Asking for help, Sir

President Mugabe and Grace have travelled to China where they are expected to mouth those words that are synonymous with Harare’s many street beggars – ‘asking for help sir.’ It is just as well that Mugabe does not have to go through the metal detectors at the airport. Otherwise the steel begging bowl concealed under his jacket might have set off the alarm.


Attempting to refute speculation about Mugabe’s begging mission, presidential spokesman George Charamba, who often ties himself in knots with his implausible denials, this time rambled on about ‘we are looking at ourselves as the investors,’ which sounds as strange as a suspect in handcuffs saying he is the policeman.

If we were the financiers – and not China – then why are we troubling a man in his old age with a 10,800 kilometre flight to Beijing? Charamba can phrase it any way he wants but begging by any name is still exactly that. The president’s spin man is attempting to save his boss’ face because only yesterday Mugabe declared that Sadc should be self-reliant and not depend on external funds. During his Sadc speech about self-sufficiency, Mugabe must have forgotten that the begging trip to China was next on his diary.

It is also possible that Mugabe prefers to keep his begging a secret because there is another rumour doing the rounds. After refusing to fund ZimAsset, it is likely that any funding from China will mean mortgaging the country’s minerals. This would leave the Zanu (PF) government looking silly, after their worn out rhetoric about ‘sovereignty.’

While Mugabe is busy with the task of grovelling in China, his vast entourage – which includes ministers, the first lady and his third born – Chatunga – will amuse themselves with shopping, at a time when government cannot afford to pay salaries or school fees for disadvantaged children.

Till next week, my pen is capped. Jerà Twitter @JeraZW

Post published in: News

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