The stench of corruption and urine

The Zimbabwe anti corruption commission is looking into several complaints against former local government minister, Ignatius Chombo. One case implicates Chombo in fraud relating to the acquisition and sale of a piece of land designated as public space in the suburb of Glen Lorne.

Walter Mzembi
Walter Mzembi

Whatever the nature of these allegations, the press report suggests it is a long list of charges. We wait with baited breath to see if Mugabe picks him for a cabinet post, ignoring the stench of alleged corruption. In a separate matter involving Chombo, the MDC-T has reversed its decision to nominate non-elected councillors for mayoral posts in Chitungwiza, Bulawayo and Harare. Prior to the announcement of the U-turn, the MDC lodged an appeal with the electoral court, seeking an interdict to prevent Chombo from interfering with the mayoral election process. However, the electoral court rejected the case, stating that it did not have jurisdiction on such a matter.

The U-turn spares Morgan Tsvangirai potential embarrassment, as his legal team had already got off to a poor start by taking the matter to the wrong court.

Chirping crickets

The country is waiting for Mugabe to announce his new cabinet. But only the chirping of crickets can be heard from Munhumutapa Building. Rumours of courting the MDC have refused to go away. Poor old Bob must feel like the girl who has been invited to a party and all her dresses are dirty. There are some things that $10,5 million cannot buy.

The state has reopened a Z$300,000 case from 1999, involving MDC-T’s Douglas Mwonzora and his client Lameck Kunjeku. The complainant, Kunjeku, withdrew his charge but the state insists on proceeding with the matter. Regional Magistrate, Themba Kuwanda, returning public belief in the judiciary, said ‘general law of practice says once a complainant says he is no longer interested, the matter is withdrawn’. The judge said the prosecutor’s actions brought unnecessary suspicion on the system.’ Give that man a Bells.

Chief Justice, Godfrey Chidyausiku swore in the newly elected parliamentarians last week. Thereafter, the MPs voted Zanu (PF)’s Jacob Mudenda as speaker of the national assembly. The MDC abstained from the election in which their vote would have been pointless, given Zanu (PF)’s advantage in numbers.

Real Madrid mining

Ex-Real Madrid and Barcelona footballer, Louis Figo was in the country, to explore investment opportunities in mining. Hang on. Are we not screaming “indigenisation” from the tops of soap boxes? Is Figo in possession of a Makombe building-issued green bomber passport that we are not aware of?

Walter Mzembi, the baby-faced interim custodian of the tourism ministry, has announced plans for the construction of an ‘Eden’ in Victoria falls, comprising a skating rink, a zoo, a replica of the Victoria Falls bridge and a garden. The government has allocated 200 hectares of land for the ambitious project. Perhaps we have so much land that we don’t know what to do with it.

The desperation to return Zimbabwe to the tourism map has intensified. Previously, the government roped in international celebrities such as RnB singer, Joe Thomas, to whom former environment minister, Francis Nhema – we paraphrase – said ‘go and spread the world about us’.

What might bring more tourism is the respect of human rights and conducting unrigged elections. Also, it makes no sense to invite tourists to see caged animals in a zoo when what the continent offers is the chance to see animals in their natural habitat. If Mzembi thinks a few monkeys swinging on iron bars inside a cage can draw as many visitors as the Serengeti or Kruger park, then he might just be as naïve as his smooth face suggests.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has written to Robert Mugabe, urging him to take steps to fulfil human rights obligations, which include press freedom, security sector reforms to guarantee neutrality of the defence forces and ensuring accountability for past human rights abuses.

This is the sort of thing that would cause Zanu (PF) to slap their collective thigh and roll over the floor in teary-eyed laughter. For 33 years the party has trampled on human rights. A letter post-marked New York is not going to suddenly inspire a behavioural change.

A public lashing

Tapiwa Matambo of Epworth has been given a 10-year jail sentence for stealing TelOne cables believed to be valued at $84. Matambo sustained gunshot wounds to his legs as he attempted to evade arrest. The law is a strange creature. The combined cost of Matambo’s trial, surgery to extract bullets from his legs and feeding him during his prison stay, calculated at, say, a dollar per day, will cost more that $3,000. No logic can explain the madness of the law.

While we cannot condone vandalism of our national infrastructure, keeping him in jail will cost the taxpayer a heck of a lot more. Perhaps a public lashing – say 10 strokes per day for an entire week – or hard labour on a government farm would be a better punishment.

David Hazangwi of Dzivarasekwa has appeared in civil court on allegations of spousal abuse. His wife, Venus Rusike, claims that he once ordered her to place her hands on a hot stove as punishment for not opening the door quickly enough. In a separate story, a magistrate granted a protection order against Munashe Murangwani, preventing him from coming near his wife, Patience Pundo.

Murangwani, it is alleged, poured urine over his wife’s face. Perhaps it makes him feel more manly? We are two months away from the November, in which the world observes 16 days of activism against violence on women and children.

To set aside 16 days in a year implies that men are free to terrorise their families for 349 days of the year and pay lip service to the cause, come November. As a nation, we need to act against spousal abuse. It is everybody’s civic duty to act. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” – Edmund Burke. – On that note, my pen is capped. [email protected]

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