State of the nation

Chief Mabhikwa-Khumalo of Lupane has appealed for food assistance. Lupane villagers have been driven by circumstance to rewind their sun-dials back to the hunter-gatherer days. Most survive on wild fruit. And don’t let us hear anybody say the land reform is a failure, comrades.

Hippocrisy

Environment Minister Savior Kasukuwere has evicted miners operating in Mashonaland Central, citing river pollution and siltation. It would be easier to locate hens’ teeth than to find an honest politician. Not long ago, Kasukuwere was on some chaotic Robin Hood crusade, doling out mines to anybody who had a pick and shovel, all in the name of indigenisation. Suddenly he has had a moment of clarity on river pollution – eureka!

One wonders if some of these actions are not merely photo moments – you know, public gestures meant to create the impression of a hardworking minister.

Murambatsvina Reloaded

Ignatius Chombo’s Local Government ministry has ordered the demolition of 10,000 homes in Chitungwiza that have been illegally constructed. Of course now that the elections are over, the Silver Fox can, without remorse, drive a fleet of bulldozers into the homes of honest hardworking Zimbabweans.

Assuming an occupancy rate of five per house, once demolition is complete, 50,000 people will be homeless. It is very hard to miss ten thousand structures being built. City councillors drove by these houses during construction phase. Where were the authorities when 10,000 houses were being built and why did they not intervene at foundation level?

Home to Roost

Halfway into October, it has emerged that the Harare city council has not yet paid September salaries to its employees. A great man recently said (to Bulawayo and Harare residents) ‘go and get from Tsvangirai what he promised you.’ To take a leaf out of that man’s journal, the employees should go and get their salaries from the Silver Fox, for it is he who cancelled all council debts. Chombo’s chickens have come home to roost.

Police Purges

Word on the streets is that commissioner general Augustine Chihuri is cleaning up house. Following corruption allegations, the Commissioner Responsible for Operations, Oliver Chibage, has ‘retired’ (read sacked) and chief superintendent Joel Tenderere has been transferred to Nkayi. The commissioner is saying, ‘Go and be corrupt somewhere else. Somewhere like um… er… Nkayi!’

Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire has been summoned to Parliament to explain the intensifying power cuts. That sentence should be followed by a ‘LOL.’ Does Parliament imagine that Mavhaire is a mischievous boy playing with the Zesa switch, lowering and lifting the lever as he pleases? Once Mavhaire explains the obvious – we cancelled Zesa debts, hakuna mari – perhaps the minister responsible for roads should also explain why there are craters on our streets and the health minister might also tell us why our hospitals look like death.

Taxed To Death

Thokozani Khupe, a cancer survivor, has called for a cancer levy. This is a noble suggestion. However, only a small fraction of adults are formally employed.

These are the people that surrender nearly 50% of their earnings to the taxman. This small group is also paying Aids levy and NASA contributions. To demand more money from an already overtaxed and underpaid workforce is unjust especially when the taxation net does not cover the informal sector. Furthermore, legislators should not have to live through a problem before they can take personal ownership of such a problem.

For example, the visually impaired daily negotiate pavements with yawning manholes yet parliamentarians do nothing to solve that problem. It should not take a visually impaired MP (or indeed a cancer surviving legislator) to tackle a national problem.

The quality of health service – pregnant women sleeping on hospital floors, unavailability of ARVs, shortage of doctors – whether for cancer or for any other illness, has been appalling since the late 90s, when we went pillaging for diamonds in the DRC and drugs meant for state institutions were redirected to the ZNA.

Fong-Kong Limousine

There were wild cheers in parliament when Temba Mliswa suggested we should not support the automotive industries of countries that have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe. Parked a block away, outside Munhumutapa Building, is a mile-long limousine, with the license plate “Zim 1.” On the bonnet of the presidential limo is the three-pronged star of Mercedes Benz, a German brand. We eagerly wait to see our great leader ensconced in a limo from North Korea, escorted by a fleet of Mahindra police cars. To try and impose reverse sanctions on Western nations is cutting off the nose to spite the face.

Barbecue in Beitbridge

A group of men identified as war veterans have invaded a wildlife conservancy in Beitbridge. The group harassed employees and tourists on the farm. They also attempted to gain entry into the cold room, no doubt, to get a barbecue going to celebrate Zimbabwe’s sovereignty.

According the proprietor, Ian Ferguson, there was not much help from the police who seemed chummy with the mob. What is strange about this incident is that only a month ago we bragged about hosting the most highly

attended UNWTO. We placed ourselves on the tourism shop window. Mzembi and Mugabe told the world that Zimbabwe is open for business. Clearly, the president’s minions have not received the memo. Here’s the thing. Much as we will “never be a colony again,” the country needs foreign and direct investment. Harassing tourists or disrupting what little farming operations are going on in the country does not amount to patriotism.. – Till next week, my pen is capped. – [email protected]

Post published in: Analysis
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