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Is Mudzuri a non-performer?

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Tuesday, July 13th, 2010 by Dydimus Zengenene

Recently the Prime Minister announced a cabinet reshuffle. He said the main reason for doing so was to regain the people’s confidence in the new administration amongst the electorate by addressing weaknesses in the party. Ministerial reshuffles are not anything new on the political front. This move might serve to confirm three basic points, 1. That rumours of fissures in the MDC party are real. 2. The MDC has not performed per expectation in the GNU. 3. The party is not hesitant when it comes to addressing serious issues.

The prime Minister did not talk about the reshuffle as firing anybody – he chose to call it a redeployment of the people: “‚Ķwithin the party to strengthen and add momentum to party programmes.” However Fidelis Mhashu, one of the axed ministers, speaking on ZTV expressed surprise at the reshuffle and said that he was shortchanged and he feels demoted.

Putting politics aside, the axing of Engeer Mudzuri is worrisome. Unless the party does something to paint him white, his career has been tarnished. Before assuming the ministerial post, Engineer Mudzuri was also uprooted from his Mayoral post that he had democratically occupied. It was Chombo’s axe that saw Mudzuri controversially replaced by a commission led by Sekesayi Makwavarara at the helm of the town house. The move was interpreted by many as a more politically inclined issue than a professional performance one. As a result Mudzuri was an MDC hero, who through the firing from the council office, had proved to be a real threat to the ZANU PF bigwig Chombo, the then Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.

Complaining on the suspension of Mudzuri the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said:

“The arbitrary suspension of Mudzuri represents a double standard in the application of authority by the Minister of Local Government. While other local authorities continue to suffer under poor service delivery, similar action has not been adopted. Indeed, the whole country is a victim of mismanagement and poor service delivery, and yet not a single member of the executive has been fired. Hospitals are largely dysfunctional, as are schools, colleges and universities. There are rampant food, fuel and foreign currency shortages. Surely if service delivery were so important, the entire government would have been fired by now”

Now that Mudzuri has failed to escape the first axe of his trusted Master, Morgan Tsvangirai, does this confirm that Chombo was right when he said Mudzuri is incompetent? The two consecutive firings are a bad mark on the engineer’s curriculum vitae. The MDC has to take appeasement action towards its Party’s National Organizer, otherwise his professional sheet will not be clean.

Ndini iyeyo nemusika wangu!

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Wednesday, June 30th, 2010 by Dydimus Zengenene

In the second issue of the Kubatana vendor wrap, Zanele Manhenga wrote about people who make Zimbabwe work. She cited a kombi driver as an example and explained how these people are important to our day-to-day activities.

When distributing the second vendor wrap in Greendale, we met Mai Fungai who operates a tomato and vegetable market. Her crew includes Mai Sharon, Mai Peter and Mai Matwins. With their tomatoes neatly packed and ordered in an appetizing manner, Mai Fungai was not hesitant to have a photograph taken. Posing in several stances, she proudly shouted “Ndini iyeyo nemusika wangu” meaning ‘it is me with my table’. With her colleagues shouting in support the whole place turned lively as we laughed together.

In these people it is easy to notice the time and effort that they employ in neatly packaging their tomatoes and vegetables. What cannot be hidden from their character and faces is the pride that they have about their work. It is clear that these women do not have much in terms of material wealth, but they have all that it takes to be happy and enjoy their work. It is true that positive thinking and enough effort yields positive results and satisfaction.

Surely if we could all be this happy and proud of our work, Zimbabwe would bloom with the flowers of joy.

Zimbabwean MPs key suppliers of fuel coupons to the black market

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Friday, June 18th, 2010 by Dydimus Zengenene

Zimbabwe’s formal economy has been struggling to survive whilst the informal sector has become the key to livelihood. There seems to be a change for the better in many sectors including the fuel sector where service stations now have good stocks of the precious liquid. But black market activities have not ended completely. As one drives up to the pumps in most service stations a swarm of young boys approach you selling coupons at a price cheaper than that pump price.

One wonders how this illegal business is viable given that the fuel price is on the rise the world over? My talk to one informal trader of coupons provided a shocking revelation, which left me close to bursting with anger. He said some people have diesel coupons yet they want petrol so they negotiate an exchange with these dealers who in turn charge a fee for the deal. It also emerged that some people have easy access to coupons, which they sell at a discount on the black market. It also emerged that the key suppliers of fuel are government officials including Members of Parliament who offload thousands of liters on the black market in the form of coupons.

The vendor revealed that yesterday (17 June 2010) some of his colleagues had a fight over about 5000 liters of fuel coupons, which a certain MP had come to offload at the BP Service Station on the corner of Fourth Street and Samora Machel Avenue. The dealers normally buy one 25-litre fuel coupon at US$22 and sell at US$25. The MP is said to have come with two full books of coupons of which one is 2500 liters worth of coupons. The MP is said to have asked the boys to offer good money, and they started bidding against each other, until they could buy the two books at US$24 per coupon.

The fight and the supply of fuel is not my problem; but the problem is where do these MPs get that much of fuel to sell on the black market? It becomes suspicious especially at a time when these MPs are set to take on a big role in the constitution making process. To make the deal more suspicious the MP is reported to have refused to receive the money on the spot. Instead he offered to carry the boys to some unnamed hotel to finish the deal. The government is broke and civil servants are sacrificing themselves to work without enough take-home money. Yet the politicians are busy lining their pockets with national resources. Lately the MPs have been demanding unrealistically hefty rewards for taking part in the constitution making process.

If they get these coupons from the government, one wonders how one person is given that many coupons at once? The administration has a case to answer. It is really disappointing to note that corrupt tendencies are at the top of the government. How will we heal the economy when the healing system comprises rotten elements? The first healing step is to bring these elements to book. Who then should lead the investigation and the arrest of these people?

Zimbabwean ladies not getting any attention during the World Cup

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Thursday, June 17th, 2010 by Dydimus Zengenene

Last weekend I took time visit the popular place in Ruwa, kwa “Mother” as it is popularly known. It is a remote hideout just after Ruwa as we enter the farm area known to belong to the Prisons¬† Commisioner, General Zimhondi. Just as 1:30 pm neared scores of men started trickling in and suddenly the place was full of people waiting for the start of a match between Algeria and Slovenia. Great indeed to see people, mostly men, gathered in one place, enjoying the contents of the brown bottle and having one thing in common – “Soccer”.

After this match was to come another two. The most awaited one being the one between Germany and Australia, which was to start at 8:30 pm. People were already promising to wait for all the matches. At another bar I heard people were made to pay US$3 at the door in order to enter to watch soccer. It is a nice time indeed for the bar owners who have boosted daily sales from about 1pm to 10pm.

Though these days are full of joy and fun; betting, gaining and losing, there is one group complaining back home. That of women who are not so much of soccer fans but still need the company and attention of their husbands. Men are aware of it but they don’t want to leave their friends to go and watch the games at home where there is not much noise and support, let alone beer. It is quite a difficult time, as many women are complaining of a lack of attention.

Contemplating it from a man’s perspectives it could be a simple issue, but ladies are quite bitter about it. Yes, they are justified, one lady pointed out, that the spending spree during these soccer-watching gatherings is pathetic. Not only do people buy their own beer but also for friends forgetting the crying baby at home who needs a sweet worth R1. Some women feel it is more secure if the whole family goes to watch at the same place.

Hey ladies and gentlemen this is soccer! It has come and it will pass, life has to go on after it . . . quarrel less and enjoy the World Cup on the African soil.

Puuuuuuuuu, goes the vuvuzela!

War is still on and peace is not guaranteed

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Thursday, June 17th, 2010 by Dydimus Zengenene

Zimbabweans have grown to learn by experience that the Government of National Unity (GNU) was nothing but a marriage of covenience. During the signing ceremony, party leaders gave the impression that the leaders had really cemented a deal of unity. People had a new sense of hope, hope for a better country, a free and prosperous Zimbabwe.

Now reality is surfacing – about two years down the line there are still pending issues. Jacob Zuma and his team have come and left the country countless times. The negotiation teams are always negotiating until no one knows when. The news is that elections will be in 2011 soon after the new constitution. Who confirmed that the referendum will agree to the constitution when the process is marked by some reports of violence and intimidation? Mutambara is of the view that the country is not yet ready for elections next year. True as it might be, his rather more powerful collegues have no option but to call for the elections.

What it all shows is that one hand and one fist are still fighting strong battles when the body they intended to protect is in trouble. The GNU was just a shift of the battlefields and maybe a shift of tactics of attack – war is still on and peace is not guaranteed.

Zimbabwe is still in tatters and our leaders are busy setting ambushes and employing guerrilla tactics against each other. Shame on the poor majority who are fed lies without choice, arm-twisted into doing and saying what they would not if they were properly informed. We wonder when political freedom will exist in this country? We call upon the GNU principals to come back to the basics and consider the reasons, which led into this marriage, which they now tramp upon without achieving its intended objectives.

Reconciliation in Zimbabwe not being taken seriously

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Wednesday, June 16th, 2010 by Dydimus Zengenene

When the unity government was formed in Zimbabwe, an organ of national healing and reconciliation was also established. Its main mission was to bring back order in the violence-maimed societies, rebuild unions in disjointed communities, reintroduce peace where violence was the order of the day, and bring back that oneness that we enjoyed swimming in before the political chaos.

This implies that people have been looking at this organ expecting action beyond mere talking. By this time we are expecting to have seen the members of the organ moving around in communities, preaching the gospel of peace, coexistence and love. We have for long been expecting the organ to spearhead radio and television programmes that reinforce the importance of peace and love. We have for long been waiting to see some initiative that make people share their feelings, forgive whoever they think is guilty and bring back the spirit of coexistence.

On the 7th of April 2009, the chairman of the organ spoke about reconciliation to stakeholders including churches. That gave people hope that peace had finally come to hand. Unfortunately very little has been done beyond that so far. If this organ had done its work well, a good ground for a peaceful Constitution making process would have been set.

It seems a Non Governmental Organization, Heal Zimbabwe, has seen the gap and is now initiating action. Its programmes that are reportedly taking shape in Muzarabani are a contribution that deserves a pat on the back. Among other good works, Heal Zimbabwe has embarked on initiating memorial services for those victims of political violence. Such moves are likely to bring people together, get them to discuss how bad violence is and give the family members an opportunity to give their deceased the respect that is customarily and religiously granted to the dead. That way the organisation is addressing the customary and religious side, which plays a great role in establishing forgiveness in societies.

Can these initiatives therefore serve as a wake up call to the Organ of National Healing and reconciliation? There is nothing yet on the ground that we can attribute to this organ and as citizens we feel that that organ has not served its purpose especially amid reports that violence and threats are rejuvenating in the country. That puts to question the possibility of any future peaceful elections. People still think violence is the way to go; surviving victims of past violence are still looking for ways to retaliate. If that tension is not addressed, then the existence of an organ called “National Healing” is unjustified.