Hung Out to Dry

The biggest story of the week under review is that of former general manager of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, Goodwills Masimirembwa’s involvement in a multi-million dollar corruption case. Masimirembwa, who contested and lost the Mabvuku-Tafara seat on a Zanu (PF) ticket, allegedly extorted $6,000,000 from a Ghanaian company that sought to invest in a diamond mine.

Six million isn’t chump change. There is a Shona saying that goes: kana ukadya imbwa, idya hono – if you are going to commit an offence, you might as well do it on a large scale. The literal translation, however, is if you’re going to eat a dog, then eat a male dog. Masimirembwa, with his canine-related name, might have been thinking along those lines. Publicly criticising Masimirembwa, President Mugabe said ‘corruption must go, corruption must go, corruption must go!’ Was this really a case of goodwill – heh heh – on the part of Bob?

Frankly, this is a case of Mugabe attempting to boost his own image. If he truly was against corruption then more of his minions, many of whom own multiple farms and several housing stands, would be investigated. A land-use audit would have been carried out on all farms.

Kumbirai Kangai – who, like Bernie, made off with the country’s millions – naps at the Heroes Acre, despite his GMB scandal. Masimirembwa only did what has been the norm for 33 years. Meanwhile, the EU has lifted “sanctions” on the ZMDC, permitting the mining body to sell its diamonds in Europe.

After dismissing the murder charge against 21 MDC-T members, accused of murdering a police officer in Glen View, High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu condemned the manner in which police carried out their investigation.

He described the arrests as ‘indiscriminate,’ after it emerged that several among the accused had alibis, which the police had disregarded. In a perfect world, significant monetary compensation would be due to these 21 people (and perhaps the family of Rebecca Mafukeni, who died after she was denied medical treatment).

But, hey, this is a place that is far from perfect and the 21 will count themselves lucky if they receive even a letter of apology from the police commissioner.

Smokescreen

On national TV, the president poked fun at Philip Chiyangwa who lost the Hurungwe seat to Peter Matarutse of MDC-T. Mugabe said Chiyangwa had approached the election with arrogance and also said ‘money doesn’t work all the time. The hangers-on in attendance laughed at this humour. What will really worry the reasonable man is that humour is a mask. It is only Chiyangwa and Masimirembwa who have been openly criticised. Why? Because Bob doesn’t really need them. They both lost their parliamentary seats.

Why not use them for public posturing? You fool no-one. With nothing to offer, all the man has are his humorous anecdotes. Frankly, he is like a grandfather seated under a blanket near a village fire, smoking a pipe with several eager grandchildren listening to his stories. All that was missing is ‘paivapo tsuro nagudo,’ or, if you prefer, ‘once upon a time.’ Jokes will not keep the lights on or silence the 12 million rumbling bellies.

The sky is purple. The Jacarandas are in bloom. To children in school, this portends the arrival of October exams. To a farmer, this means the cropping season is almost upon us. While some sit listening to tales of Tsuro naGudo, farmers are waiting for fertiliser and grain assistance. The new finance minister, in a raspy voice we shall hear prevaricating for five more years, said farmers will receive a bag of compound D fertiliser, another bag of compound A fertiliser and 10kg of maize seed. He then goes on to say the government has not yet mobilised resources to assist farmers.

Next Round of Water on Me

Chitungwiza town council says its ground water is contaminated and unfit for human consumption. Residents mostly obtain water from boreholes and wells. While most people only pay for a drink in a bar, Chitungwiza residents are paying for water sold by opportunistic traders. Tap water only dribbles out of their taps once a week and people stand in midnight queues at a school where, somehow, the water trickles from one tap. Disaster looms.

Mugabe said last week there are plans afoot to improve water supply. The question that buzzes about like a mosquito is how a government which failed to provide clean water for 33 years can suddenly wave a wand and make good on its promise.

Women of Zimbabwe Arise held a service delivery protest march and police in combat gear and brandishing truncheons descended upon mothers and daughters, arresting the leaders of the group – Magondonga Mahlangu and Jenni Williams.

Death of a Giant

A very disturbing story made the news recently. More than 60 elephants, a lion, two buffalo, one kudu, two painted dogs and vultures died as a result of deliberate cyanide poisoning on salt-lick blocks in the Hwange National Park.

Tourism minister Walter Mzembi, information minister Jonathan Moyo and minister of environment Saviour Kasukuwere flew in by helicopter to see first hand this disaster. It is believed a syndicate of organised poachers is responsible. Police have so far made arrests and recovered, wait for it, close to half a tonne of ivory destined for Dubai.

The story lacks specifics – names and numbers of those arrested – leading the reasonable man to surmise that somebody is clutching at straws. Ivory is a valued ingredient in the manufacture of Far Eastern medicaments. Forward with the Look East policy.

The cruel irony of this wildlife disaster is that last Saturday was world rhino day.

Mayoral Madness

In the nationwide mayoral and rural council elections, Zanu (PF) won in some towns where MDC-T holds the majority of elected councillors. This means that some MDC-T councillors voted for Zanu (PF) candidates. Even with Nikuv keeping away from the battlefield, the main opposition party managed to shoot itself in the foot. Perhaps there is a silver lining.

The MDC-T councillors were largely blamed for poor service delivery in the major cities, despite working on tight budgets and having to deal with a rival local government minister. Among the newly elected mayors, Tatenda Nhamarare of Mutare, stands out for taking office at only 30 years of age. Good luck to him.

Delusions of Grandeur

Former minister of Youth and Indigenisation, Saviour Kasukuwere has refuted claims that he was demoted to the environment ministry. He says he sees his new job as very important and referred to himself as ‘now the minister of life.’ Minister of life? Perhaps Saviour takes his name literally.

Peacemaking Paradox

At the official opening of the first session of the 8th Parliament, Mugabe said he was ‘ready to work with those who before were at odds with us and our detractors.’ Then he demanded the lifting of sanctions imposed by ‘arrogant Western countries.’ To use an analogy, Bob is like the weird guy in a bar who sees a woman sitting alone, then approaches her and opens with ‘can I buy you a drink, ugly girl?’ It is almost as if he is trying to make peace but after 13 years of hurling insults has forgotten how to do it. These attempts at re-engaging the international community would work better with more diplomacy and less invective.

Give That Girl a Farm

In arts and entertainment, the Zimbabwean flag flies high. NoViolet Bulawayo has showed the imperialist western detractors that daughters of the soil are good writers, by her nomination for the prestigious Man Booker award. At the award ceremony to be held October 15 in London, if the Tsholotsho-born writer finds herself with a microphone in her face and people asking her about Gukurahundi and Murambatsvina, she should tell them, ‘our imperialist detractors are working overtime to reverse the gains of independence.’

Another gallant son of the soil, Dereck Chisora, based in Britain, conquered western imperialism by becoming European heavyweight boxing champion after defeating Germany’s Edmund Berger with a 5th round knock out. We should give them each a farm and wads of diamond money because Zimbabwe will never be a colony again.

We end on a cheerful note. The jacaranda trees are in bloom. Little purple parachutes raining down from tree branches. A man who has banqueted with supermodels has not yet seen beauty… until he has stood beneath the purple tunnel of Leopold Takawira Street, with little lavender bells exploding beneath his feet and the scent of flowers in his nose. It truly is a sight to behold. – Till next week, my pen is capped. – [email protected]

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis

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