Zanu PF has finally let the cat out of the bag with its controversial presidential inputs scheme. The party had earlier claimed the scheme would benefit all Zimbabweans, regardless of political affiliation. Agriculture minister Joseph Made had even said the programme was "testimony to President Mugabe's passion for agriculture".
"I am grateful that the president has once again supported agriculture this year considering that the Ministry of Finance seems not to be interested in availing inputs this season. We are expecting this scheme launched today to assist at least 900 000 households," said Made.
"The Presidential Well-wishers' Special Agricultural Inputs Scheme is a clear demonstration of His Excellency's commitment to the goal of ensuring that every household in Zimbabwe has enough safe and nutritious food," Made gushed.
However, disingenuous Zanu PF officials let rip the party's true strategy vowing to deny non-party members access to the inputs.
The Daily News reports that Mukaradzi Zanu PF district chairman, Ernest Marodza, declared only the party faithful would benefit from the scheme.
"No MDC (supporters) must benefit from our party," he said. "What do you do when your wife leaves you because of your flaws? Should you help her when she comes back because she is desperate for assistance?" Marodza said.
Clearly Marodza knows nothing about wooing voters.
"These inputs are being financed by our leader, President Mugabe, through what he gets from his connections," gloated Marodza.
At least he was being honest, we will give him that!
Mohadi to the 'rescue'
There was a funny story in the Herald on Tuesday which attempted to portray the chaos at Beitbridge as South Africa's responsibility. The article stated that Home Affairs co-minister Kembo Mohadi had prevailed upon his South African counterpart, Naledi Pandor, to deploy more immigration officers at the border post.
The Zimbabwean intervention was designed "to arrest the volatile situation", we were told. A Herald news crew was arrested by South African police for "peddling falsehoods about the situation on the ground".
There was a picture alongside the article of Mohadi. What amuses us is the heroic treatment given to Mohadi who is not usually identified with anything too energetic! The Herald crew should have asked the motorists in the queues which they told us stretched back for 10kms who they held responsible for the chaos.
Stony faced approach
In a deft piece of reporting the Herald quoted Pandor as saying "they had not anticipated the volume of traffic..." And what about the Zimbabwean ministers and officials? Did they anticipate the volume of traffic? They have had 32 years to get their act together but when the crunch comes they blame it on the South Africans.
And how about this for gullible reporting?: "We are very hopeful that things will improve for the better as the minister has assured us that they will come up with a long-term solution to the problem hindering the flow of traffic at Beitbridge," an official commented referring to the "terrible situation" at Beitbridge.
So where does the buck stop in this unhappy story? Well, there is that Herald picture of Mohadi which we can get out next year when questions are asked once again about why nothing has been done to improve the situation at Beitbridge!
Meanwhile, the ZRP has promised to be "ruthless" with officers who engage in corruption.
Assistant Commissioner Kenny Mthombeni said
corruption had become endemic and a way of life among police officers, especially those in the traffic department.
The police had suddenly come to this realisation following Mugabe's remarks castigating the traffic section for soliciting bribes.
They would soon engage in a lifestyle audit for traffic police, Mthombeni said.
Let's hope this goes better than the farms audit!
Incidentally, the police recently re-launched the police service charter in Harare which was first launched in 1995 setting standards of performance and defining the minimum level of service the force must deliver to the community.
So far we have been getting the barest minimum!
Readers of this column may recall the very high regard Jeremy Gauntlett SC is held in legal circles.
But he is not so well regarded by President Jacob Zuma who has overlooked him for appointment to the bench. This has caused indignation throughout the South African judiciary.
But just in case you thought it was a transformation problem it was useful to have the comments of Smuts Ngonyama who served under presidents Mandela and Mbeki with distinction.
"Any country that spurns excellence of the highest order is a country that wilfully embraces mediocrity," he said in a letter to BusinessDay.
"With mediocrity comes stagnation, chaos and confusion. I have no hesitation in endorsing Gauntlett's candidature for the bench because he has served the cause of justice with distinction. What a tragedy he is being overlooked.
"We need plenty of transformation in the judiciary but not by sacrificing excellence. We need more people of his calibre to grace the bench, serve justice and develop our jurisprudence. Mr Gauntlett like every other citizen is a son of the South African soil. He is also one of the stars that sparkles in the judicial firmament. If others can get the nod, what rational reason holds him back."
Finally, Muckraker would welcome clarification of Ambassador Chris Mutsvangwa's account of the battle of Mavonde.
The battle was fought during the Lancaster House talks, we are told, and Josiah Tongogara had trained an underground Zanla force to repel the Rhodesians.
But the Rhodesians had "underestimated the military preparations of Cde Tongogara so they attacked using both ground and airforces".
It was a major encounter, Mutsvangwa claims, and as a result "the British summoned General Peter Walls to Lancaster with his tail between his legs and told him he could not win the War".
Anybody familiar with this "battle" should contact us. In particular we would be keen to know what aircraft constituted Zanla's airforce.
The infamous red jacket
The fawning Kissnot Mukwazhi was at it again recently waxing lyrical about President Mugabe's call for peace and a corruption-free environment ahead of the elections this year.
The MDC formations were working in cahoots with detractors to derail the gains of Independence, Kissnot blustered donning his now trademark red jacket, adding that "illegal" sanctions should be removed unconditionally.
He needs to liberate the now all-too-familiar jacket which seems to be sewn onto his body.
The Justice Factor!
The Herald has spent much time and space of late telling us what a superior brand it presides over. On Wednesday it carried a front-page story headed "Reserve Bank wins court appeal" referring to a judgement by Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba. Accompanying the story was a picture of South African journalist Justice Malala.
We won't gloat because it is all too easy to make mistakes of this kind. But we will remember it when there is the next bombast from Herald House on the Super Brand of the Year.