via Legal eagles snooze on the job | The Zimbabwean 6 November 2013 by Jera
The AU Observer Mission has issued its final report on the recent polls. The AU noted that ZEC printed a 35% excess of ballots, against the international standard of 10% surplus and said it ‘hopes that ZEC will account for the ballots to the satisfaction of stakeholders.’
The report also criticised the high number of assisted voters and the ZBC for failing to give equal coverage to all contestants. Furthermore the report said electronic and hard copies of the voters roll should be released 14 days prior to elections. This borders on condescension.
Even the kids in crèche know these issues. We are not sure why the AU thinks its remarks are useful at this late stage, especially when they already endorsed a flawed election. Another pointless report has emerged from an NGO, the Research and Advocacy Unit, claiming that Chombo had no legal grounds to block the MDC-T nomination of non elected councillors for mayoral posts. RAU constructs an impressive advocacy, contrived after thorough perusal of the Electoral Act, Urban Councils Act and the constitution.
Like the AU report this is too little too late. What will worry the citizenry is how, so often, the legal eagles will snooze on the job, leaving the layperson at the mercy of draconian laws. For years we were harassed by police for not carrying IDs until a lawyer challenged the validity of this in court and won. About 80 people were unjustly tried for insulting Mugabe and now, belatedly, we learn differently.
The ConCourt has ruled that it is unconstitutional to prosecute citizens for insulting Mugabe. The flood gates are open and Bob might be exposed to more abuse as the likes of Solomon Madzore – holder of the ‘limping donkey’ patent – burn the midnight oil, creating newer and better insults. In terms of the Criminal & Codification Reform Act, offenders could face up to a year in jail or $100 fine.
Drip, drip, drip
Finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa says Zanu (PF) will announce an economic recovery plan which will focus on the restoration of water and power supplies. Chinamasa attributes the prevailing liquidity crisis to absence of interbank lending and lack of investor confidence in the RBZ. More truthfully, the liquidity crunch is due to a lack of trust by foreign investors in the current government.
Interbank lending can only occur when banks have the money to lend. Chinamasa was one of those blaming Tendai Biti for everything including offshore oil spills in the Gulf of Thailand. Chinamasa will learn that he will need to constantly garnish the truth to survive a term in which there exist no convenient scapegoats such as Biti. What remains to be seen is what these wondrous plans are for which Zanu (PF) has waited 33 years to unveil.
Chinamasa’s roof is leaking and he only has one bucket. And even the bucket has holes in it. Watch him run, trying to catch the dripping rainwater. Chinamasa will visit China to mobilise resources – a fancy way of saying “to beg” – ahead of his 2014 budget presentation. It is impolite for guests to arrive empty handed. Cigars and a bottle of rosé will not do. Might we suggest a sack full of elephant tusks for our ‘all weather friends’?
Things Fall Apart
Health minister David Parirenyatwa toured Harare Hospital. With Chinua Achebe sleeping peacefully, Parirenyatwa and his sidekick, Paul Chimedza, saw the true meaning of things fall apart. There is a mortuary whose construction was abandoned in 2006. Inside the incomplete morgue, jacarandas and mazhanje trees flourish.
The existing mortuary has a capacity of 146 but holds 300 corpses. The wards have 10-15 patients per nurse, as opposed to the recommend one nurse per four. It is worrying that two medical doctors needed to hold a tour – for the benefit of journalists – as if they were not aware of conditions at state hospitals. Six hundred tours kuGomo will not magically uproot the mazhanje trees growing indoors or mend the leaking roofs. Only action will bring about change.
The NRZ has applied to the minister of transport, Obert Mpofu, to retrench 6,000 of its remaining 7,000 workers. At one point NRZ employed 25,000. Those old enough will recall that in the 80s NRZ had a functional fleet operating on a well-maintained rail system and in those days nobody stole electric cables. In Harare’s industrial sites, sex workers offer quickies inside derelict rail carriages. The power lines are gone and the steel tracks have been harvested by inventive villagers who repurpose them into fencing posts. Conditions at NRZ prove that a country can have all the natural resources in the world but without good governance will fail to show much for it. Mpofu has said there are plans to revive the NRZ. We wait to see these plans come to fruition; otherwise the minister will be guilty of um er… blowing steam. Chooo-chooo!
Bikita West MP Munyaradzi Kereke says Ecocash Save, a cellular banking product, is illegal, as only licensed banking institutions are permitted to accept deposits. Zanu (PF) gets really annoyed when men without Jongwe party cards succeed. Bankers who still stand today were victimised, a decade ago, through fictitious charges and in the late 90s, Zanu (PF) did its damndest to deny an operating licence for what is now the largest cellular operator. Kereke and many others who strive – heh heh – to block progress are like Chief Sitting Bull of the Sioux tribe, prostrating himself before the oncoming steam train. ‘Pale face build road for iron horse on sacred graveyard.’ You can not lie in the way of the train of progress. Put into vernacular, chitima hachimiri nekuti imbwa yahukura. Choo-choo!
Ministers of Tourism
Jonathan Moyo toured ZBC facilities where employees have gone 5 months without pay while the bosses are bloated from gobbling up loyalty bribes. One would be hard pressed to find sympathisers. ZBC employees have helped buttress an oppressive regime and daily sing ‘commander-in-chief’ praises. Unless Moyo is Harry Potter there is not much he can do to save them. It is clear from all these sudden tours – Mpofu at NRZ, Moyo at ZBC and media houses and Parirenyatwa at Harare Hospital – that Zanu (PF) has nothing to offer but hot air.
Run Comrade, Run
Veterans of the 1970s bush war, demonstrated against the non payment of school fees for their children by the state. Police swooped in and the war vets, persuaded by the thrashing police batons, ran like Smitty’s Selous Scouts were coming. Again, there is no sympathy for this lot. They were rewarded sufficiently at demobilisation and again in ’97 and then received farms but still insist on holding us to ransom. Unaware that the wealth came from farming, they led the killings and the burning of houses in 2000 and threaten villagers with another bush war if Mugabe were ever ousted. Black clouds hang over a country stained by the blood of Gukurahundi and the violence of 2008. Soon the rains will fall. Torai mapadza. Go and farm comrades.
Till next week, my pen is capped. Jera@workmail.com