Sunday, 13 June 2010

Tsvangirai: From east without wisdom.

Prime Minister: From East without wisdom

I AM happy that News Day is out, the latest new kid on the street (I never said street kid!).

We welcome the new child to the family of ideas.

Let her thrive as per her worth. And I welcome this new baby from Trevor in the true spirit of a plural press. I mean plural press which I repeatedly tell people cannot be a matter of numbers, a numerical magnitude.

Plural press is a matter of perspective or distinct points of view in competition. Picture a choir obviously with many choristers. They sing the same song, to the same conductor. They cannot be plural, surely. They are many throats striving to produce one melody, or many breaths uniformly belched, fouling the air in one direction.

The lyrics are one, the notes the same, tones and pitches admittedly different, but all modulated to blend to one melodic outcome.

Propaganda choristers

From a Third Worlder, CNN, BBC, France 24 and the rest are mere tones in one propaganda melody from the imperial West. They blend; they harmonise, all following one trajectory, to one end: subjugation of the other. Same stories, same weather, same footage, same clock and same perspective: imperious. These have given us more channels, but never more media, more ideas, more voices. It is Goebbels perfected, Goebbels on a planetary scale. And of course in the kindergarten are little broadcasters such as SABC Africa, with its ventriloqual dullness. But pit all this against Russia’s Russia Today (RT). Or against China’s CCTV9. Iran’s Press TV, then you begin to have plurality. In Iran’s Press TV, Russia’s RT and China’s CCTV9, the world’s dissidents, the world’s nonconformists, have regained a voice, a platform.

Suckling from a poisonous adder

We have in this country, publishers who have suckled from the politician’s poisonous adder.

They think to have a plural media is not to have The Herald at all. They think to have a plural media is not to have ZBC at all. Both must drown and only then is a media Canaan reached. The one must come; the other must drown, disappear. We have publishers who think to be independent is to be hostile to Zanu (PF), hostile to Government. Publishers who think to fornicate with MDC, fall madly in love with the never-never government MDC will put together someday nowhere, is the acme of independence. Yet to hate Zanu (PF), and to love MDC-T, is to obey the same impulse.

It is to be in the arms of the same forces who contest power, lose it, win it, or even share it, as has happened now. It is not to found an independent media; it is not to build a plural media. Rather, it is to be shaped by the first estate into its perfect appendage; a mere footnote of power, a lace on power’s soiled petticoat.

Judith and her crew

And the auguries are not very good for our publishers. The meeting, which took place a little over a week ago upon the Prime Minister’s return from Korea, is worrisome. Set in Pretoria, organised by Judith Todd and Rylander, attended by the Prime Minister and the likes of Basildon Peta, the gathering celebrated the registration of five new titles, not as genuflection to values of press freedom, but as an expression of relief that MDC-T had made yet another difficult step towards laying infrastructure for the next elections. Mari takaruka, came the refrain as politicians and minions alike, paid tribute to Sweden, America, Germany and Holland for availing money for MDC-T’s media projects, ahead of elections. There is lots of money to throw about and publishers, beware!

A fight on waves

We will see lots of media-related projects for the MDC-T, as that party’s programme of using governmental processes to further its campaign goals pans out. To this party, all the Commissions are a transfer of its implementing machinery from Harvest House to Government. They must come under it and hence frantic efforts to subdue them. The next polls will be fought on the waves, which is why Econet, and its card-carrying owner, Strive Masiyiwa, are so critical to the MDC-T. We wait for a new propaganda service, which MDC-T seeks to unveil on June 14, using Masiyiwa’s network, through a toll-free facility. Thank God cellular licenses are up for renewal and Government has to deal with all manner of mischief.

A spate so public

This week saw a loud conflict between the Prime Minister and President Mugabe’s spokesman, George Charamba. The conflict is over the Prime Minister’s recent trip to South Korea, during which he claimed to have signed a BIPPA with the host country. The spokesperson says no, nothing of that sort happened. The Prime Minister says no, the spokesperson is undermining his Office, in the process threatening disciplinary action. Charamba will not retract, and dares the Prime Minister.


Let us lay the facts.

BIPPAS are about relations between two countries intent on an investment relationship. They bind two governments, two peoples really. They are internationally enforced, which is what makes them serious documents. They have to be ratified by Parliament. Governments take BIPPAS very seriously. In our case, they are an inter-ministerial affair, with Economic Planning taking the lead. The idea is to make sure the country is not prejudiced.

The lead Ministry is expected to draw up broad principles which are discussed by a Committee of Cabinet on Legislation called CCL. These principles subsequently guide the Attorney General as he prepares a draft BIPPA document, working closely with the lead ministry. The draft goes back to CCL for another scrutiny and possible changes. It is only when the CCL is satisfied that the matter is booked with the Chief Secretary for tabling in Cabinet.

Borrowed powers, borrowed robes

Cabinet will in turn look at the draft which is presented by chairman of CCL, Justice Minister Chinamasa. More changes, or even rejection, until Cabinet is satisfied. Only then does the President feel empowered to grant signing powers to the lead Minister, in this case Minister Mangoma. I have simplified complex process, but this helps give a feel of the general drift of things. The responsible Minister will only get signing powers from the President who wields them by dint of the Constitution. No minister wields such powers inherently. They devolve from the President who remains solely responsible for their use. In terms of our laws, the Prime Minister has no such powers.

The tortoise that shat on a flying bird

Relating all this to the matter on hand, Cabinet should have affirmed a draft document from CCL on a probable BIPPA with South Korea, on the strength of which the President would then have delegated signing powers to Minister Mangoma. And delegated authority cannot be further delegated by the immediate beneficiary to another. You cannot parcel out powers you do not own. It is that simple. Equally, you cannot delegate power upwards. A tortoise cannot drop dung on an eagle in flight. Minister Mangoma could not delegate delegated powers to another Minister – ordinary or prime. These are not his powers in the first place, and Minister Gorden Moyo — the Prime Minister’s killer-man — appears to be having difficulties in comprehending that elementary rule.

Flowing against gravity

And since the Prime Minister is the one who took the ill-fated decision to proceed with the signing ceremony, apparently against advice from Foreign Affairs through Ambassador Stuart Comberbach, it means Minister Mangoma is assumed to have delegated the President’s powers upwards, to his senior, who in turn poured down those same borrowed powers to another Minister, Professor Dzinotyiwei. I am surprised that after such giddy flight, there was still enough power left for him to finish writing his long surname! In theory the good professor would have used profoundly attenuated powers, powers badly fatigued by the long, tortuous road to him. Such powers have no spark, only trouble for the haver! Surely if the President knew about this assignment, he would have released Minister Mangoma to go and do the job, or alternatively, given powers of attorney to Minister Dzinotyiwei as a Minister of Government?

Where is the document?

But all this is to take matters to far, in fact to be too generous with a process so fraught, so drunk. Cabinet does not have before it any draft BIPPA document with South Korea. It may, some day, but presently there is no such document put before it by the Chief Secretary. That it is there at CCL level can only be a rumour to the President and Prime Minister, both of whom are not members of that Committee. Matters must come before them to exist. They haven’t. I fail to see Minister Moyo’s point when he asserts that the document came before CCL. It could have, for all we know. But so what? That does not make it a document of Government.

It makes it a document in Government. And there are many documents generated every single day in Government. In any case and quite logically, a committee of Cabinet is not Cabinet itself. Surely Honourable Moyo is profound enough to know that? If not, God help us!

What everybody knew

I repeat: the damn thing is not before Cabinet. Ask Honourable Chinamasa as has done I, Nhataniyere, the truly begotten son of dark Night! The Prime Minister knows that. Gorden Moyo knows that. Foreign Affairs dutifully reminded the Prime Minister about that. And at some point the Prime Minister appeared to have understood that.

Until a great happening took over and he chose — last minute — to go ahead with the mock signing ceremony, regardless. The Koreans knew that, as did our Honorary Consular General who did the dutiful. Their ambassador here knows that there is no documentation for a BIPPA between his country and my Zimbabwe. Still the Prime Minister went ahead, adding "zvimwe zvese tichazonozvigadzirisa kumusha." He knew perfectly well his actions we fraught with legal and procedural deficits. But like the proverbial fly, he chose to follow the corpse into the grave. See where he is now!

Renegotiating GPA by misdeeds

Yet his actions sought to bind this country and the Government he is a part of. The agreement touches on our strategic minerals, something South Korea wants. Yet the Prime Minister’s actions undermined the very Constitution he swore to uphold. He undermined the authority of the President, usurped his powers in fact. Apart from pretending to devolve powers he does not have, he called himself "head of Government", which he is not. His actions in South Korea amount to the first material step towards turning this self-adulatory appellation his obliging minions wrongly shower him with, into concrete, executive action at the expense of the President and the Constitution. It is an attempt to renegotiate the GPA and a new constitution by precedent-setting misdeeds! Actions calculated to place the man above Cabinet, to embolden him in intercepting documents still in the mill, documents well not before him.

Repairing life after burial

Let us situate this misbehaviour. Frankly, the problem is larger its portents too serious to be ignored. Firstly, this is the conduct of a man within striking distance of power, yet exhibiting such glib deference to the law and processes. He does not seem to know that this thing called government is a bundle of sensitive rules and procedures, the violation of which draws a line between democracy and dictatorship. Laws and procedures check power, while legitimising its exercise. And power is no toy. When a man proceeds to do the unlawful, the un-procedural, on the proviso that tichazvigadzira pasure, what stops him from condemning life in the hope of repairing it after burial?

Set roles, willy-nilly

Secondly, for quite some time and on a number of trips, the Prime Minister has donned the garb of Government, drawn resources of the State, only to chase matters that have nothing to do with the interests of the State. He did so twice in America; did so in Europe and has now done so again in South Korea. Don’t get me wrong.

The Prime Minister can chase any matter of interest to him, in line with the bundle of roles that make up his public personality.

He leads a party; he is a prime minister; he is a father, a lover and all. But each role comes with its own identity, resources and mandate. He is free to do anything as leader of his Party, his actions only drawing the concern of his Party members. But as a Government functionary, he is not free to do anything he pleases, his way and in his style.

He plays preordained roles, to rules that have to be obeyed, willy-nilly.

Dismissed at will, recalled at whim

As Prime Minister of this country, you do not draw Government resources, wear the authority of the State, only to undermine that same State you serve. The Prime Minister is in this shabby habit of summarily dismissing ambassadors of Zimbabwe from meetings with foreigners, meetings in which he purports to be pursuing interests of the State. He did that in Washington, in Europe and lately in South Korea. Our ambassadors are dismissed at will, recalled at whim, to serve a Prime Minister who does not seem to know when to be Prime Minister, when to be a leader of a political party and when to be a private citizen. And all these whimsical decisions are done in front of foreigners to whom these ambassadors present credentials, with whom these ambassadors transact inter-state business.

Now, tell me which State respects an ambassador who is sacked, reinstated, sacked, sacked, reinstated in one day by his Principals? A Prime Minister of this country humiliates his own ambassador until his host asks the whereabouts of that ambassador? A Prime Minister who commits his entire programme to some white American woman unknown to his Government? Can that be Government business? Why should it not be known by the envoy of Zimbabwe? Who follows up when the Prime Minister has gone back? And I am not talking of junior ambassadors at all. I am talking of men and women who are synonymous with diplomacy as we have known it since Independence. I challenge the Prime Minister to give this nation the value of his travels abroad.

The day Trudy ran the President

Not so with the President. Recently, he went to Senegal where MDC-M’s Trudy Stevenson is Zimbabwe’s ambassador. She not only shaped the President’s programme; she dictated where the President went, and with whom; determined what he ate, including eating in her home, from her pots. Why does the Prime Minister humiliate senior career diplomats, substituting them with foreigners or those small, inexperienced boys in his Office when he purports to be doing Government work? Is that not undermining Government, taking advantage of it in fact? Are principals going to meet over that? Is it any surprise that Carson can afford to abuse our Mapuranga on the day we mark Africa and her futures?

Angering MDC-T leader,

protecting office of PM

The Prime Minister is free to walk the world, sourcing funding for his cause. But he goes on such errands as the president of MDC-T, never as the Prime Minister of this country. He should never levy prime ministerial deference from us for errands that cut him out as a leader of a political party. We may not belong to his party, may not believe in his cause which has spawned so much suffering for the Zimbabwean people. It is only when he fulfils his role as Prime Minister of this country that we doff and defer to him. Not this. Not this, this his bad habit of seeking to augment his mandate, of seeking to renegotiate the GPA, of seeking to rewrite the Constitution through calculated misdeeds.

Unwise from the East

Frankly, the conduct of the Prime Minister in South Korea makes one wonder whether at all he went there on Government business.

The honorary degree he got from his Korean counterpart’s former university is his to have, his to enjoy. It does not relieve pressure from a struggling family living in Mbare. The one-student-per-year scholarship he got from the Koreans will, quite predictably, go to his party activists. It is not like the Presidential Programme that has educated thousands, including one of the Prime Minister’s own. The money he got there is going to his own party. It feeds not a single victim of the sanctions he asked for and got.

The strategy of using third nations to channel resources to his party is an American one. It is not Zimbabwean. Equally his role in checkmating China in Zimbabwe, in defeating Zimbabwe’s Look East policy using South Korea as a springboard, satisfies America and her ignoble global calculations. Zimbabwe profits nothing from it. And his search for a greater symbolism for his person helps his party, not Zimbabwe. Mister Prime Minister, those from the East usually came back wiser.



1 comment:

Orthodox Rastafari said...

I am Ras Jon and i am twenty eight and mexican american rastaman, and i love your blog i man support bro mugabe and his works of liberation iman love to go to zim someday, i man hope to link u and maybe we can do some works cause i man am working with many in zim as we speak.