1 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Mugabe's AU Dream Loses Fizz, Goes Flat

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Zanu PF has encouraged people in Bulawayo to "vote wisely" and "completely wipe out" the MDC formations in the forthcoming elections, the Herald reported on Monday.

Senior Zanu PF members addressed a rally at Stanley Square on Sunday where they promised to revive the city's fortunes.

They took turns to address party supporters telling them the time to "completely wipe out" the MDC was now. They paid tribute to the late John Nkomo who would have been surprised to hear his "legacy of peace" hijacked by vitriolic partisan speakers.

His dream was to see a peaceful 2013 and he wanted Zanu PF to win resoundingly, the Herald reported Ignatious Chombo as saying. "We know the MDC is everywhere but we are geared for the elections," he said.

"During the last elections in 2008 we did not do well because of MDC but that will not happen again," Chombo declared with some confidence. "When you vote choose Zanu PF, the people who have your concerns at heart."

Strange isn't it that Zanu PF only has the people's concerns at heart when it is election time!

Sudden concern

Suddenly Zanu PF is committed to seeing "the water situation, housing and your welfare generally improving and that can happen when you vote wisely," Chombo declared.

So the people of Bulawayo failed to vote wisely in 2000, 2005, and 2008, it would seem!

Saviour Kasukuwere was in an equally belligerent mood. "We do not want MDC in Bulawayo anymore and we want to run it over," he proclaimed. This was the start of the city's revival, he said.

"Factories have closed and MDC is always calling for change. What change have they brought apart from short-changing Bulawayo?"

"The journey has started," Kasukuwere declared, "and we will be visiting Bulawayo regularly."

"You people of Bulawayo should start that fight today."

Should they? It evidently hasn't occurred to the gang of failed bankers and self-enrichment pioneers who constitute Zanu PF's apparatchik class that the people of Bulawayo may not be in any mood for fighting talk. What has Zanu PF done for Bulawayo since 2000? Blocked a pipeline?

From bad to worse

As if Chombo and Kasukuwere's utterances were not clownish enough, NewsDay reports Zanu PF Matabeleland North provincial commissar, Jonathan Nkanyezi, vowed to continue backing President Mugabe even if he became too old or incapacitated.

"We will rally behind him because of his leadership. At the moment he is the only leader capable of heading the party," bleated Nkanyezi. "They may say he is old, but we will rally behind him, even when he is wheelchair-bound, we will bring him here to address us."

Vote wisely indeed!

Embedded scribes

Despite the accord reached between Zanu PF and the two MDCs, the state media continues to spew out its poisonous propaganda. Instead of serving the interests of the wider public, Herald reporters have been pursuing a partisan agenda.

They were for instance thrilled that several civic groups were prevented from attending last weekend's AU summit in Addis Ababa.

The civics had tried "to misrepresent the situation and lobby for Zimbabwe's inclusion on the summit agenda".

Their failure to gain admission to the summit left them with "egg on their faces", the Herald reported, using one of its favourite expressions.

One of the areas that civil society claims is largely unresolved is that of press freedom. The public press remains captive to Zanu PF as the episode in Addis Ababa, as reported, illustrates. So no change there!

Meanwhile the state media must stop claiming there has been a seismic breakthrough in talks between the three parties when nothing has been done to address media anomalies.

Zanu PF hasn't woken up to the reality that the more it boasts of having triumphed in the talks, the more the public are likely to vote "No".

A number of civics and newspapers have rather incautiously rushed to say "Yes" on Morgan Tsvangirai's instructions where they will sit rather uncomfortably alongside the Herald and Sunday Mail.

The public press by the way managed to get John Nkomo's age wrong in just about every mention of him. "He was 79" we were constantly told. In fact he was 78. Not terribly difficult to work out when he was born on August 22 1934.

Fuming spree

Last week we carried a story in which President Mugabe ordered police to investigate Zanu PF Manicaland provincial executives facing fraud allegations involving more than US$750 000 in diamond money.

An "irate" Mugabe had said Zanu PF did not tolerate corruption, as if he had just realised it.

Mugabe, who we are told was, "visibly angry" removed the matter from the politburo agenda and threw it back to the police for investigation, arguing the supreme party organ was not the right forum to discuss a matter "more criminal than political".

Not too long ago Mugabe was again "fuming" after former South African president Thabo Mbeki named senior Zanu PF ministers who had demanded a US$10 million bribe to facilitate a US$1 billion investment by ANC-linked investors. The ministers had demanded "commission" and "facilitation fees" for the removal of obstacles to do with the indigenisation programme to ensure they did not encounter any problems.

Mugabe had then threatened to fire Cabinet ministers implicated in corrupt activities at the Zanu PF conference in Gweru. Nothing of the sort has happened since and Mugabe's righteous indignation has been meted out to small fry in the party like provincial executives whose transgressions pale in comparison to those of the bigwigs.

This puerile attempt to sanitise Zanu PF's tattered image ahead of elections will get few takers.

Ill-advised police

Equally shocking is the revelation that when the matter was initially reported to the police, then acting Commissioner-General Levi Sibanda wrote to acting President Joice Mujuru seeking "advice" on what action to take since the issue involved top party officials.

And yet Augustine Chihuri still has the temerity to claim the police are not partisan. What a load of hogwash!

A Dream Deferred

Meanwhile President Mugabe, on his return from the African Union summit, expressed satisfaction with the deliberations focusing on a wide range of "pertinent issues affecting the continent".

While the leaders were mainly concerned about conflict resolution, there were a number of side issues like maternal health that were considered during the summit, we are told.

"There is the cry that women are dying because of us, because we make them pregnant and when they give birth, we are not there," Mugabe said.

"Sometimes it's a birth given after nine months that has not been taken care of by doctors and there is also the case of young girls getting pregnant."

Muckraker was disappointed Mugabe did not propose the appointment of a President of Africa as he had earlier intimated. Mugabe had told outgoing AU chairman Benin President Boni Yayi two weeks ago the summit should discuss the appointment of a President of Africa to foster unity among Africans.

"The continent of Africa: this is what we must become. And there, we must also have an African head. Yes, we need one. We are not yet there," Mugabe said. "This is what we must go and discuss, but we must also discuss the issues that divide us."

Sadly Mugabe's bid for an African president was lost in talk of impregnating women.

Savanhu's 'downfall'

Finally the tough talking Tendai Savanhu has met his match in President Mugabe's dreary speeches. Savanhu collapsed at the burial of Vice-President John Nkomo at Heroes Acre.

An unidentified senior police officer was the first to hit the ground, the Daily News reports, as Mugabe delivered his keynote speech. Savanhu soon followed suit and was wheeled-off on a stretcher lying prostrate.

Savanhu gained infamy for threatening to "eliminate whites in Marondera within a week".

"Please allow me and Chipangano youth a week's stay here and we will eliminate (MDC-T legislator Iain) Kay without any problem. Down with whites."

Down he went for sure!

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