40 and US$1.49 from US1.25 per litre during the same period.

Ironically, Mugabe travelled in a bullet proof ZIM1limousine surrounded by a dozen plus security vehicles and outriders to meet Zambian President Sata whose country is exporting maize to Zimbabwe, who arrived with his family in a Toyota minibus registration number AJB 7970 driven by a plain clothed policeman.

Zimbabwe’s Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara is reportedly flying business class every week on Monday between Harare and Johannesburg where he is believed to live in the posh Sandton suburb while hard-pressed tax payers pay for his travel.

In contrast, the British Prime Minister David Cameron surprised a Bollywood actress who saw him as a standing passenger on London’s Jubilee line underground train and he told her it was quicker for him to travel on the tube than using the road. To those who know basic economics and time management, every cent/penny counts, so is every minute!

Conspiracy theories will not rescue Zimbabwe’s economy but good leadership. That leadership should start with primary elections for a new Zanu-pf leadership at the Bulawayo Conference because investors are anxiously holding back.

Clfford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Aanalyst, London, [email protected]

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