Looters in national colours

As the knell announced the death of Kumbirai Kangai, Zanu (PF) spokesman, Rugare Gumbo, announced that some senior party members had put forward Kangai’s name for the post of deputy president of the senate, in recognition of his role in the liberation struggle. Let’s call a spade a spade. When most people hear the name Kangai, it is the GMB scandal that comes to mind, not the struggle.

Liberation war nostalgia is the primary problem of this country. Matakadyakare haanyaradzi mwana. You cannot silence a crying child with memories of yesteryear’s meal. ‘Don’t cry my child, mummy fed you last week?’ The speeches about ‘the struggle,’ quite frankly, have worn thin now. Like the Durawall graffiti says, taneta, zvakwana.

The flourishing grapevine

Following his inauguration, Robert Mugabe was expected to announce his new cabinet. But what came from Munhumutapa Offices was… silence. Information is the antidote for speculation. Without information, an epidemic of rumour is inevitable. MDC-T youth chairman, Solomon Madzore – the young man who hurls ‘limping donkey’ insults at the presidium – made claims, true or otherwise, that Morgan Tsvangirai had been offered the position of 1st vice president plus five cabinet posts, to sweeten the deal. Tsvangirai has said he wants no part in helping Mugabe in his search for legitimacy. What the thinking man would immediately ask is how such an arrangement would work. The two parties are poles apart and, for a man as concerned about preserving internal peace as Mugabe is, to install Tsvangirai as his number two would infuriate his loyal lieutenants. Beyond that, Tsvangirai would also enrage his loyal supporters. Before such a set up could ever work, three things need to happen: MDC-T and Zanu (PF) need to become chums, Tsvangirai would have to lose his mind and, most importantly, hell would have to freeze over.

While it is reasonable for the citizenry to be anxious about news of the new cabinet, Mugabe might argue that he has been busy this month. There was the MDC-T concourt petition, the Lilongwe Sadc meeting, then came the belated presidential inauguration, the heroes day festivities, official openings of the UNWTO assembly and the Harare agricultural show. He might even point to the three state funerals that he had to attend – Kangai, Karakadza and Nkala – all of which left him out of breath, from hurling abuse at the Breeetish.

White wigs & wisdom

My grandfather used to run his fingers through his grey hair and say, “this is the mark of wisdom”. This is precisely the reason judges wear white wigs. Then I learned that there is an exception to every rule.

Ignatius Chombo, white haired and wise, ordered all urban councils to write off the debts owed by ratepayers. Town councils collect money from ratepayers to enable service delivery, such as water purification and refuse removal, without which modern society cannot function. When garbage piles up and untreated water emerges from kitchen taps, the cholera outbreak of 2008 comes to mind. Chombo, we presume, was sure that even if his populist ploy for garnering votes did not work, the MDC-run urban councils would be saddled with the problem, post July 31st, and not Zanu (PF). See what I mean by the wisdom of white hair.

The MDC won the council elections in the three big cities: Chitungwiza, Harare and Bulawayo. Tsvangirai has nominated mayoral candidates, some of whom are not elected councillors. Chombo is tugging at the white wig of wisdom in frustration and threatens to block such nominations, arguing that mayoral candidates must be picked from within the elected councillors. Tsvangirai holds up a copy of the new constitution and jabs a finger at section 272(1), insisting that the appointments are lawful.

Away from the subject of mayors and angry ministers, Harare City Council’s, Lesley Gwindi, has warned residents of the capital to expect more water shortages, as summer approaches. The demand for water is higher in summer and the water purification equipment is dilapidated. Perhaps if all council debts had not been flushed down the toilet, the situation might be less dire.

Two ply trivia

Speaking of flushing lavatories, 26-year-old Takura Mufumisi of Masvingo is in a spot of bother for his rather cheeky ablution improvisation. Mufumisi appeared before a magistrate, facing allegations of using Robert Mugabe’s campaign poster as no-name brand toilet paper. Prosecutors routinely complain of a huge case backlog. If indeed they are under so much pressure of work, then they shouldn’t waste precious court time prosecuting trivial cases.

Maunderings

At the funeral of Kumbirai Kangai, Mugabe, without anyone’s prompting, said the Rhodesian forces killed Herbert Chitepo. Above the head of the thinking man, there is immediately a thought bubble, reading ‘dude who asked you and why do you feel the need to say it?’ Whispered rumours have often attributed Chitepo’s death to his own comrades.

At a different burial, that of retired air commodore Mike Karakadzai, Mugabe, bored with attacking the Breetish, switched to a new target: Bulawayo and Harare residents, to whom he said ‘go and get from the MDC-T what you were promised during elections’. Strangely, at his inauguration, Mugabe said he wanted to revive industry in Bulawayo. The last time Mugabe was annoyed with voters, bulldozers tore down people’s homes.

Keeping abreast

Still on presidential ramblings, at the opening of the Harare agricultural show, Mugabe mocked his opponents, saying they had suckled on the bosom of the white madam, from whom they did not want to be weaned. If this fellow did indeed win the election, why does he have to continue speaking of the opposition? They shouldn’t matter to him now, should they?

Boycott babble

The MDC has said it will boycott the opening of parliament, in protest against the election robbery. What would really impress their supporters is if they boycotted everything entirely; from the swearing in of parliamentarians to the double cab trucks that come with the job. Let’s see if they can do that.

More money more madness

The Zimbabwe teachers association, Zimta, is demanding a minimum salary of $800 per month for its members. Is that Nairas or American dollars? Looking at international wages for the teaching profession, Zimta’s demands are reasonable, but crazy within the Zimbabwean context. If there was no money in the state coffers last month, then chances are there is still no money, unless of course an orchard has been discovered, and at its centre is a tree, with branches sagging beneath the weight of dollars and rands. – Till next week, my pen is capped. – [email protected]

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