Mliswa: sad symbol of Zanu (PF)

Temba Mliswa is a gritty, weird but funny politician. He is useful too, for he has a knack of providing graphic detail about the form and character of the party to which he belongs - Zanu (PF). He is a towering but sad symbol of the party.

Temba Mliswa
Temba Mliswa

It is telling that he is not only a Member of Parliament who heads a parliamentary portfolio committee (Education, Arts, Sports and Culture), but is also a whole provincial chair of the party in Mashonaland West. My soul dies when a person of his calibre is placed in the position of overseeing education and culture, because he is both a bad example and a bad custodian.

What culture must we entrust him with when he has the audacity to tell the world, without any shame, that he is not prepared to repay millions of dollars that he controversially obtained from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe? And what education does he intend to give from that?

Readers will recall that just recently Mliswa admitted that he still owed the RBZ more than $2 million. Disturbingly, he boasted that he would only return the money when we get back to the Zimdollar. This is despite the fact that he got the loan in the US greenback, which we have been using since 2009 and which it is highly unlikely we will abandon any time soon – going by the pronouncements from his political ilk in Zanu (PF).

Raided?

Of course, his attitude reeks of crass impunity. He does not wince at the reality that he is prejudicing the RBZ and the country by holding back millions that should have been used to either fund central bank operations or meet other financial obligations. Needless to say, that money might have been raided from the accounts of hapless individuals or institutions whose activities could have already been compromised.

It does not helpthat his statements are inconsistent. When he failed to pay back the loan in the first instance, he claimed that the tobacco he had procured using the money was destroyed by moisture. We took that with a pinch of salt when he said it several years ago, of course. Now he is saying there is a clause in the agreement that he signed with RBZ that allows him to repay the money in a local currency that does not exist and might not return in a long time. What he has not told us is that the agreement was made during the existence of the Zimdollar and it therefore does not make sense for him to cling to that clause.

As Basildon Nyabadza, one of the high profile figures he claims to have been involved in shadowy deals with, said, Mliswa has penchant to start bush fires, but who needs his conflagrations when our forests are already decimated?

And, talking about those deals, it will always batter the mind why Mliswa thinks that introducing a businessman to politicians is consultancy. He is claiming lots of money from Billy Rautenbach for connecting him to influential politicians and individuals, among them his uncle, Didymus Mutasa, who works right under President Robert Mugabe’s nose as the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs.

I don’t see how introducing Billy to Mutasa entails consultancy, because Mutasa does not work at the Deeds Office, is not a proprietor of a mine (well, we have not been told that yet) and neither is he a businessman in the areas in which Rautenbach is moving. What does shareholding in Unki or Green Fuel have to do with Mutasa?

That brings me to my next point. That Mliswa flew in that helicopter to Manicaland, risking his life as he claims, and Billy ended up with the major stake in Green Fuel where Nyabadza, coincidentally, is the chairperson betrays the rot in Zanu (PF). Gone are the days when, if you wanted to buy or set up a company, you went to the relevant authorities. Now, you just have to be connected to the correct people in Zanu (PF) – and then simply pay your way through.

I don’t have any reason to believe otherwise; Mliswa said it in bold black and white and, of course, this is what we have always heard. Who has not heard about the many international dealers who have been introduced to Mugabe, and some who have lost money because there were MPs and ministers who tricked them into believing that they could be taken to the president in return for a big share of pie? Mugabe himself has said that, and we have heard it from many other corners.

The bottom line is, Mliswa is just an archetype of the sorry culture in Zanu (PF) that thrives on corruption, deceit and clandestine machinations. If he was not, he would not have been catapulted to his current position as a chair of a whole province. The legacy has to live on. – To comment on this article, please contact [email protected]

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