22 November 2013

Zimbabwe: Mugabe Naps Make Zimbabwe Laughing Stock

column

A picture of President Robert Mugabe and his delegation soundly asleep during the Arab-Africa summit in Kuwait on Tuesday has gone viral on the internet.

The picture shows Mugabe and members of his delegation slumped in their chairs while other delegates to the conference listen attentively to the proceedings.

We have to agree with former Industry minister Welshman Ncube's sentiments last year that Mugabe's penchant for dozing or napping at international conferences was making Zimbabwe a laughing stock.

"If you are strong and young, you sleep in a dignified way, but his (Mugabe) whole body collapses when he sleeps," Ncube told his party's supporters at a rally last year. Ncube's words sadly ring true in the picture which is awash in social media networks.

Mugabe's endless jaunts have gobbled up millions of dollars and government spent nearly US$50 million in foreign travel last year, far more than education (US$25 million), while energy projects received US$16 million.

What sort of priorities are these?

In on the action

Meanwhile MPs also want in on the action, clamouring to be added to Mugabe's already bloated foreign trip delegations. Zanu PF MP for Makonde Kindness Paradza tabled the proposal during a hearing by the parliamentary portfolio committee on Foreign Affairs this week, reports the Daily News.

Paradza argued that MPs also wanted to be "involved in re-engagement with the foreign governments".

The lawmakers also want diplomatic passports so that they can have easy travel while on "parliament business".

Yeah right! If you believe that, you will believe anything.

Answered prayer

We are glad to see the back of Happison Muchechetere at ZBC after presiding over the alarming decline of standards at the supposedly public broadcaster. ZBC's plummeting fortunes contrasted sharply with Muchechetere's ever widening girth; testament to the yawning earning gulf between management and employees.

Information minister Jonathan Moyo should ensure ZBC is finally transformed into a vibrant and truly public broadcaster. Moyo should also put a cap on the obscene salaries of senior management at the expense of employees who had to resort to a spiritual fast recently to "unlock" their unpaid salaries through divine intervention.

Let's hope Moyo will bring the answer to their prayers while viewers and listeners get their monies' worth.

Another dubious outfit

Zanu PF is still indefatigable in churning out dubious self-serving organisations.

And they seem to get even more comical by the day. The electoral win against the imperialists was not enough, it seems, and in comes the Patriotic Forum for Zimbabwe Children of National Liberation War Veterans Association (PF-ZCNLWV). This new association was formed in July in a bid to "reinforce and safeguard the gains of Independence".

The formation of PF-ZCNLWV comes on the back of the Zimbabwe Children of War Liberators Association, Zimbabwe Coffin Makers Association, Zimbabwe Exhumers Association, Youth in Natural Resources Management, Journalists for Empowerment, Destiny for Afrika Network, Zimbabwe Revolutionary Volunteers Front, Federation of Civil Society Organisations, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Justice, and Upfumi Kuvadiki, among others.

Last week PF-ZCNLWV staged a hunger strike at the US embassy in Harare supposedly to punish the Americans for imposing the "illegal" sanctions. The leaders vowed to remain on hunger strike "until the Americans remove the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe".

Waiting for Godot

The wait was, however, longer than anticipated and the outfit's organising secretary Julie Chiondegwa collapsed as hunger pangs took their toll during the demonstration, and had to be hospitalised.

"I want sanctions to be removed and as soon as I get better, I am going back to the United States embassy to continue with my fight," Chiondegwa yelped from a hospital bed.

"The pain that I am feeling now is the same pain that every Zimbabwean is feeling because of these unjustified sanctions. If it means dying for the sanctions to be removed, then I am prepared to do that."

Chiondegwa should first last a day in the trenches before making such outlandish declarations.

Meanwhile the secretary-general Knowledge Kadzura still demanded they be taken seriously, saying sanctions had put the economy under siege "with major international co-operation (sic) pulling out, investors barred from investing and causing untold sufferings to the ordinary people".

And all this while we thought the "revolutionary" party did not need the "imperialists" following the "resounding success" of the "Look East" policy. It clearly isn't the case.

Protection money

Zanu PF is unrelenting in squeezing every last morsel from corporates and parastatals teetering on the verge of collapse because of the current liquidity crunch.

The current hardships cannot deter the party from holding yet another lavish conference. And to bankroll its US$3 million meeting in Chinhoyi, Zanu PF is hosting a fundraising dinner tonight in Harare with tables selling for as much as US$100 000.

With the spectre of being forcibly indigenised hanging over them, a number of companies will have to fork it out, although it looks more like protection money. And then we have the exhibition expo gimmick at the conference, which is just an excuse for Zanu PF to raid parastatals for funds since they have to pay to exhibit their wares.

Curiously Goodson Nguni, who masquerades as a political analyst, is among the contact people organising the conference. Nguni fronts another shadowy Zanu PF outfit called Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations (Fongo).

The Fongo president was likened, during the constitution-making process last year, to the late comic legend Safirio Madzikatire (stage name Mukadota) whose purpose was to disrupt a serious and national process by bringing in undesired comedy.

"We urge you (Nguni) to stop your Mukadota acts with this constitution," said one participant. "I want to tell you that this is a serious national discussion which does not need your theatrics."

The circus is well and truly upon us again.

Juju bounces back

Finally, South Africans will have to get ready for a parliament featuring Julius Malema. Malema's money-laundering and racketeering charges case was postponed on Monday to September 2014, well after the national election, which must take place before the end of July.

The M&G's Verashni Pillay writes that it will take just 0,25% of the vote for Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters to get one seat in Parliament.

"Which in turn would lead to a development that will make me tune in to Parliament Live more often," opines Pillay. "Malema in the national legislature, heckling everyone from the ANC to the Democratic Alliance.

"If Malema gets into parliament, it may be entertaining for us for a while, but it'll be disastrous in the long-term if young South Africans are not provided with a better alternative they can identify with."

As they say, every nation gets the government it deserves.

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