What an eventful three weeks

via What an eventful three weeks! by Garikai Mazara of SundayMail

Phew! What a three weeks it has been. Those who are religiously inclined would argue that a week begins on Sunday, whilst the business-minded would counter-argue that Monday is the beginning of the week. Whichever way, the three weeks gone by might rank as probably the most eventful three weeks of the year.

Mugabe inauguration

Sunday August 18 saw the Southern African Development Community, Sadc in short, give a rousing endorsement of the July 31 harmonised polls. If the endorsement had been limited to speeches and congratulations, we could have easily dismissed it as grand-standing. But Zimbabwe was chosen to be vice-chair, which means that come next August, the Sadc Summit will be held in Harare, or whichever city the Government fancies.

That is a definite seal of approval.

Whenever such big meals are served, there has to be side platters — and it came in no better form than Lindiwe Zulu, yes, getting a Presidential kiss. Those who might have wanted to dismiss all this as another grandstanding occasion must have been surprised when Lindiwe and South African Vice-President Kgalema Motlanthe landed in the city for President Mugabe’s inauguration.

As much as Zulu was getting Presidential kisses (whereupon President Jacob Zuma jokingly inquired when he would receive his bride price), Botswana leader Ian Khama was feeling the heat of swimming upstream. It was in Malawi, joining other Sadc Heads of State, that he finally saw sense and acknowledged that our electoral processes had been as democratic as they can be.

Equally feeling the heat was South African-domiciled Mutumwa Mawere, who is being fingered in an embarrassing lottery scam, to the tune of R4,5 million. On Monday August 19 it was reported that his bank accounts down south had been frozen.

And the social media, always quick to act as prosecution, jury and judge, were quick to nail him as a failed businessman. If the South African courts are to follow the same reasoning patterns as shown by social media bloggers, then Mawere’s fate is sealed.

The Warriors, who are being called the Worriers by some, drew blanks against Zambia, in a match many had hoped would bring a glimmer of hope to a nation which is suffering embarrassing losses on the international scene, in the sporting sense. But that doom and gloom was to be wiped out a week later, when Ian Gorowa’s charges beat Chipolopolo in their own backyard.

Not to be outdone was the cricket side. After their dismal whitewash by Bangladesh, few gave the locals any chance against visiting Pakistan. In a One-Day International series, Zimbabwe grabbed the opener, winning by seven wickets, Zimbabwe’s first victory over Pakistan since 1998.

But that joy was to be short-lived. A day later, the two teams were squaring off again, Pakistan emerging the winners, by 90 runs, making the subsequent game a decider. Zimbabwe lost.

Then on Tuesday August 20, the political atmosphere was getting electric, exciting. The whole drama started with Morgan Tsvangirai’s lawyers disowning the losing Presidential candidate’s founding affidavits, presented to the Constitutional Court.

In the affidavits, Tsvangirai questioned the impartiality and integrity of the courts, the same courts he was approaching for judgment. He had withdrawn his unsworn affidavits the Friday before, which did not stop the ConCourt from making a determination.

To those who were keenly following the ConCourt proceedings, it must have been with little surprise when it was announced that Tsvangirai had lost his case. Besides losing his case, his lawyers faced possible prosecution for labelling the courts incompetent. The matter was referred to the Attorney-General’s Office for prosecution.

By Tuesday August 20, Simon Chimbetu’s widow, Angela, was still holed up in Chitungwiza Central Hospital, after suffering bouts of pneumonia and high blood pressure, presumably as an after-effect of the energy-sapping commemorative concerts held to remember the eight years since the Dendera musician had passed away.

The Tuesday marked a week she was in hospital but as fate would have it, she was not going to see another Tuesday, as on Saturday she passed away, to join her husband in heaven. She was buried at Warren Hills Cemetery on Monday.

It was the same Tuesday that Harare woke up to the shocking news that Irvine Mereki, a once-respected businessman in the capital, and son to Mereki (who founded the popular KwaMereki but was no longer running any business enterprise there by the time of his death), had committed murder and suicide.

In what psychologists call “orgasmic anger” Irvine shot his girlfriend Claris Chopamba (some say she was his second wife), soon after making love. Presumably, as they were both found dead and naked in Chopamba’s bedroom in Avondale.

They were to be buried, albeit at different resting places, on the same Saturday Mai Chimbetu was to pass away. Also breathing his last was veteran nationalist Cde Kumbirai Kangai, who was buried at the National Heroes’ Acre last week.

Still on guns-and-romance-gone-wrong, Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee who is alleged to have sent his lover to the heavens rather prematurely on Valentine’s Day this year (of all days), was found by the South African courts to have a case to answer. His case will go to trial in March next year. He was formally charged with premeditated murder.

In the face of Tsvangirai losing his ConCourt application, as per Constitutional expectations which stipulate that the winning candidate has to be inaugurated within 48 hours of any court ruling, Thursday was duly declared a national holiday to allow for the inauguration of President Mugabe.
But as the mood was getting expectant in the country, that the four-or-so years of forced marriage were virtually coming to an end, that mood was somehow dampened by the deaths of two citizens of high social standing, Retired Air Commodore Michael Karakadzai and Cde Enos Nkala, one of the founding fathers of Zanu-PF. Incidentally, Zanu-PF was formed at Cde Nkala’s house in Highfield on August 8 1963.

Rtd Air Commodore Karakadzai was to be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre on Sunday, whilst Cde Enos Nkala was interred on Thursday.
It was in the same week, in a move that startled many, especially the hard-pressed consumer, that telecommunications regulator Potraz ordered Econet to revert to the normal 25 cents per minute billing, instead of the 10 cents per minute promotional campaign that Econet had embarked on.

Many queried whether Potraz got its calculations right, and whther it had not overstepped its mandate, because if any competition rules were compromised, the matter should have been handled by the Tariffs and Competition Commission and not Potraz.

It goes without saying that the biggest event of that week had to be President Mugabe’s inauguration at the National Sports Stadium. The venue was packed, as expected, to the rafters. The fully subscribed ceremony which saw heads of state and government, past and present, converging on Harare, ended in the wee hours of Friday morning, as a musical fiesta followed the afternoon proceedings.

Aside from the historical significance of the event, the other talking points in town were the two pieces of chicken, a can of cool drink, a cap, T-shirt and “Zambia” cloth that was given to almost everyone upon entry into the stadium.

As weary legs and sore minds digested the week’s events, of which the inauguration clearly stands out, punctuated by the presence of Jamaican reggae band Black Uhuru, it was kick-off time for the Harare Agricultural Show and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly.

The Agricultural Show was officially opened on Friday by President Mugabe, with the UNWTO officially opened last Sunday with the closing ceremony held on Wednesday. The General Assembly was co-hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia.

On Monday, the Sadc Election Observer Mission, which observed the country’s July 31 poll, released its final report. The mission reported that the elections were peaceful, free, fair and credible. This was the verdict. But losers are still complaining, accusing the mission of producing a flawed report. Of course, what could they say? They would not have said the same thing had the elections produced a different result.

And on Tuesday, Parliament came alive with the swearing in of new legislators. The unmistakable feature was the coming on board of new members under the proportional representation system. Cde Jacob Mudenda was elected National Assembly Speaker while Cde Edna Madzongwe retained the position of Senate President.

Cdes Mabel Chinomona and Chenhamo Chimutengwende were elected Deputy National Assembly Speaker and Deputy Senate President respectively.

It was a joyous occasion for Zanu-PF, one that came after a resounding victory on July 31. The First Session of the Eighth Parliament is scheduled to begin on September 17, marking the beginning of serious legislative business.

In any normal week, Mereki’s shooting of his girlfriend over waning business fortunes should have dominated headlines for the whole month. But in a three-week period that was so congested with events, it might even be argued that Energy Mutodi could have been the happiest person on earth, after being finally granted bail, over fraud allegations. His joy must have been short-lived, as he came home to the news that his disenchanted band members were looking for greener pastures.