@JAMWANDA2 ON SATURDAY – Pomona Project: All thunder, lightning flashes, no strike!
Pomona stink in newsrooms
Illiterate newspapers are being pummelled back and forth by buffeted Mafume and his clueless Triple C councillors. It is all thunder, blinding flashes but no strike. All it takes is very little intellect and sweat-free investigation to get simple facts on this little body-sound in a muffling blanket.
The idea of a waste treatment plant belongs to Triple C, both before and after the split. The idea of siting it at Pomona was Triple C’s. Including donating the land to the concerned company. The idea of a plant built under BOOT — Build, Own, Operate and Transfer terms — again was a Triple C one, whatever vicissitudes visited the party afterwards.
The choice of the plant builder — some European company — is again a Triple C one. Above all, the idea to then take this key infrastructural project to Government, through the Local Government Ministry, was a Triple C one. Once the last step happened, Cabinet was seized with this referral project, which it escalated through an inter-ministerial technical committee to weigh options and make recommendations to Cabinet.
At that stage, and to all intents and purposes, the project outgrew Harare City Council. It is now a national project, meaning Harare City Council cannot make or break it, fullstop. All this prattle about Mafume cancelling the deal is mere warming of idle jaws through inane jabber, and for political posturing.
Through that useless posturing, Triple C hopes that Mafume will help it scrub its soiled and smelly hinds as a misgoverning authority in all our towns and cities it captured through some impulsive, urban protest vote which has now turned into some proverbial biting of the nose to spite the face on the part of the urban voter.
Ordering garbage trucks!
One would have hoped for common sense and literacy in the coverage and treatment of this never-never story. Of course one got neither.
To imagine a municipality that never collects garbage, but leaves garbage to rot and pile to mini-mountainous heights, can ever threaten to deny the wastage treatment plant garbage it never collects anyway, is to hope for a pony from a mule.
As a matter of detail, the whole deal and package includes appropriate trucks for garbage collection, and a garbage collection system which the Triple C municipality has, over the years, shown no capacity to even comprehend, let alone execute.
As I write, the same municipality has just brought in “garbage” trucks — no pun intended — which even shame road contractors and their earthmoving contraptions!
The lot has no clue on differences between an earth-carting truck and a garbage-collecting truck, which is why they continue give us more and more garbage, in more ways than waste!
But then, who reads?
Literacy in the sense that municipality records are all there for any less-than-diligent cub reporter to read. Including the record that Harare City Council — with shifty Mafume in the chair — gave the contractor Pomona land on which the plant is set to be sited. Literacy?
Not in our newsrooms where title leaders can give you something like: ZANU-PF IS INTOLERANT, PERIOD! Never has journalism gone to curs… ooops… to newsmen and women in Zimbabwe! Why would one abuse majestic village curs whose bark is more tolerable than…er…media intolerance…period?
To courage, to courage, mighty soldiers!
I had a chuckle yesterday to see Trevor’s NewsDay run with a front-page story titled, “Chamisa lacks Tsvangirai’s Courage.” I quickly checked for attribution and, lo and behold, got to know the story was Walter Mzembi’s! Courage? Kikikiki!
Some day we shall disclose where and how Mzembi’s flight was aborted in 2017, and with what dashing courage he was carted back into Harare, legs self-folded, during those heady days.
Talking about Mzembi, he has tried to sell to a gullible media the yarn that he was at the centre of post-November 2017 “rapprochement” efforts between the late President Mugabe and current President Mnangagwa.
Which rapprochement he claims failed! Really? When all bullets stop whizzing, and all guns are back in the armoury, men of real courage dart out self-panegyrising mock-heroic narratives sure to leave the unborn or gullible spellbound. If peace is the enemy of valorous fighters, passage of holy time begets tissue tigers whose mighty roar breaks mighty twigs.
I didn’t give you my instalment last week. My body ached from a long flight from afar. Fairness demands that I deal with the subject I would have shared last week, through that instalment.
Thankfully, it is not perishable, in fact still quite topical. Political NGOs and those who created them — Western interests, governments and western embassies here — have realised they have lost the fight against the PVO Bill.
The Government delayed its passage not because it hesitated, but because the general consensus was that in its original form, the Bill was too supple for the mischief it is meant to cure.
It has since been strengthened, tightened, which is why all political NGOs, led by Peter Mutasa’s so-called Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, are in frenetic flight, busily relocating their offices and accounts to different jurisdictions within our neighbourhood.
They think that way they are beyond reach, without realising incumbency creates strange siblings.
I thought this was such an elementary lesson in politics. But then, with the likes of Peter Mutasa and the dull Masaraure who can’t stitch even the simplest construction in the English language he stubbornly uses in spite of himself, what does one expect?
Both don’t even know political NGOs are getting a beating worldwide, with the latest batch having been beaten in Ortega’s Nicaragua. A new world order is emerging.
What would happen to pity?
All sorts of subterfuges and fawning arguments were summoned, in the hope of killing this needful piece of legislation whose time was long past.
The first take was that the PVO Bill would stop humanitarian aid to the needy. The idea was to enlist the support of the conscience industry in order to dignify an impious cause.
Government moved in deftly and swiftly to allay fears of churches. And to lay bare the iniquity behind the claimed goodness.
If anything, Government intimated to holy fathers, so much money had been raised and “eaten” in the name of the poor whose social condition those same political NGOs never wanted or want ameliorated.
As William Blake cynically asked, what would happen to pity if the poor were no longer amongst us? What would happen to “chibag”, to use local parlance?
Of course what Blake cynically expressed in such packed aphorism, Dickens would set out epigrammatically in Hard Times. Two characters happened to muse and pontificate on the parable of The Good Samaritan. After a long, thoughtful exchange, one of them declared: the Good Samaritan was a Bad Economist! How so, asked his pal. Here was a pitiable victim of highway robbery, but also a captive market which the uneconomic Good Samaritan chose to forego.
Molested and stripped bare, he needed payable care and equally payable boarding. Yet the non-economic Samaritan allowed both to go begging, in a bout of compassion, leaving himself no penny wiser, certainly many pounds foolish! “Our” political NGOs are very good economists: when they see a dead body, they do not shed a funereal tear; rather, they see unmet demand by way of coffin business.
They are, after all, the last ones to let the poor down! Literally. Like latter-day Unoka, when they see a hungry man’s mouth, they see the folly of not eating donor money! Or Triple C which lays claim to all bodies in the morgue, all to prove Zanu-PF kills!
Millions from NGOs
Then there was a second ruse: to say the exchequer would lose millions, nay billions, in foreign exchange brought into the country by these political NGOs! Laughter is rarely triggered by cynicism, ladies and gentlemen.
To imagine the American Embassy sets out to create Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition in order to profit Professor Mthuli Ncube’s coffers, simply beggars belief!
Why would America requite Zimbabwe via inflows into some little political NGO like the often abused ZIMRIGHTS, when she can repair Zimbabwe a thousand-times over simply through a costless rescinding of ZDERA?
We might be progeny of benighted Africans of 19th Century western narratives; yet we have since evolved and do now think, often better than these overweening, imperious children of a better god.
Back to days of Charles Darwin
The third and last ruse, played in the dying days of this lost war was to plead thousands of jobs which stood to be lost in the event the political NGOs were shut, and this in an economy and season of high unemployment.
How compassionate! Yet one key refrain from the same political NGOs was that Zanu-PF — the party they blame for creating conditions for their own provenance as political NGOs — had “killed” millions of jobs through its unenlightened policies and ruinous land policies.
How so when political NGOs recompensed all this loss by arising in those job-creating circumstances? Surely as in Europe, political NGOs were foremost employers and development actors? One feels insulted and infantilised by such arguments which harken to days of Charles Darwin.
Mhofela versus Pigou
My time is up. So, too, is The Herald’s space. Let me put in one more, a parting one. There was some vicious exchange between my fellow Mhofu, @Mhofu_mhofela and one @PiersPigou, just a few days ago.
Piers Pigou of the notorious post-Cold War outfit called ICG, International Crisis Group, vehemently maintained on our behalf as Zimbabweans that we needed to allow for the diaspora vote in the forthcoming elections.
Obviously he had gotten his cue from Cde Jacob Mudenda, Speaker of our House of Assembly who intimated as much to some political NGO at its fat-stipend giving seminar.
Speaking so out of turn
That detonated Mhofu who couldn’t understand why the Speaker of the august House where laws are made, an advocate who knows or should know that our courts have pronounced themselves on the same matter, and a whole member of the ruling Party’s supreme administrative body, the Politburo, would vent his personal viewpoint completely out of sync with his party’s, outside of the ruling party’s policy debating chambers of which he is a part.
He spared no expletives for the Speaker whose out-of-turn intervention before a hostile body had given hostage to fortune.
At which point our white political warden — Piers Pigou — jumped into the fray, firmly on the side of the errant Speaker. At which point all hell broke loose.
So badly mauled was this solicitous Pigou, so given to mourning more than the owners of the corpse, that I couldn’t see him getting back into the Zimbabwean ring, ever again.
Except we are talking about ICG, another political NGO and a veritable feeding trough for Europe’s unemployed and unemployable! Like the proverbial baboon that returns to the very field which cost it a limb, he will limp back, damn the consequences.
Hoof in the mouth
Then you have Trevor’s NewsDay leader titled, “Why is the Speaker being gagged?”
After a long-winded, poorly expressed argument, the thoughtful leader page helpfully added: “In fact, Mudenda [the Speaker] was actually forewarning his party colleagues that the ruling party needs to address these issues [of diaspora vote] pronto if it wants to be re-elected for another term.”
In our donkey world, we call this a whole hoof in the mouth. Let me bray home; women brewers have just offloaded beery dregs.