Nkosana Moyo in Zimbabwe’s Politics of Opposition: The Pigeon thrown among the cats!

13 Jul

On 29 June 2017, Nkosana Moyo launched his bid for Zimbabwe’s Presidency thus throwing himself into the fray of opposition politics in Zimbabwe. His pitch and tone is that of a person who has really thought about this new journey and is ready to stand in the ring with Robert Mugabe as one seeking to defend his tenure and on the other side the opposition political parties calling him all sorts of names for being allegedly divisive and potentially splitting the vote against Mugabe. Well, some have called him an opportunist who is after the fame and glory of being a presidential aspirant in Zimbabwe. Others have accused him of either being too delusional or overconfident to think he can snatch the presidency from Mugabe. Yet others have accused him of wanting to siphon the millions of hard cash that come in from donors whenever election time is around the corner. Call him whatever they want, I think the guy although very brave, well qualified and all, he is at this juncture almost turning the old idiom “throwing a cat among the pigeons” upside down and he himself can be characterized more as “A PIGEON THROWN AMONG THE CATS”. Pigeons are not known to scare cats and neither are cats known to fear pigeons. I say this for several reasons which I will discuss below, save to just say that this guy has no chance whatsoever against Robert Mugabe in the 2018 elections, unless he is in this time just to test the waters for another chance after Mugabe is gone.

Nkosana is like a pigeon thrown among the cats for now because I do not think that he can turn the tables against Mugabe in next year’s elections. It is not possible! It cannot be done. It’s already water under the bridge. Give or take the rigging allegations by Mugabe’s party, I do not think that Nkosana necessarily has and will be able to build the connection that is needed with the almost resigned Zimbabwean voter at this moment. Mugabe knows god willing that if his batteries do not run out, he will be the President of Zimbabwe after the 2018 elections.

That Nkosana has chosen to run for the Presidency as an independent candidate is most laudable. In the current politics of Zimbabwe where politicians continue to be recycled offering no new ideas, it is better to have something and someone new: –  Anything! The opposition in Zimbabwe is failing to understand the simple logic that you cannot continue knocking one’s head against the wall. Others must be given a chance where your strategies have failed. Alas, all you hear is that “nzizi dzese dzinoyerera dzichipinda muna Save”. Fair and fine. If that is the case, Nkosana go it all alone! – all the way and do not even turn your back to any whistles! (usacheuke miridzo). That Nkosana, this pigeon who has stirred the dirty waters of Zimbabwe’s opposition politics will be derided and thrown of course by the opposition is in no doubt. The opposition in Zimbabwe has the masses. It will be more than difficult for him to convince die hard supporters of the MDC or any other opposition force to ditch their parties for him. All the same, the politics that Nkosana has played here by refusing to join any umbrella is most welcome. The fallacy that Mugabe can only be defeated by a large umbrella of political parties is now tired. It would be better to have a Mugabe with his two VPs than to have a whole bunch of hooligans in suits calling themselves the new government fighting and dishing out nonexistent posts in government all because they contributed to Mugabe’s ouster at the ballot.

Another point that Zimbabwe would want to know is the who, what, when, how and why of Nkosana’s politics. That he has this pigeon label on him is in no doubt. The masses will look at him and feel that he is just trying his shot at a game he cannot win. For instance, without knowing those people who are standing with him (besides Fadzayi Mahere), without knowing who his family is, without knowing who is funding his activities, without knowing his ideas and recruitment bases (young people, farmers, old people, workers etc.) it will be difficult for this pigeon to scatter the cats that are already sitting in the ring for the 2018 Presidential elections.

For Nkosana to want to run as an Independent presidential candidate he must have thought well about the fact that even if he were to win he would not have a majority in Parliament. He would not be able to form or run any government as it were. The trick could be that he wants to avoid infiltration through political party structures by the CIO. Good move, but in the end, it will not lead Zimbabweans anywhere. Therefore, Nkosana needs to lay his cards on the table. The years when politicians would tell voters that just vote me in and you will see what I will do are long gone. He must make it clear how will pass and skip past such hurdles first. Zimbabwe must know what he is selling and if it can be bought. Otherwise he will remain in my eyes a pigeon thrown among the cats.

That Nkosana has stood up to challenge his yester-year boss when he was Industry and International Trade Minister is laudable. But so many have taken this path and not gone anywhere with their projects. Edgar Tekere, Simba Makoni, Joyce Mujuru just to name a few struggled and their projects suffered still births. Nkosana needs to convince Zimbabweans by showing us that he has a plan that will work. To just say that he will be able to change Zimbabwe’s politics is not good enough. The issues are very contentious. Thus, for anyone to come and say that when we return to the rule of law all will be well is not good enough. Others see a return to this rule of law as bequeathing power to our erstwhile colonizers. Others think that a return to this “rule of law” will be the end of ZANU PF and a chance to reverse ZANU PF’s policies around land reform and natural resources empowerment. The questions are daunting. Nkosana must be able to stand up and share his vision with more vigor and have a national presence. Otherwise Mugabe will have the last laugh saying that Nkosana ran away only to come back to run away again. Otherwise known as a pigeon thrown among the cats.

 

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Islamic fundamentalism is not JUST any other African problem!

20 May

So the past month has been awash with comments on the abducted 276 Nigerian Chibok girls and the ever increasing terrorist attacks in Kenya. These attacks have been carried out by two notorious groups connected to the Al Qaeda: the Al Shabbab outfit based in Somalia and the Boko Haram based in Northern Nigeria. The attacks and abductions have been merciless and vile to say the least. Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Goodluck Jonathan have been criticized left right and center by citizens and other observers who argue that they can do more to end these attacks and improve security in Kenya and Nigeria. President Jonathan was further criticized in the media for attending the security Summit called for by Francois Hollande in France instead of visiting Chibok. While the two Presidents can be found wanting in other areas, I contend that these two Presidents are hamstrung and the best they can do for now is align more with the West to get assistance in the form of weapons, intelligence and finances to fend off these groups.

The visit by Goodluck Jonathan to France to meet with the EU countries and the neighboring African Presidents was necessary. It is a clear fact that these African countries do not have the necessary human resources to collect vital intelligence to fend off these Islamist groups. By visiting the Northern city of Chibok, the President of Nigeria would have just paid a solidarity which would not have achieved much except to raise the villagers’ expectations for nothing.

America, UK and France including the rest of the EU have significant knowledge of the operations of these Islamist groups from years of sophisticated intelligence gathering. The West also has the financial and military resources to alleviate this crisis that seems to be slowly engulfing Africa. It will not pay for any African to continue clamoring for African solutions to African problems in this instance – Islamist fundamentalism is not an African problem per se. What is happening in Kenya and Nigeria is a mere shifting of battlefields from the West to Africa by the Islamic militants.

A clear mapping exercise will reveal that most of the attacks that have occurred in Kenya and Nigeria started as targeting European, American and Jewish interests in Africa. Talk about the 2013 Westgate attack in Nairobi, talk about the 2011 UN suicide bombings in Nigeria and many more. That these groups are now attacking local citizens such as the poor girls in Chibok and Kenyans on public transport and vegetable markets in Nairobi are just sick diversionary tactics. Their main goal is to score major victories on the UN compound and the US Embassy in Nairobi. What they are looking for is a score like they made in Libya when they killed the US Ambassador Chris Stevens. In Nigeria clearly they want to instill fear in the government by invoking religious feuds so that they can have their way in the economic and political structures of the country. Al Shabbab would definitely want to rile Kenyan citizens and push for the withdrawal of the KDF from Somalia. This is unrealistic and has to be opposed with all might by the African Union and the UN.

Enter the West’s hypocrisy

Due to the might of their intelligence gathering mechanisms the West has managed to bolster security measures in their own backyards and their interests in Nigeria and Kenya. Recently travel bans were issued in Kenya and even evacuations back to the UK and America for citizens on holiday from Kenya. While there is nothing wrong in the West protecting its citizens, one can also understand the frustrations of the Kenyan and Nigerian governments that the West is now playing into the hands of the Islamist groups and also fuelling the platforms for these groups to continue with their terror activities. For instance, when the American, British or Israeli intelligence officers acquire credible information, do they share it with the Kenyan government to apprehend the suspects? The West has been found wanting in this instance because just in the same week the Chinese Premier was in Nairobi, threats for the attacks spiralled to unprecedented levels in Kenya. Of course everyone knows that the Chinese are bringing loads of investments into East and West Africa and the West is lagging behind. Al Shabbab and Boko Haram are fully aware of these dynamics and they want to sow seeds of fear and uncertainty in the countries. The West therefore cannot condone this by sitting on information and not assisting the two governments on the basis that they want to appease their egos over their geo political and economic fights with China.

So what should Africa do?

The arguments raised by Goodluck Jonathan that he could not visit Chibok because of security fears were justified. Some years ago, I saw live on TV Al Qaeda militants attacking Hamid Karzai whilst he addressed a rally. What will stop these Boko Haram militias from doing so in Nigeria? All the same, the situation raises questions on what the Nigerian government is doing enough to secure such vulnerable areas as Chibok – citizens who vote and pay taxes live there daily and they need protection. To argue that government officials will not go there because of insecurity will not hold water forever.

More importantly, the two governments of Kenya and Nigeria need to review their government systems. Corrupt Kenyan Immigration officers allegedly continue selling travel documents to many Somali young people linked to Al Shabbab. Nigerian borders are so porous that terrorists find it so easy to move between Chad, Benin and Cameroon. The police and military services need to be strengthened and more collaboration established between the different African countries.

The African solution to some of these problems will NOT come from the Kenyan government attacking each and every Somali national they bump into in Mombasa and Nairobi. In the same manner extrajudicial shootings of suspected Boko Haram suspects will not end the attacks in Nigeria. What are needed are more robust intelligence gathering mechanisms by the two countries working in tandem with the Western countries. The Kenyan and Nigerian nationals especially religious and community elders who live amongst some of these rogue elements in Al Shabbab and Boko Haram need to play an active role.  They also need to help the authorities and not continue to be quiet while the two countries burn from economic stagnation, stigmatization and more deaths and misery.

In the end one will find that although not appealing and looking strategic in the eyes of the African, President Goodluck Jonathan needed to go to France and consult with his fellow African statesmen just to get things moving. There is no point asking 3 or 4 besieged and clueless African Presidents to meet in Africa to find African solutions to a perceived African problem when we know clearly that the problem is not African per se. The African countries whether by omission or commission do not have the financial wherewithal and the necessary intelligence gathering technics to tackle such problems.and the Western countries need to know that no amount of travel bans to African countries will end terrorism. They must not mix up their long held battles with China and Kenya and lump them up with the terrorism problems Africa is facing.

After all is said and done, Goodluck Jonathan went to France and came back with threats to annihilate Boko Haram from the face of the earth. How about a report back to ECOWAS or to your African brothers in Addis Ababba, Mr Goodluck on this unAfrican problem?

Zimbabwe! Calling others gay, barking dogs & mafikizolos will not solve Command Ugly Cultures

2 Jul

So, it goes in ZANU PF that if your erstwhile and yesteryear Dinyane colleagues irritate you, you label them gay, you call them mafikozolos, you call them deserters, barking dogs and all sorts of nasty names. This all in the hope that the name calling should end their tirades on twitter and wherever they exercise their misdemeanors against the revolutionary party. This sort of diversionary tactic would have worked back then, years ago, but it seems no one ever bothered to tell Cde Constantino Guveya Chiwenga, Minister Chinamasa, Vice President Mnangagwa, Nathaniel and Ambassador Mutsvangwa that they should look for new tactics as this one is now less diversionary, tired and boring. It is understandable that these comrades would have been immensely irritated by the twitter rants by Jonathan Moyo and jabs by Savior Kasukuwere about the Command Agriculture saga. Honestly, after hatching such a good looting plan who would expect that even the beneficiaries of such a thieving scheme would oppose it. For me, it is not even the rantings by Proff. Jonso and Tyson that are the problem here. It is rather the lousy and near violent responses by these top ZANU PF officials which point to a refusal to be censured, and a lazy attitude that the country should be governed by Command policies. The rantings by Chinamasa, Mutsvangwa, Chiwenga and Mnangagwa as well as the (re) tired Cde Nathaniel reveal the smelly underbelly of the Command Agriculture scheme more than it dissuades critics and observers from asking objective questions.

That someone had to find a way to fund, subsidize or bankroll the cash strapped farmers who got land from the land grab that happened over a decade ago is beyond doubt. Banks have refused and continue to ask questions about the bankability of the 99 year leases. Government is forcing the banks to charge 4% interest rates. This was bound to be a recipe for disaster, still someone had to cough up the cash to supply inputs for the farmers to start farming without too many stringent conditions. So, in comes Dr Grace with the Command Agriculture Scheme. It is said farmers who could prove that they could farm, were operating close to water sources and had irrigation equipment etc. were allowed access to the inputs which would be collected from GMB. Farmers collected their inputs and went to farm. There is no question about this, somehow funds were needed for agricultural revival in Zimbabwe. This money had to be provided and yes, the Government intervened and provided the much-needed support.

Questions came in as soon as the Command Agriculture project started. Rightful questions which needed and still need forthright answers. For me, this is where the Lacoste team misses the point and fails to address the information needs of Zimbabweans including Proff. Jonso and Tyson. Of course, it known to all and sundry that Jonso and Tyson and ohh yes muzukuru wa sekuru Mu Rasta are not asking questions because they are worried about Zimbabwe. The problem that finds the Lacoste team in sixes and nines and make their responses childish is that they are failing to deploy intelligent responses and the right people to respond to the tirades from Jonso and his G 40.

First, who names a policy as big as this agricultural finance scheme “Command Agriculture”. It is as if we are in some Soviet Stalinist era or Nyerere’s socialist era. Yes, the process is in every way Command like, but it could have been given a name – a Zimbabwean title for that matter, to give it dignity, a home and belonging. But alas some douche bag cleverly thought it could be called “Command”. By calling this process “Command” it opened it up to ridicule and all these unnecessary proceedings from the likes of Proff. Jonso and his G40 and now they should manage to eclipse this whole process as “Command Ugly Culture”.

Secondly, questions have been asked about the transparency with which this process has been implemented. For God’s sake, if everything is above aboard and there is nothing to hide, why would it be difficult for Chinamasa, Chiwenga and the King Crocodile himself to simply issue a spreadsheet showing who got what inputs, when and what value they were. Is it that difficult? Jonathan Moyo can continue playing his trumpet so loud and for so long because he knows most probably that the people managing this process do not even know what inputs he received.

I raise the point of inventory above because it would be able to answer a follow up question on what outputs were achieved by each farmer. It is a simple evaluation process. If x amount of inputs were given to Farmer Jonso with all things being equal (rains, fuel, labor etc.), Farmer Jonso would have produced so much tonnage isn’t it. Exact figures might be difficult to come up with for the final output but at least estimates can be drawn up. Team Lacoste continues to play around with the mantra that Command Agriculture produced a bumper harvest and Zimbabwe will for the first time in a long period not require to import grains. Well, fair and fine, but this response fails to answer critical questions on what farmer produced what products and in what quantities. This kind of knee jerk response does not provide for a future looking government and policy making process. What farmers did well, which regions and all those sorts of questions are critical questions that need ready answers from the Minister of Agriculture and GMB. The idea that Zimbabweans can be Commanded to believe that the Command Agriculture project was a success without seeing clearly tabulated results is so Commandist and so yesterday. Word of advice for Ngwena – please get a bit more sophisticated and have the boys in your office do more work. Maybe the politicians can be allowed the ranting but certainly the task force Commanded by you to manage this process can and could have done better in terms of providing clearer information.

Third, the name Sakunda Holdings continues to be tossed around as the funders of this project. The newspapers run around with information that these “petrol” people are somehow related to the first family and mukwasha Simba. Whichever way it is, I see arrogance on the part of the Lacoste team in the way they respond. If nothing is amiss with these funds and this company then clearly someone clever enough would have responded intelligently and given accounts of what funds were agreed to be lended to the Government of Zimbabwe, at what interest rates, for what period, disbursed in what procedures etc. This information is not coming through and what Zimbabweans get daily are allegations of corrupt dealings, inflated interest rates, fake disbursements etc. Even if Team Lacoste wanted to take over the government and run the state after the demise of the Great One, I believe it would be cleverer to have a more responsive press officer, a more able manager of information, not these hocus pocus responses from Chinamasa. It’s just not cutting it!

The arrogance with which the Team Lacoste has responded and continues to soldier on Commanding more funds for Command Livestock and Command Fisheries just shows poor politicking on the Team Lacoste. I reckon the proceeds from Command Agriculture were so sweet that people want to continue mauling the fiscus before the old man kicks the bucket. Ngwena and Chinamasa could as well try to up their game before implanting Command Livestock and Fisheries. This idea of Commandeering everything even information is not working.

The use of expletives and foul language to respond to criticism to Jonso and Tyson is counterproductive for Team Lacoste. What such responses do is reveal an arrogant stance that Zimbabwe belongs to ZANU PF and the only thing that this side of ZANU PF needs to be worried about is the G40 faction and nothing and no one else. Zimbabwe is much bigger than Team G 40 and Jonso. Team Lacoste get a life and stop responding with jibes that Jonso and Tyson are gay. Unless of course Command Sexuality was introduced and we were not told. It is very clear that the idea is to try whip up emotions of Zimbabweans on sexual orientation debates and because President Mugabe is adamant that “gays are worse than pigs”. Zimbabweans know this and it is a bit futile for Team Lacoste to want to appeal to President Mugabe in this manner. If these attacks are going to be made, at least let them come from elsewhere. For once, Team Lacoste has a chance to speak policy and respond in a clean and sober manner on questions regarding the funding of Command Agriculture. That Jonso deserted the war is also well known. But frankly, who really knows how the fought was fought when there are so many disputed narratives. Joice never fell any helicopter, so and so was just a mujibha, so and so was just a cook etc. That so and so joined ZANU PF later does not necessarily mean that they cannot ask questions when the revolutionary party implements questionable policies. Commanding allegiance through Command policies such as Command Agriculture, Command Livestock and Command Fisheries will only work for if the money lasts. After the money is finished, it will be back to square one. Policy questions asked today will still be there waiting to be answered

All Zimbabweans want to know is how exactly those who have been given inputs under the Command Agriculture will repay their loans. This process that farmers will pay back with grain at 75% or whatever quantity is well and clear. Mnangagwa has noted that farmers are already depositing grains at various GMB depots. It would be good for whoever is monitoring and evaluating Zim Asset and this Command Agriculture process to keep Zimbabweans updated on an online portal, throught the Herald and whatever means about the state of affairs with this Command Agriculture process. The idea of having policies discussed via twitter by Jonso and Cde Pats ranting in private newspapers is not working!

In any case, if ZimAsset is going to proceed by way of COMMAND economics and funding, then when will see COMMAND HOUSING, command ROADS and COMMAND STOP CORRUPTION at ZIMRA and from the boys in blue whose boss wears the wrong shoe sizes to work!

Last word for Sakunda Holdings and all these other people enjoying lending money to this government. I note as well the Afreximbank loan to fund the bond notes. I noted earlier, that someone somewhere has and had to fund the different projects under Zimasset. These projects have very high returns at the moment, they are quite interesting but I sincerely hope that they will not one day become odious debts. Just saying! Remember, the Guptas down South – hint hint! Just one day, gava richadimbura musungo Sakunda!

UGLY as this whole COMMAND CULTURE looks, Team Lacoste can do better and respond in better ways in a manner that can serve all Zimbabweans. Zimbabwe will not be fed by the jabs between Lacoste and G 40.

Tilda Moyo now knows too much about sex, she thinks its a game!

22 May

t seems Tilda Moyo has now graduated from radio sex shows on StarFM to an expert on rape, women’s rights, prophetic healing and other things overnight. While Tilda Moyo was applauded for exposing the rogue prophet who was on a rampage healing women with medication administered by his penis, I am of the view that she is now missing the point by arguing in court that the women could not have been raped since they consented. This is most unfortunate and could cause more harm to vulnerable women from these so-called men of God. It is reported that on Friday 19 May 2017 Tilda Moyo gave this evidence before a Harare magistrate. The report can be found on the following link: http://www.herald.co.zw/tilda-show-airs-in-court/

For starters, Tilda Moyo knows fully well after having interviewed this so-called prophet that he deceived womenfolk claiming he had the powers to heal different ailments. It is a fact, that people in Zimbabwe and across Africa have beliefs that traditional healers and prophets have healing powers. Whether they are tricksters or not remains a question to be answered on the “day of judgement” I guess. There is no need to look for any more evidence or motive in this case. It is neither here nor there to want to blame the victim or these three women in question for such a crime arguing that they should have known better. This so-called prophet is a liar, a cheat and deceived vulnerable women who were desperate and looking for help. He is a vulture preying on peoples’ weaknesses, naivet’es or whatever we might want to call it. What kind of a society will we become if we fail to protect such vulnerable people from sex predators like Onbert Mapfumo?

Tilda Moyo is reported to have mentioned in court that if the women had been “delivered” maybe they would not have complained or come out. This forms the crux of the matter Tilda Moyo. If the women were not delivered”, or “saved” and to make matters worse someone sought to deliver and administer his medication using his penis then clearly there was rape. There is no healing that can be administered through sex except for consenting adults. This prophet lied to these women that he could treat them. When they got to him he proposed to use his penis to insert the medication or whatever it is he was delivering. Who knows what force, what threats, what spiritual curses were thrown at these women before they capitulated? Pafungei ipapo sisi Tilda.

If we do not have a name to call these new rapists operating Ponzi scheme sex rings, then we need to find new names and legal penalties rather than dismiss the rape cases alleged by the women involved. Tilda Moyo’s opinions are quite distracting, overly misleading and will take the fight against women’s abuse in Zimbabwe centuries back.

Tilda Moyo reportedly noted that the victims had not made any police reports after their ordeals allegedly because the prophet claimed he was a member of the CID. This alone should ring bells in Tilda Moyo’s head. Tilda Moyo knows very well what the mere mention of CID, CIO etc. brings to Zimbabweans: – fear, impunity and torture. This is not just an opinion but a reality taken from how these institutions have been depicted in Zimbabweans’ daily lives. So, I would want to know from Tilda Moyo what she would have expected these now painted “naïve” women to do when they were faced with such a callous rapist who clothed himself with the CID badges of perceived “impunity, violence, disappearances etc.” .

If anything, this so-called prophet must be reigned in for impostoring and use the name of the CID in disrepute. Haha! I laugh though – but that’s a story for another day.

Where Ponzi and pyramid schemes have been used to con people of their hard-earned monies this has been called fraud and all sorts of criminal names. How is this so-called prophet, Onbert Mapfumo different from such fraudsters? The fact that he is transacting in vaginas does not make him less of a criminal, does it?

While it might have been necessary for the Judge Hosiah Mujaya to get to the bottom of this matter by calling in Tilda Moyo, this testimony, evidence or whatever it is must be thrown out and not be used in this case. It would be irresponsible for such things to happen in Zimbabwe. Unless of course this Onbert Mapfumo can prove that he was in love relationships with these three women who now claim to be his victims then clearly he raped them through trickery and coercion. He lied that he was a healer and also intimidated them using the name of the most dreaded security agency in Zimbabwe. Clearly it will be difficult now to get evidence of soiled clothes, DNA, ripped underwear etc. but the truth of the matter is that this Onbert Mapfumo is a rapist.

End of story!

For now, we wait to hear from the learned judge.

 

The tragedy of Zimbabwe’s policy making: Dokora’s education for Goats = Antoinette’s let them eat cake:

25 Apr

In Zimbabwe, the past few weeks have been animated with jokes and memes poking fun at Zimbabwe’s Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, Lazarus Dokora’s  pronouncements that school fees can be paid using goats. Indeed, these kinds of pronouncements could not have been imaginable but …, well it happened. In the aftermath Dokora attempted to sanitize the whole issue and noted that he only meant parents and guardians could sell their goats (read livestock) to pay for school fees. This pronouncement is problematic on several levels:  It gives a very confused view of how the Zimbabwean economy is run and what Zimbabweans value as currency; what the government policy is with regards to access to education and how this pronouncement affects peoples’ livelihoods especially those in Zimbabwe’s rural areas. I will focus on a simple matter with regards to how this seemingly laughable and innocent matter has the potential of disrupting the resilience of rural communities’ livelihoods all in the name of wanting to send their children to school.

That Zimbabwe strives to have a well-educated population is not in dispute. However, with the strained and poor economic conditions bedeviling the country it has not been easy for the government as the service provider and parents/guardians as the customers of this service to pay for the goods delivered. Government has tried all sorts of mechanisms under its Social Welfare grants and schemes but this never seems to be enough. Children dropping out of school or failing to write their final examinations now seems to be the order of the day in most parts of rural Zimbabwe and other urban areas. Faced with such challenges, citizens have tried to look up to the government for solutions through policy interventions. As sure as the sun would rise, government through Lazarus Dokora came up with the pronouncement that parents struggling to pay school fees for their children could use goats as a form of payment.

I would like to give the Honorable Minister, the benefit of the doubt and think that goats were a figurative expression. I’m trying to convince myself that he meant well as he has tried to defend himself in his latest pronouncements. However, I still find even his rejoinder problematic.

Since time immemorial, Zimbabweans have used livestock to engage in barter trade as well selling it for cash to pay for their other needs. Government and other civil society groups have had numerous projects of enhancing income in most rural families by ceding make and female goats, cows etc. so that they can rear them and increase their resilience to shocks and generally can look after themselves. Thus, the pronouncement by Dokora was and cannot be news at all. There was nothing genius about his pronouncement if for any reason he thought that he was saying something outside the box meant to relieve the pressure from parents who are currently struggling to pay school fees for their children.

In fact, Dokora’s pronouncement is dangerous to the extent that it encourages poor households to strip their assets so they can pay for school fees for their children. Taking the goats for example, it is a fact that most rural folk no longer have such assets after the last drought in 2015. Moreover, because of the economic hardships most families in the rural areas have sold these assets to cater for food needs mostly. So, it would be interesting to know from Dokora who exactly he will be referring to when he says these folks can use or sell their goats to pay for school fees. For those that have the goats (read livestock), I’m sure they get milk which is used to feed children etc. Selling off such vital sources of food to pay school fees does not look intelligent and exposes families to malnutrition unnecessarily. The same goats need to breed and produce more offspring before someone can think of selling them and making money out of them. This encouragement coming from such a high-powered government official is quite forceful as it is misleading. The real risk that those who have such livestock will be tempted to sell their “only” livestock to pay for their children’s school fees is too high.

Dokora and the government of Zimbabwe need to come up with a solid policy and sustainable action to deal with the rising problem of parents failing to pay for their children’s’ school fees. Such a cavalier mentality and attitude to the rights of millions of Zimbabwean children’s right to education by senior government officials is unwarranted and reckless. Dokora needs to realize that the problem is not simply a matter of raising money. The Zimbabwean economy has been in the doldrums for years in the meantime, depleting peoples’ sources of livelihoods and resilience to poverty. Pushing for such a policy written or otherwise will only lead to entrenched poverty among Zimbabweans especially those in rural teachers all in the name of trying to send their children to school. Dokora needs to think more about the possibility and dangers of a lost generation, that will lose out from school because their parents could genuinely not pay for their school fees is unimaginable.

This goat business, is not going work. Period. The pay for education with goats pronouncement is as arrogant as the supposed Marie Antoinette’s “let them eat cake” stupid pronouncement and as hair brained as Mugabe’s utterances in 2005 that if Zimbabweans didn’t have food they could as well eat potatoes.

 

A very goodbye Yahya Jammeh – but – Exile not the answer though!

23 Jan

Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh finally bade farewell grudgingly to the Gambia, ill acquired fame and ludicrous power on 21 January 2017 after 23 years in power at the helm of The Gambia. Aft…

Source: A very goodbye Yahya Jammeh -but – Exile not the answer though!

A very goodbye Yahya Jammeh -but – Exile not the answer though!

23 Jan

Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh finally bade farewell grudgingly to the Gambia, ill acquired fame and ludicrous power on 21 January 2017 after 23 years in power at the helm of The Gambia. After his defeat by Adama Barrow in the 1 December 2016 elections and then “changing his mind” after announcing his defeat, ECOWAS, the African Union and the UN prevailed on him to vacate the Presidential seat. The man has since left for Equatorial Guinea to be under the protection of another African henchman, Obiang Mbasugo Nguema reportedly after having looted USD$11mln and several other unnamed valuables. Gambians are more than excited, Africa is relieved and the whole world is happy that this political transition has been bloodless. However, i am of the view that while sending Yahya Jammeh into exile will work in the short term it is detrimental in the long term.

Yahya Jammeh by being allowed into exile and even reading out his stepping down letter began a misdirected journey of him to manipulate the narrative about what exactly led to his defeat and being deposed from power. Clearly it was important for him to address the nation and whole world acceding defeat. However, the narrative that he made a decision on his own volition to vacate the Presidency and other such narratives should not be tolerated any further. He lost an election and he should have gone away quietly. Adama Barrow’s new government will need to quickly address this state of affairs and ensure that the true story is told to all and sundry at home and abroad.

The second issue concerns Yahya Jammeh’s potential to disrupt the politics and peace in the Gambia. While ECOWAS, the AU and the UN have promised to ensure the Gambia’s security, it is important that Yahya Jammeh is watched while he is on exile. The man led the country through force and brutality for a long time and it cannot be denied that some of his security forces might inevitably be still loyal to him. The potential to cause security problems engineered by Yahya Jammeh while in exile through his proxies must not be ruled out and thus the man needs to be watched as he comfortably sits reportedly in temporary exile in Equatorial Guinea.

Keeping Yahya Jammeh in the Gambia would have ensured that he would not be able to determine the future narrative of the Gambia’s politics through pronunciations such as the one he made just before he left.

Keeping Yahya Jammeh in the Gambia would have ensured that he would be allowed to witness change, democracy and a new form of government as an ordinary citizen without having to watch from outside the country.

Keeping Yahya Jammeh in the Gambia and not leave the country on his own terms would have ensured that he would not plunder and raid the bank as he did just before he left as reported.

Keeping Yahya Jammeh in the country would have ensured that he would have been held to account for any crimes and human rights abuses during his reign.

While it is a welcome relief that the henchman is gone, it is also very unfortunate that by sending Yahya Jammeh into exile, a precedent has been set for many an African dictators. It cannot be that whenever African Presidents are defeated in elections, they have to determine whether they have lost or not and usually in the end just refuse to leave the offices.

It will be interesting to see how the international community as well as the new government will handle issues around past human rights violations and economic plundering. The proposal to set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission by Adama Barrow is most welcome. The continued talks and analysis that the political agreement signed for Yahya Jammeh to leave the country was only political and not binding on the Gambia is also a good sign.

Yahya Jammeh will need to be brought back to the Gambia to face the judicial system and account for human rights violations and economic plundering charges. While peace needs to be maintained and guaranteed in the Gambia, justice cannot be placed on the political alter in favor of Yahya Jammeh. By holding him to account, a deterrent message will be sent out to any other African President who might want to use the same shenanigans choosing to “change their minds” when defeated in elections.

Zimbabwe’s “Bondnotes” crisis: The questions that now need to be taken to Afreximbank and Aliko Dangote’s doors

13 Oct

Date: 13/10/2016

To: Dr. Benedict Okey Oramah (https://afreximbank.com/dr-benedict-okey-oramah-president/): President: African Export – Import Bank (Afreximbank) 72 (B) El-Maahad El-Eshteraky Street – Heliopolis, Cairo 11341, Egypt

Re: Request for information on the Afreximbank $200 million loan offered to Zimbabwe and subsequent cancellation

The above matter refers.

Allow us to introduce ourselves. We are Zimbabweans deeply concerned about your recent dealings with the Government of Zimbabwe led by one President Robert Mugabe. We write to you in peace and we would like you and your institution to lend us an attentive ear. Our apologies if any of our language might seem disparaging. Be assured Sir, that we do not intend to do so. Anyway, we will get into the details of the reasons we are writing you.

Firstly, we are informed through feedback meetings held with ourselves and the Zimbabwe Reserve Bank Governor, Dr. John Panonetsa Mangudya as well as other public pronouncements by the Zimbabwe Minister of Finance, Mr. Patrick Chinamasa that you have agreed to loan the Zimbabwean government USD$200 million. The details of the loan arrangements remain hidden and classified but we are told that the money will be used to secure an equal value of 200 million so called Bondnotes that will effectively become the new trading currency in Zimbabwe.

Secondly, we would like to note that we have asked the Zimbabwe government on several occasions through letters, public meetings, and social media and in person but we have failed to get any satisfactory answers about the conditions of this loan. Instead we have been told that the information is confidential and will be treated as such between yourselves and the Government of Zimbabwe. If you go onto your Afreximbank twitter account, or generally on twitter you will notice how your bank has become so (un)popular in Zimbabwe and internationally because of this USD $200 million loan to Zimbabwe. Several Zimbabweans have written to your bank on social media and they have not received any responses from yourselves. Fair and fine, you and the Government of Zimbabwe might refuse to respond but we would like to set a few issues clear with your bank before your bank relaxes and believes that all is well with regards this loan to ZimbabweWe are of the view that your bank has misdirected itself and gone against its Mission Statement and rather is abusing the “profit oriented” approach to its business and utterly disregarded the “socially responsible financial investment institution” that you describe yourselves as by awarding this loan to the Zimbabwe government. It is in our humble view irresponsible of Afreximbank knowing fully well and having seen on international media the resistance to the said Bond Notes that you continue to be quiet and not respond to Zimbabweans’ concerns. We are now of the firm view that your bank is only interested in profit making and will do so at any cost. However, we the people of Zimbabwe refuse that position and are making it clear to you now!

We would like to warn you that you are entering into a bad investment deal by lending this current Zimbabwe government such an amount of money. You can be rest assured that we will not be sitting idle while our country is auctioned away by this government and allow this our generation and our children to be saddled with President Mugabe’s ill- informed debts funded by institutions like yours. We are Zimbabweans and we know what we are talking about! You can save us the trouble of trying to explain any legal niceties about international treaties and so on. We are fully aware of the implications. However, we would like to warn you that we will when the times comes, scrutinize each and every loan that this government has borrowed in the last 5 years with Afreximbank. If indeed we will find any loans ill – gotten and not having been used wisely we will certainly refuse and recommend that any new Zimbabwe government to dishonor such loans.

Your bank and its shareholders cannot purport not to know the socio – political and economic situation in Zimbabwe at the present moment. Definitely, your regional office based at Eastgate Mall in Harare must have briefed you and continues to do so on the state of affairs in Zimbabwe. We are of the firm belief that Afreximbank and its shareholders are acting in no less than criminal and exploitative ways to get Zimbabwe hooked onto bad loans in the name of assisting the Government.

In addition and to our dismay, we are fully aware that some of your shareholders and Aliko Dangote in particular who we greatly respect as a progressive African brother and father is also unwittingly trying to benefit from this sorry situation unethically. We know that Mr. Dangote acquired a substantial amount of shareholding on 30 May 2016 in Afreximbank and thus has keen interests in how the bank performs. As you and ourselves know Mr. Dangote has to make investments all over Africa and he has been making these overtures in Zimbabwe as well. Is it a coincidence as well that at the same time that he is making inroads with his Dangote Group in Zimbabwe your bank is also making unbridled offers to bail out the Zimbabwe government financially. Could it be that, your Afreximbank or even Mr. Dangote himself is preparing a red carpet for his businesses in Zimbabwe by giving the economy a false sense of liquidity? Unfortunately, we will give you free advice and note that your bank is making or might have already made a wrong move that will cost you dearly by giving Zimbabwe this loan.

Mr. Oramah Sir, you might wonder and be less amused by this letter and our actions. However, we have to let you know that we cannot allow anymore this country, this Zimbabwe, the land of our forefathers, our fathers, ours and our future children to be continuously run down by unwise decisions which border on criminality, senselessness and pure selfishness. This means therefore that we have to guard our country from such bad decisions and deals as the ones the Government of Zimbabwe is making with your bank now. We respectfully ask you to reconsider and immediately halt any financial assistance to the current Zimbabwe Government until us as Zimbabweans have sorted out our internal problems. We believe strongly that by your continued purported efforts to assist this government you are indirectly funding our misery, torture and desecration of our country by the current Government of Zimbabwe.

Our demands are quite simple and very clear. Afreximbank must be accountable to the peoples of Africa where the bank invests. In this case it is the people of Zimbabwe. We have rights and freedoms to access information on deals conducted by our government and external parties. Zimbabwe has serious problems with freedoms of expression and access to government information. Your bank cannot be found to be aiding and abetting such manipulation of peoples’ right. Your bank cannot purport to be oblivious of a situation as is obtaining in Zimbabwe and continue to hold your bank in high esteem. We need information from Afreximbank on what kind of deal you have reached with the Government of Zimbabwe. In addition, we need to know what the interest rates are, how long the loan will be for and other related information. Furthermore, we implore you to do the right thing and withdraw this USD $200 million from your client – The Government of Zimbabwe. The purpose for which they have asked the money is not in sync with what the Zimbabwean people want. It is more destructive and will take our country back to the days of strife and hunger that was marked by hyperinflation running into millions. The Bondnotes are just another back door way of the Zimbabwe government to reintroduce the local currency. We do not necessarily have any problems in having our own currency but you must understand as a financial person that the current situation in Zimbabwe does not allow that.

We will be waiting to hear from you and your bank Sir. In the event that we do not hear from yourselves in reasonable time which we will allow at two weeks from the date of this letter, we the people of Zimbabwe will definitely be calling on your offices in Harare; Cairo, Lagos, Nairobi and Abidjan to demand a response by any means necessary.

Sincerely

We the people of Zimbabwe.

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