Mugabe’s ‘Loot Committee’

FOLLOWING the invasion of present-day Zimbabwe, Cecil John Rhodes’ British South Africa Company (BSAC) established a “Loot Committee” in 1895 to take charge of the plunder of the country’s natural resources.

Source: Mugabe’s ‘Loot Committee’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 31, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

The colony was aptly named Rhodesia and fell under BSAC management until Britain granted it its first constitution in 1923. Zanu PF is President Robert Mugabe’s version of the BSAC. Mugabe seems to have followed suit. His government is virtually a re-incarnation of Rhodes’ Loot Committee. Mugabe will be 93 in just under eight weeks and with each passing day pushing towards his coveted century. As has become the norm, Mugabe’s regime, represented by motor-mouth wife First Lady Grace and the motely group of cohorts who make up his Cabinet team continued with its feeding frenzy in anticipation of the nonagenarian’s demise.

Instead of finding solutions to the deepening problems Zimbabwe is facing, Mugabe’s government has found time to loot, rob, pilfer and literally rape the country’s national economy systematically. None of those in the bloated Cabinet deserve any marks and NewsDay tries to make an evaluation of their performances, if one can call it that.
Meanwhile, the groaning from Zimbabweans seemed to have reached a crescendo with no end in sight to the pain and suffering. Mugabe and his over 30 ministers are literally driving Zimbabwe back to the dark ages amid corruption scandals that could torpedo the whole Executive.

MUGABE: It would be almost criminal to expect much from him given reports from insiders that he is sleeping most of the time. When he finally comes to, Mugabe found himself rejected by his wartime colleagues in the war veterans fraternity through a damning communiqué in July. That among his most notable achievements in 2016 was the official opening of an Internet café at the recent Zanu PF 16th annual conference in Masvingo speaks volumes about how the mighty have fallen. 0/10

Emmerson Mnangagwa (VP)

He is still nurturing ambitions to succeed Mugabe after over 50 years of loyal service as the veteran politician’s ‘most trusted lieutenant’, although publicly he has denied harbouring such plans. However, 2016 has been his most difficult years with open opposition to his bid from within led by Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo. Mnangagwa has reportedly received backing from Britain in particular and sections within the US government despite his links to the Gukurahundi genocide that reportedly claimed over 20 000 civilians in the Midlands and Matabeleland regions in the early years of independence. For his part, Mnangagwa has sought to project himself as a voice of reason and pragmatist admitting a change of policy direction is required if Zimbabwe is to be revived. He heads government’s ambitious command agriculture programme, but weak monitoring of inputs distribution remains its Achilles heel. Mnangagwa has also been sucked into the intriguing battle to find a successor to Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and his denial of involvement in the Gukurahundi atrocities could be a double edged sword to his long-term ambition. He however is one of a few who tried to do their job but the poisoned political environment and his ambition remain an albatross to the little he can do. 2/10

Phelekezela Mphoko (VP)

Attracted the moniker “Le huku” (The Chicken) after his programme to give chicks to communities mainly in Bulawayo. But Mphoko will go down in history as probably the worst of Mugabe’s choices for VP. Despite massive criticism and demonstrations, Mphoko obstinately remained holed up in an upmarket hotel for over a year as authorities tried to find him a befitting home. The VP also made headlines after he threatened to strip naked at a police station in order to force officers to release “my boys”. Two senior executives from the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration had been arrested for suspected graft and Mphoko could have none of it. The VP has “scandal” tattooed to his forehead. 0/10

Patrick Chinamasa (Finance)

He has fought a lone battle to have Zimbabwe readmitted as a member of the international finance system, but found Zanu PF’s populist politics standing in his way. That Zimbabwe still has a modicum of functionalism as State should be credited to Chinamasa. However, his bid to rationalise government expenditure especially regarding the salary bill proved a bridge too far. Under his watch Zimbabwe is spending a record 98 cents per dollar collected on wages. While most would admit Chinamasa is a workaholic, the former Attorney-General does not have the political stomach to confront Mugabe and tell him “what he does not want to hear” or a few painful truths. The bond notes introduction will be part of his soiled legacy as Treasury chief, but Chinamasa’s successful re-engagement efforts with international finance institutions makes him a cut above the rest. 4/10

Ignatius Chombo (Home Affairs)

Reported to be one of the most corrupt Cabinet minister only rivalled by Obert Mpofu, Chombo was found wanting when Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo was presented to him on a platter by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission over embezzlement of over $430 000 at the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund. The Zimbabwe Republic Police, which falls under his ambit, continues to harass citizens demanding cash when it is clear to all there is none. The use of roadblocks to fleece poor citizens also continues unabated and the money is still unaccounted for. 1/10

Walter Chidakwa (Mines)

One of the many Mugabe relatives, Chidakwa in one swoop stopped all diamond mining activities in the Chiadzwa diamond fields, but his much-vaunted Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company is still to get off the ground over half a year later. If anything, it’s chaos all-round the mining sector and the country’s coffers have run dry. Out of his depth bar, the shouting. 0/10

Obert Mpofu (Macro-Economic Planning)

Mpofu knows not what he is supposed to be doing. Our government has a clear policy to “strike fear in the heart of the investor”, yet the burly minister is supposed to create an enabling environment to attract investment. It’s a paradox that only Mugabe can explain when he wakes up. 0/10

Saviour Kasukuwere (Local Government)

Replaced Chombo lock-stock and barrel as the scourge of local authorities. In his first full year in-charge, Kasukuwere has left Harare running without a town clerk after he vetoed the city’s choice of career banker James Mushore. Bulawayo only recently had the chance to appoint one, Mutare does not have a town clerk, while Gweru is being run by a three-member commission. However, while Chombo was in-charge of local authorities when government embarked on what became known as Operation Murambatsvina/Drive out the filth in the winter of 2005, Kasukuwere has sought to create more slums probably to provide another reason for inflicting pain on the poor. Under his watch, the Local Government ministry has set about doling out stands haphazardly across the country creating an infrastructural nightmare for municipalities as he mixes his ministerial and Zanu PF commissariat duties to create anarchy ahead of the 2018 elections. 0/10

Jonathan Moyo (Higher and Tertiary Education)

Factional buddies with Kasukuwere, Moyo is facing jail for theft of trust funds from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund. The self-proclaimed Zimbabwean version of Robin Hood has thumbed his nose at the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission to the extent of arguing he is actually in the right. Moyo has a knack of making most of his situation and after being moved to the Higher Education ministry from the “prestigious Information” portfolio then seen as a demotion, the Nutty Professor found money where Chinamasa could find none. Moyo’s (Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) STEM initiative found funding at a time government was failing to pay its workers, but the Zimdef scandal took away the shine from an otherwise great initiative. 1/10

Patrick Zhuwao (Youth and Indigenisation)

Lost in translation and the maze of what government means. It took his uncle President Mugabe to issue a decree reminding him that expropriation of companies posed a threat to investment. Otherwise, Zhuwao’s chilling warning to the few operational firms could have sounded the death knell to a limping economy. Has no idea what he is supposed to be doing, likely got his job because of who he is than what he is capable of doing or what is between his ears. 0/10

Lazarus Dokora (Primary and Secondary Education)

A reincarnation of the legendary Aeneas Chigwedere at the same ministry. The announcement that there are 3 000 Form One places available in a country that has over 400 000 children looking for places is as stupid as they come. Introduced the infamous national pledge in a bid to outdo Chigwedere’s one uniform policy. Only Mphoko will rival him for the “Fool of the Year gong”. 0/10

David Parirenyatwa (Health)

There is no health to talk about and Parirenyatwa could do well to just keep his peace. This is hoping he does not invoke the late Sikhanyiso Ndlovu’s “Cholera is a British creation” gaffe in the wake of reports of a looming typhoid outbreak. 0/10

Kembo Mohadi (State Security)

At over 70 years old, Mohadi’s only claim to fame is getting a hankie that is supposed to help him succeed Mugabe from some obscure fetish priest. 0/10

Joseph Made (Agriculture)

With command agriculture having been taken away from him, Made might need a helicopter to assess the maize crop and prematurely announce another bumper harvest. His face tells it all. 0/10

Walter Mzembi (Tourism)

Has largely concentrated on his upcoming election to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation as secretary general. Mzembi, however, remains a great ambassador for the country, but his yelps are against a growing tide. He argued against the introduction of bond notes noting this would kill the tourism industry, but his warnings fell on deaf ears. Mzembi was urging adoption of the Rand Monetary Union. 2/10

Oppah Muchinguri (Environment)

Another lost soul, she could not sustain the fight to persuade the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to allow Zimbabwe to dispose of its excess ivory stockpile. However, the chaos in the country’s conservancies has receded and it seems she has shut the door on animal exports. But carnage continues in the mining and other sectors with environmental degradation of unmatched proportions including use of dangerous chemicals. 2/10

Sithembiso Nyoni (SMEs)

Was forced into a coil after Kasukuwere took over all co-operatives and ran the show regarding the stands debacle hence she was left with “nothing in the in-tray”. 0/10

Makhosini Hlongwane (Sports)

Looked like a clown, holding one Press conference after another with little in the form of substance. Maybe forgiven, he is a professional journalist and likely loves to see his colleagues more than anyone else. 1/10

Supa Mandiwanzira (ICTs)

Another journalist-turned-politician but ready to turn against his own using the Cyber Bill reportedly copy-pasted from Lesotho. 1/10

Joram Gumbo (Transport)

The state of the nation’s roads should have been declared a state of disaster a long time ago. Gumbo is presiding over his first ministry but took charge of a bureaucracy that has been around forever. Could have done better than inking a few shadowy deals amid reports that top Zanu PF officials are already waiting for contracts to milk dry the coffers funding the rehabilitation of the Beitbridge-Chirundu highway. 2/10

Tshinga Dube (War Veterans)

Might as well be assigned to a ministry titled Political Affairs. Mugabe used to have one. Dube spent most of his time trying to convince war veterans to reverse their decision to dump Mugabe. 0/10

Christopher Mushohwe (Information)

The media remains under siege. Mushohwe has allowed a faction of Zanu PF to use the State media to its advantage. He could do well as director of State Residencies. 1/10

Absent without leave (AWOL)

Mike Bimha, Samuel Undenge, Douglas Mombeshora, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Sydney Sekeramayi, Priscah Mupfumira and Nyasha Chikwinya.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 7
  • comment-avatar

    The list above shows a group of people who know how to feed themselves. A look at their stature will show that they are not hungry – but they could not extend their imagination to think about the feeding the population. They could only say that they wanted the population beholden to them via their control of food – quote Munangagwa circa 1981. “When the people come starving on their hands and knees to us in Zanu, then we will have power.”

  • comment-avatar
    Ngoto Zimbwa 5 years ago

    I second that @Pps.
    ZANU has no thought of the people.
    All in the party are fat cats, whilst the povo starve.

  • comment-avatar
    Only Fools 5 years ago

    To the author of this op-ed. First off, Cecil Rhodes and the whites DID NOT INVADE Africa. As a journalist you do know the difference between invasion and migration? If not look it up. If invasion is the word you like to use, then
    that would mean that all Zimbabweans leaving this country everyday, are thus invading other countries for a better
    life! Secondly. You say that Mugabe is looting this country as the whites did those years ago. Well you do realise that
    the ‘loot’ as you call it, was put back into the economy to build the infrastructure that still stands today. So let’s bash the history of white migrants who built this country from nothing, so giving blacks an excuse to loot! Oh please!!

  • comment-avatar
    wankie 5 years ago

    u can’t equate mzembi’s efforts to oppah. he is the only cabinet minister who is working.

  • comment-avatar

    Nobody is denying that the whites built up most of Africa from nothing, literally.
    They did it for themselves with the blackman benefiting by default.
    The blackman was a second class citizen in his own country. To survive he devised crooked ways of beating the colonial master.
    Those ways have now been horned into a fine art by the present crop of the continent’s leaders, who now ignore the masses in pursuit of lavish lifestyles.
    Brainless bunch of idiots who fail to realise they are killing Africa.