17 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Muckraker - Bishop Kunonga Hung Out, Left to Dry

opinion

December 17, 2012 in Comment, Opinion

Poor old Bishop Kunonga. Hung out and left to dry.

Column By Muckraker

He is learning the hard way the price of failure in Zanu PF.

He is no longer of any use to them. Nobody buys his redundant posturing and ironically President Robert Mugabe was reportedly the first to question the Kunonga project as it began to flounder.

"Kunonga's continued persecution of Anglicans was seen as achieving the opposite of what he had been assigned to do as he was creating too many enemies and unnecessarily discrediting the party," one newspaper wrote.

Ironically Mugabe derived much of his information from his meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury. That was a lengthy and useful exchange, observers said, which strengthened the official Anglican position and weakened the breakaway faction.

"Mugabe's regard for all things British played against Kunonga at this key juncture," one observer noted. A front-page court story in the Herald last week declaring court proceedings instituted by the hapless bishop as "defective" confirmed his waning fortunes.

Then there was the Page 11 Herald heading last Friday: "Kunonga offside from day one". He must have realised at that point that his future was bleak. Here was the Herald claiming to have blown the whistle on the Kunonga gang from day one when the paper backed the errant bishop all the way down the line. His crime, the Herald now proclaimed, was to hang on to church property.

Outbreak of ignorance

Some weeks ago Herald columnist Tendai Hildegarde Manzvanzvike was telling us the Anglican church played a pivotal role in colonial and post-colonial Zimbabwe. She gave as an example the location of the Anglican cathedral "adjacent to the parliament of Zimbabwe and situated close to a place that used to be Cecil (John Rhodes) Square and now Africa Unity Square."

We forecast some weeks earlier that once Zanu PF got hold of this issue, all sorts of ignorance would break out.

And it has duly followed. Hildegarde evidently doesn't know that Cecil Square was named after Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, not Cecil John Rhodes. Somebody at Herald House needs to wake up to stop this ignorance.

Throwing spanners

While Vice-President Joice Mujuru implored Arab states to seriously consider investing in Zimbabwe during her visit to the United Arab Emirates, her boss President Mugabe was vowing to raise the 51% indigenisation threshold to 100%.

Zimbabwe is one of the best trade and investment destinations in the world, Mujuru said, because of its highly literate human resource base as well as sound infrastructure.

Mujuru invited companies to consider investing in high cash return ventures like fertiliser production, irrigation infrastructure, bio-fuels, solar and mini-hydro power plants as well as value addition of primary commodities like cotton and black granite.

Meanwhile in Gweru Mugabe was singing a totally different song: "The notion that capital is more important than any other factors is nonsense. That philosophy is dirty, filthy and criminal."

Despite these glaring contradictions, Zanu PF still wants to be taken seriously.

Walter Mzembi should be asked for his views on Mugabe's remarks. In this age of global communications investors will very quickly learn of Mugabe's outlook.

Chief commissars

Also at the Zanu PF conference Chief Fortune Charumbira declared the obvious: "Chiefs and Zanu PF are inseparable as the two sides work for the same goals".

At least Charumbira has finally abandoned his failed attempt to hoodwink Zimbabweans into believing he is not biased towards Zanu PF.

In 2010 Charumbira claimed to be taking a leaf from South Africa's Chief Albert Luthuli, who won the Nobel Peace prize, "because he left the palace to go and fight the war because his country was under siege from the enemy".

Comparing the selfless and valiant acts of Luthuli to the patently partisan conduct of our traditional leaders can at best be described as ludicrous. Instead of championing the development of their communities, most of the chiefs have taken on the role of political commissars as well as demanding outrageous "compensation" for dubious "offences".

On Monday the High Court dismissed with costs an urgent application by two Masvingo chiefs, Murinye and Mugabe, to stop Econet Wireless from constructing a base station on Sviba Hills near Great Zimbabwe.

The Herald reports the chiefs argued that Econet did not consult them when it embarked on the project yet according to Econet the two chiefs sat in council meetings where the lease of the land was discussed and approved.

The chiefs demanded compensation in the form of 2 000 white cattle with Chief Murinye also demanding Econet construct a homestead for him.

Add to the mix Chief Luscious Chitsinde Negomo's demands for compensation from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for "marrying" in the "sacred" month of November.

Respect is a two-way street, our chiefs should remember.

Momentary truce

ZBC reports that for the first time in over a decade government and civil society commemorated International Human Rights Day in unison at Harare gardens on Monday.

Justice ministry permanent secretary David Mangota described the development as a sign civil society had "finally appreciated that the Zimbabwean government upholds and places importance on issues to do with human rights".

"We agreed that we should work together and all other stakeholders acknowledge that Zimbabwe upholds human rights," Mangota said.

He called for the lifting of the sanctions regime so Zimbabwe could enjoy its "full rights", yet many of those abused and tortured in 2008 have not been compensated yet. Also, many of our permanent secretaries remain inexcusably partisan.

However, it seems government's benevolence only applied to Harare with Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union's (ZCTU) leaders in Bulawayo facing the all-too-familiar rough justice from the police for holding similar commemorations.

The Zimbabwean reports that ZCTU officials Ambrose Sibindi and Percy Mcijo were arrested for organising an "illegal" street march despite being given permission by the Bulawayo Police District Regulatory Authority.

The two were only released after producing a clearance letter.

So much for civil society "appreciating" government's upholding of human rights. There is nothing appreciative there!

Robert Jr's 'sacrifice'

We were saddened to learn President Mugabe's son Robert Junior has had his dream of playing basketball in the United States dashed by the "illegal" sanctions imposed on his parents.

First Lady Grace Mugabe said she had sat down with her son to explain why he cannot pursue his career in America. Robert Jr was "hurt" to hear the news, we are told, "because there was a lot of interest in him".

"My son is very good at basketball, he even captained the national Under-18 side, but he cannot pursue his dream of playing basketball in the United States of America," she said. "President Mugabe sacrifices his life and that of his family just to be the country's breadwinner. The sanctions don't just affect him but our family as well."

Grace gives the impression the sanctions were unavoidable. If sanctions are to be lifted, she should know, the cause should also be removed.

On a related issue we are still waiting for the "bruising battle" Attorney-General Johannes Tomana declared was in the offing with the European Union over sanctions? He is uncharacteristically quiet.

Tsvangirai 'exiled'

A mischievous colleague called us last week to ask if we knew the shortest book published in Zimbabwe. It is called The Wit and Wisdom of Robert Mugabe, he said.

No, we haven't seen that yet. But we did notice a story in the Herald last Friday headed "Tsvangirai in Nairobi". He was there to address the National Convention of the Orange Democratic Movement.

He would be holding a briefing with Kenyan PM Raila Odinga, we were told.

What was significant about this story was the way it was squeezed into the bottom left hand corner of the page.

It couldn't have been more exiled located as it was next to "Things fall apart in Masvingo" and "Mutasa hails Net One".

At least it wasn't given the treatment of a story on the next page headed "Chombo revives interministerial committee on solid waste".

Gettit? Treatment. Muckraker's question. Was he part of it?

Woza Sunday?

FInally Muckraker was surprised on Sunday night to see a ZTV plug for Woza Friday. Doesn't it matter anymore what day it is?

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