via State of the nation | The Zimbabwean. 12 June 2014
Robert Mugabe usually conserves his choicest insults for state funerals, where he hurls abuse at ‘Britain and her allies.’ On the death of Nathan Shamuyarira, for once it was not an external foe that was the target of Mugabe’s abuse but an enemy within his own party.
Mugabe verbally attacked his chief propagandist, Jonathan Moyo, labelling him ‘the devil incarnate’ and a ‘weevil’ bent on destroying Zanu (PF) from within. Mugabe alleges Moyo replaced pro-Zanu (PF) editors at Zimpapers with MDC sympathisers. The appointment of most editors was nearly a year ago. One would expect that the candidates were thoroughly vetted.
It is also very strange that Mugabe openly says he expects Zimpapers to push party agenda. The president’s expectations of the Zimpapers group are at odds with the expectations of the paying public who demand unbiased news.
On a different day, Mugabe may very well deny that Zimpapers produce biased news reports. In fact, when Sadc recommended media reforms as a prerequisite for elections, such suggestions were laughed off by Zanu (PF).
If Jonathan Moyo is guilty of sowing seeds of disunity, Mugabe has watered and fertilised the crop, firstly by clinging to power long after his sell-by date and secondly by not grooming a successor. He uses factionalism in his party as the perfect excuse to remain in power.
Mugabe has enough university certificates to wallpaper Grace’s newly built Mazowe palace. It is therefore shocking that the erudite President took so long to see Moyo for the political chameleon who is widely believed to have once said ‘the best way to destroy Zanu (PF) is from within.’ The nation’s eyebrows arched when Mugabe welcomed Moyo back into the bosom of the party.
Quietly back down
While Zanu (PF) had made no official announcement at the time of going to print, odds are it is the end of the semester for the Professor. Mugabe may be in a Catch 22, as he is aware that Moyo, co-architect of the controversial July 2013 election victory, knows where all the bodies are buried, metaphorically speaking. It would surprise no-one if Moyo continued in office as Mugabe has, of late, been in the habit of making dramatic announcements only for him to quietly back down – Goodwills Masimirembwa’s alleged $6M extortion, for example.
Whether Moyo remains or is sacked makes no difference as the country will still face the same problems, as long as the administration remains.
Mugabe’s attack on Moyo and his recent criticism of his ministers suggests a cabinet reshuffle is imminent. Already there are signs of nervousness in the party. Energy minister, Dzikamai Mavhaire, who was once red-carded by the party after suggesting Mugabe should resign, has called for unity saying “It is clear that President Mugabe is the leader of the party and there is no vacancy there at the moment.”
With no improvements in electricity supply post July 2013, Mavhaire who has previously been taken to task by Parliament over increasing power cuts, is obviously fearing for his job. If Mugabe was too old to rule four years ago, when Mavhaire suggested he resign, then the president is not any younger now.
Didymus Mutasa, who has previously clashed with information minister, has added his ageing voice to the noise. The 79-year-old Mutasa has urged party members to exterminate weevils using a long banned pesticide called Gamatox which only our grandparents will know of. Mutasa might be speaking metaphorically. But then again, this is Zanu (PF).
Other opportunists, sensing a cabinet change are already circling like buzzards. Former Copac chairman Munyaradzi Mangwana has suddenly dreamt up the idea of creating a body responsible for the alignment of the country’s laws to the new constitution. In these parts we know that when a man suggests the formation of anything it usually means ‘give me the job and the Mercedes that comes with it.’ Mangwana also suggested the ministry of constitutional affairs should have remained in existence. At a time when government is struggling to pay its current employees, an additional ministry or a separate legal drafting body would only add to the crisis.
Mangwana contends that government has stalled on the revision of laws because some of the constitutional provisions seek to ‘clip their wings.’ His point is valid but the delay in revising the laws is the result of a lack of funds and the absence of leadership. While Mugabe wears the presidential title, in reality the country has flown on autopilot with him asleep in the cockpit since dissolution of the GNU.
On occasion, the pilot awakens from slumber, whereupon he makes outbursts over the PA system intended to distract the nervous passengers and to remind them that he still exists.
Harare’s tap water is as pure and holy as alter wine… if you believe everything you read. According to an independent test commissioned by The Herald – a publication which by Mugabe’s own admission pushes party agenda – Harare’s tap water contains no coliform – bacteria, in everyday language – and is safe to drink. For reasons of survival, the sense of smell is directly linked to taste. If it smells good, chances are it is safe to eat or drink. If, on the other hand, it smells of decay and you venture to consume it, chances are you will be lying in the back of an ambulance soon after.
If Harare’s water is safe then it is reasonable to attribute the recurrent outbreaks of diarrhoea to bad juju in the air rather than the obvious source. It is also reasonable to ignore the signs of unsafe tap water: its ever-present odour, the borehole drilling boom and the stacks of bottled water in supermarket aisles and indeed on the conference tables of government officials during television appearances.
No amount of ‘independent tests’ or big words – coliform – will convince the reasonable man into daring to sip from the cesspool that is Harare’s kitchen taps which, quite frankly, should all bear the danger warning sign of skull and crossbones.
Very few official reports can be trusted these days. Mugabe denies that the country’s unemployment rate is 70%, which perhaps is true because the correct figure is much higher. Zimstat contends that unemployment stands at 11%, despite the swarms of unemployed youths loitering at street corners. Even our football matches, played at 3pm on Fridays, suggest that the majority have plenty of time to kill.
Last week, state media made a big song and dance about an EU tourism award. Despite claims that the EU had ‘endorsed Zimbabwe’ as the best tourist destination, the European Union has distanced itself from the body called ECTT, which presented the dubious award to our president, whose PR team will stop at nothing to alter perceptions. - Till next week, my pen is capped. Jerà Twitter: @JeraAfrika