Many people were shocked to see government officials lining up to receive donations towards the fight against COVID-19 this week.It was not the donations that were shocking. The surprise was the realisation that the country still has a government.
Already, the government has begged the world for over US$2 billion to feed its people and keep them from getting sick. We then saw businesspeople buying medicines and equipment for hospitals. Here were donations of basic goods such as gloves and masks from well-wishers. All this left the masses wondering when exactly the country stopped having a government, seeing as it was private citizens and foreign governments doing the government's job.
Up to the time President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his two deputies stood on the steps of the State House to receive a single ambulance from a donor, the nation had come to believe they had long quit and gone back to their rural homes. What else could explain the absence of any evidence that there is a government actually doing any work?
We might as well let these businesspeople run government, seeing as nobody else is doing so. We heard on Zanu PF's propaganda mouthpiece ZBC: "President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called on the Hindu, Jewish and Hellenic Religious group to come on board and join other sectors to mobilise resources to mitigate against the deadly Covid-19."
One wonders why the President is not appealing to Zanu PF's usual support base: people like random criminals and so forth.
Opulence vs calamity
Eager to remind the masses that they still actually have a government, Mnangagwa decided to take a drive in his long motorcade into the ghettos of Harare.
Once in a while, a leader must leave his palace, lest people forget his face.
And so, with dozens of big cars in tow, the man and his entourage roared into the capital's high-density areas. Of course, they had to use the big 4X4s, lest the usual Mercedes-Benz saloon be swallowed by potholes in Glen Norah, or get bogged down in a pool of sewage in Chitungwiza.
Who would want a leader getting a real feel of the results of his failures?
Of course, the President did not get to mingle much with the masses. Would we want the country's owner to catch any virus among the unwashed masses of Mabvuku?
He just engaged his full Joseph Made mode and made sure to watch the poverty from behind the tinted glasses of his bulletproof SUV.
At least he got to see what a modern city the capital of his country is, with its boreholes and broken sewer pipes.
According to the police, close to 2 000 people had by this week been arrested for violating the lockdown. According to police spokesperson Paul Nyathi, more than 100 people were arrested for what he called "unnecessary movement", while dozens others were arrested "for gathering in public places".
Surely, if someone is to be arrested for "unnecessary movements" and pointless gatherings, it should be our owner and his minions. While other leaders around the world are leading by example, sticking to their own measures and providing for the poor, we have here a man leading a horde of under-employed spooks in shiny suits and pointy shoes on a pointless excursion of Zengeza.
Each day, we see pointless meetings at State House, decked out in those hideous curtain decorations, which themselves should be considered a crime in a modern country.
But that is how we like to run this. The country has arrested 2 000 people, but tested only 400 for coronavirus. We would rather be arresting people than testing them. While at it, for refusing to observe social distancing, we will throw them into crowded cells. Genius moves.
Muckraker wonders why people are angry that government has not put in place enough so-called safety nets to help the poor during the lockdown. Since when is feeding the hungry a good political strategy?
Everybody knows that people with stomachs are a problem.This is why, in Chiredzi, Zanu PF MP Farai Musikavanhu decided to relieve the poor of the burden of food.
According to reports, the man "liberated" 13,4 tonnes of the subsidised roller meal from a supermarket in Triangle. Musikavanhu is a true cadre. He has always stuck to party principle. Who can forget the time he raided a clinic in Chiredzi to remove beds and other equipment donated by an MDC official in the town.
A loyal party cadre knows that the poor cannot be allowed to sleep on beds in hospitals, or have a decent meal in their homes, unless the ruling party says so. The nation will be shocked if this comrade is not rewarded with a higher post in the party, for showing such consistent adherence to party ideology.
Elsewhere, clearly other party members are in need of some of that "robust reorientation" that Obert Mpofu likes to prescribe to stray cadres.
It was reported this week that, in Mashonaland Central, some party official wrote on WhatsApp that the President had failed and must quit. Obviously, this is a heinous crime, and police dutifully arrested him.
Goodman Musariri, it was reported, posted WhatsApp messages on a Zanu PF Mashonaland Central province group that Mnangagwa must quit and allow Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga to take over.
"We agree that the likes of vaMnangagwa, who only has less than 18 years to live on this universe, must maximise his retirement time. After all, he has nothing to offer Zimbabwe except to loot it the more for 18 years," one of the messages read.
The man was charged with undermining the authority of the President. It was a surprising charge, seeing as nobody still believes the President has any authority left.
So, the man thinks the VP can do better than the President?
Muckraker appeals to the police to add a further charge: self-delusion.
If, however, people in Zanu PF now believe the man should go, there is only one thing that the man should do. He is, after all, a listening President.