Letâ€™s not talk about Gukurahundi
Following the unification of Zanu (PF) and PF Zapu, Mugabeâ€™s party has endeavoured to Photoshop this grisly part of the countryâ€™s past from the history books, but the survivors refuse to forget. While Mugabeâ€™s government habitually shouts about the skull of Nehanda and the bones of many gallant freedom fighters who have not received proper burial, the topic of Gukurahundi is one which is only whispered. Mugabeâ€™s only public reference to Gukurahundi was when he label it â€œa moment of madnessâ€. Vice President Emmerson Mnagagwa is even more flippant. As security minister, Mnangagwa was chief architect of the brutal crackdown on Zapu and perceived supporters of the party and is quoted as having called the genocide a â€œnon event.â€ Even former VP, Joice Mujuru â€“ a Zanu PF rebel who, no doubt, has inside knowledge of the operations of the Fife Brigade, a special unit under her late husbandâ€™s ZNA â€“ was evasive when questioned about Gukurahundi, in a recent interview.
Ndebeles will always be number two in government
Several of Zimbabweâ€™s roads have been named after Zanla war heroes, with every town having a Robert Mugabe Way. It was only after his death that Joshua Nkomo took his rightful position in Zimbabweâ€™s history. However, the names of Nkomoâ€™s deputies, such as Dumiso Dabengwa and Lookout Masuku are only written in very small print in Zanu (PF)â€™s version of the truth. Despite the Unity Accord of 1987, the Vice Presidents from PF Zapu are often spoken of as mere afterthoughts, a situation which has led to a livid Phelekezela Mphoko declaring that he is not Mnangagwaâ€™s junior, but rather his equal.
Mugabeâ€™s party has attempted to please the underdeveloped region of Matebeleland with the erection of Joshua Nkomoâ€™s statue and naming of an airport after the late liberation icon.
What about the other 20 000 skeletons?
Jonathan Moyoâ€™s decision to rebury his father is not only indicative of general sentiment in Matebeleland, but it also sets a tricky precedent for Mugabe. Until now, government has done its best to keep the topic under its hat, but it becomes difficult to prevent any other survivors of Gukurahundi from demanding reburial of the remains of victims, several of whom are in mass graves and mine shafts.
Air Simbabwe â€“ Mugabeâ€™s show of arrogance
In 2013, Mugabe promised to create an improbable 2,2 million jobs within a five-year period, in a country where over 90% are unemployed and industry operates way beneath capacity. As the 2018 election draws near, Zanu (PF) has gone from its boisterous â€œtwo million jobsâ€ claim to rudely telling the citizens to â€œcreate their own jobsâ€ and finally complete silence on the subject . Only a miracle of water-to-wine proportions could create 100,000 jobs â€“ never mind 2,2 million â€“ between now and 2018. But if he has failed to create the promised jobs, Mugabe can pat himself on the back because he has finally put one person to work. Mugabeâ€™s son-in-law, Simba Chikore, who may as well be known as Mugabe-Chikore, has been appointed as Chief Operating Officer of the countryâ€™s national airline.
Mugabeâ€™s privileged princess, Bona, must be delirious with joy. Anyone else would be so scared ifÂ oneâ€™s hubby was appointed to a job he knows very little about. Simba may have excelled at picking up girls, using the gleaming gold bars of his pilot blazer, but running a corporation is not exactly pressing a few buttons in the cockpit, or collecting phone numbers from women.
Corruption runs in the family
First Grace snatched swathes of farm land, then Mugabeâ€™s stepson Russell Goreraza made off with mines and now Simba takes over at Air Zim. So should we expect Chatunga, Robert Jnr and Bona to all grab a parastatal of their own? In contrast, Barack Obama, the most powerful man in the world, has his daughter slogging away in a restaurant rather than just expecting handouts.
Why Simba Chikore?
I have tried to make sense of Mugabeâ€™s latest act of horror â€“ yes, officially we are told Chikore went through an interview process in which he eclipsed 134 other applicants â€“ but each possible explanation just seems silly when brought under scrutiny.
One such explanation is that maybe Mugabe wanted to keep his son-in-law closer to home, rather than have him continue his wandering trade as a pilot. Anyone who knows their Shona proverbs will remember the adage, â€œshiri inemuririro wayo haiuregiâ€(a bird never changes its song). Simba is a reputed (former) ladies man. Maybe to avoid scandal, the in-laws decided to fix him up in a cushy job at home.
He would probably have objected to the idea â€“ he has only been in the family for a few years, which is hardly long enough to corrupt him completely. But somebody probably told him â€œAir Zim doesnâ€™t fly at all, except to Singapore, India, China on Presidential missions, so you canâ€™t really mess things up any more than they already are.â€
Another possible explanation for Chikoreâ€™s dodgy appointment is that Mugabe is running out of people to trust. It is his private airline, right? Perhaps he wants someone he can trust to make sure no saboteurs stuff birdâ€™s nests into the engines of the few remaining aeroplanes. It sounds a farfetched idea, but when something this crazy happens, one runs out of logical justification.
There is only one other rationalisation for Chikoreâ€™s shock employment: Robert Mugabe is basically saying â€œmungandiita sei?â€ I have picked my unqualified son-in-law for the job, so what are you going to do about it?
Till next week, my pen is capped.
Follow me on Twitter @JeraZWPost published in: Featured