Zimbabwe: Needless Arrests Evidence That Nothing Has Changed

opinion

"The cruelty that is inherent to this ominous threat is inimical to the rule of law and to the social democracy that Mnangagwa has repeatedly claimed to the world defines his so-called new dispensation and reform agenda . . . The gukurahundi-like threat is unpresidential and unlawful."

When President Emmerson Mnangagwa went all over Africa telling fellow leaders that the legacy of our previous owner, Robert Mugabe, was intact, he meant every word of it.

To prove it, he has maintained all the laws that Mugabe loved so much, such as arresting anyone with a sense of humour, or for anyone stating the obvious.

In the past two weeks alone, a lot of people have been arrested for the dastardly crime of stating the obvious. A Bindura councillor, Brian Kembo, was charged with "disorderly conduct" for telling people that the President was failing to run the economy. Of course, we all know that the economy is booming, and lies that there are fuel queues and inflation that is just under 100% must be punished with arrest.

Then a Rushinga man, Morgan Muchemwa, was charged for "undermining authority of or insulting the president". His crime? He saw a group of Zanu-PF supporters on their way to a useless meeting, as all ZanuPF meetings tend to be.

Muchemwa, according to prosecutors, shouted to the ZanuPF lot that they were wasting their time. He was arrested.

How dare someone claim a ZanuPF meeting, with slogans and songs, is a waste of anyone's time?

And then we had the case of the lecturer at Harare Polytechnic, Amos Dauzeni, suspended for the damaging lie that the President is failing.

Clearly, just like Mugabe, our new owner can't take a bit of banter. We must all state that the sky is yellow, that the economy is booming, we are all having to turn down multiple job offers and investors are breaking down the doors to come in. Praise-singing; that's the only way to avoid arrest.

Predecessor

It is not only the refusal to take a joke that ED learned from his predecessor. After faking it for close to two years as a champion of free market economics, Mnangagwa has grown tired of acting.

While opening a road in Chiredzi, one of many mega projects under his wise leadership, Mnangagwa threatened businesses, telling them he was marinating a nice new whip to beat them with for raising prices.

We all know that businesses are all evil -- except those owned by Zanu PF leaders and supporters -- and are raising prices for no reason. It has nothing to do with the lack of confidence in the government, the incompetence in government, or its failure to deal with corruption. No, it's just these evil businesses. We must whip them all into line.

Many people have been missing Mugabe, saying at least he spoke out against prices. Yes, he spoke out, by arresting businesspeople and imposing price controls.

Don't we all just look back with fondness to the days of price controls. It worked so well that we had the most ventilated supermarkets in Africa, with wide open spaces for our urban wildlife - such as rats and stray cats - to play in.

This is what we meant when we said we "restoring legacy". We are restoring legacy by restoring Mugabe's failed policies.

When Mthuli Ncube has told us that prices were going to fall, we had thought he had some genius economic plan up his sleeve to control inflation. Little did we know that his entire plan rested on his boss's sjambok.

Pleased

Muckraker was pleased to see the country's intensely bitter Professor Jonathan Moyo denouncing ED for his threats to businesses.

"The cruelty that is inherent to this ominous threat is inimical to the rule of law and to the social democracy that Mnangagwa has repeatedly claimed to the world defines his so-called new dispensation and reform agenda," Jono tweeted from his Great Lakes tower. "The gukurahundi-like threat is unpresidential and unlawful."

It is always pleasing to see a new convert. They often preach the gospel with such zeal. You would never think they too once hijacked entire news bulletins to rant at "unscrupulous businessmen".

In fact, Muckraker is old enough to remember that time when things were scarce and difficult for most in Zimbabwe, but easy for the likes of Jono. After a massive shopping spree in Joburg, where a newspaper pointed out the remarkable amount of polony in his trolly, the man went on a rant against South Africans in general. "I have always had a nagging feeling that for all their propensity to liberal values and civilised norms, these people are dirty.

In fact, they are filthy and recklessly uncouth and actually barbaric," he frothed.

All because the paper had wondered why this Zimbabwean minister needed so much polony.

Celebration

There was widespread celebration in the corridors of power this week after government did what every responsible government in every part of the world is expected to do -- pay its debts.

After the embarrassment of South Africa's Eskom telling the world that Zimbabwe had, contrary to its claims, paid up a US$10 million debt, we finally made the payment. Had Eskom not complained, and had there not been a huge public uproar, who knows if we were ever going to pay. We then faced the shame of a whole minister proudly displaying the proof pf payment on social media, celebrating that we had paid a third of the debt we owe. It surely has to be seen to be believed.

You know how bad a country's credibility is when every payment has to be accompanied with proof and receipts.

Muckraker is reminded of the local loan shark in Mberengwa, who kept a boxful of IDs of local miners who had borrowed money from him. If this keeps on, someone is going to hold the country's ID in case Zimbabwe doesn't pay its debts.

War vets

Agriculture Minister Perrance Shiri has announced that there must be land set aside for war veterans in every province.

"In line with the noble objective of empowering veterans of the liberation struggle enunciated above, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement ismandated to prioritise allocation of lands to the gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe who participated in the protracted struggle for the liberation of the country," he said in a letter.

We are all shocked to learn that there are war veterans still without land, 20 years after each of them was given the freedom to pick any piece of productive land they wanted to grab, loot and plunder. Besides, this special allocation of land to war veterans seems to be a resolution we hear every single year at ZanuPF conferences.

The nation, it seems will never fully pay up what it owes the war veterans for fighting the liberation war. The 1997 payouts, which collapsed the currency, were not enough. Land was not enough. Not even the pensions.

Surely, we cannot be doing this every year. They should do us all a favour. Please just send us a final bill, so that we know, once and for all, how much these gallant sons and daughters charge us for the war.

It seems, after all, they are not too different from our plumbers who get paid by the job.

MDC quickly learning from Zanu PF

It is heart-warming to see the MDC rehearsing for government.

The Auditor General's report found that out of 92 local authorities, only three (Bindura Municipality, Tongogara Rural District Council and Marondera Rural District Council) had current financial reports. Many of these councils are run by MDC. It is good to see the party acting like Zanu PF.

Nobody named in the Auditor-General report ever gets arrested. It's a badge of honour.

This week, it was also reported that MDC councillors in Marondera were illegally allocating residential stands for money, prejudicing a potential formal housing scheme. This Zanu PF conduct is what has won the ruling party many elections, and it looks like the MDC is now fast learning the dirty tactics.

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