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The SATURDAY COLUMN: Maybe Zuma was right: We should not think like Africans

14 Sep, 2019 - 00:09 0 Views
The SATURDAY COLUMN: Maybe Zuma was right: We should not think like Africans Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo

The Herald

ZACC’s broom sweeping mindsets clean
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has, indeed, come with a bang, and might as well be that Holy Grail that we had been waiting for all along, what with this African mindset of ours that is known for scuttling progress through corruption, avarice and selfishness.

From local authorities, Government departments, through parastatals to the private sector; everywhere, corruption has crouched at the horizon of our hope as a nation. The announcement by the no-nonsense ZACC chairperson, Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo, that the net is closing in on corrupt council officials is sweet music to our ears.

Councils have run aground because of selfishness. Pensioners have been made poorer because of avarice; employees have been taken to the cleaners as a result of corruption, incompetence and individualism.

Arrests have been made, and it is our humble submission that more culprits are brought to book, not only in councils, but across the board as they say. It is disheartening that we seem to have become such a callous lot; or maybe we have always been like that.

It has become our nature to milk heifers, non-calving cows, or milking those in milk dry. We just do not care about the consequences of our actions.

It is none of our business what happens to the starving calves; we would rather incite them to mutiny. Blaming it all on phantom enemies.

It reminds us of what former South African President Jacob Zuma once said about our thinking. Perchance, he was right after all when he said: “We should not think like Africans”.

It boggles the mind why Africa is so poor, yet its belly is full of mineral resources. Sometimes it gets curious, when we have to extend a begging bowl to foreigners, who go to town about every quid they give us as aid, notwithstanding the severe conditions that comes with it.

You may call us names, vilify us even, but we remain as patriotic and Zimbabwean, like you gentle citizens. We take pride in being African, but there seems to be a certain way that we think, or do not think, which is deflating.

Councils take us for granted; reaping us willy-nilly; charging us for non-existent services, with us doing nothing. Powerless as we seem to be, we simply watch. Could this be the price to pay for being African? No! Being an African means being objective, for it is this that builds, not sugaring over the devil, simply because he comes donning our own skin.

It is on record that the richest man that ever lived was King Mansa Musa 1, who ruled over the Malian Empire, which covered modern day Ghana, Timbuktu and Mali, whose fortune at his death in 1331, by today’s standards was US$400 billion, yet Mali and Ghana are considered to be among the poorest countries in the world.

A shrewd businessman, King Mansa Musa 1 made his fortune through trading in gold and salt. On what happened to all that wealth, your guess is as good as ours. What only stands today are the enormous mosques he built. Everything else has since shrunk, as only two generations after his death, his heirs were unable to wade off war and invading conquerors.

They could not hold on to their inheritance; such massive wealth.

Curiously, Meyer Rothschild (born 1744), whose wealth at death by today’s standards stood at US$350 billion, left a lingering legacy. His wealth was divided among hundreds of descendants, whose businesses encompass mining, banks, asset management, farming, wine and charities. The Rothschild family is considered the richest family on earth today.

John D. Rockefeller, the richest American that ever lived, left a fortune of about US$340 billion in today’s dollars when he died in 1937, and his legacy still lives today.

If an African could accumulate such wealth by 1331, what really happened to our wealth? Colonisation, you may rightly say, robbed us of our vast mineral resources. It is true, colonisation did us in. But are we not flogging a dead horse here? We fear that quadruped will remain unfeeling, no matter how much we may whip it.

Among us is a novel class that has been created either by default or by design, pretending to be pundits in business, but whose form of investment is stupefying. Instead of creating wealth, which is beneficial to the entire nation, this elite class is driven by individualism to invest in durable consumer goods like real estate and cars; plenty of them luxury jalopies.

Through ill-gotten moolah, they indulge themselves in such affluence that shames lordship. In all honesty, what does one need 20, 30 or 40 houses and 30, 50 or 100 residential and commercial stands for? A commercial stand that remains a stand years on, does not serve any other purpose than self-aggrandisement, which is the bane of Africa today.

We are not a people of yesterday, but we are still to see a businessman worth his saline, who invests so much in personal houses and cars. There are a lot of companies in desperate need of funds to keep them afloat, yet there are some among us, who can splash money like confetti at a wedding.

We do not need to think about foreign investors before we look at ourselves in the mirror and accept who we are. We should change our mindsets first. Maybe Zuma was right, “We should not think like Africans.”

We are not blind to the fact that there are some within the African flock, who have done a lot for our continent through their selfless investments. We take pride in them, and wish them well. But a lot more can still be done if all of us choose to think in other terms.

We believe ZACC’s non-partisan broom will go to every nook and sweep this African mindset, which weighs us down, clean.

Take a deserved rest Norman, but . . .

Norman Mapeza

So, Norman Mapeza decided to call time on his marriage with FC Platinum, ending a glittering five-year reign during which he helped the club win two league titles and a host of other silverware.

Not only did he win silverware, but he introduced certain dimensions of sleek passing, entertaining football that was more refreshing to the eye in a league that had been drenched in mediocrity.

The Zvishavane community owe him big time for the way he transformed FC Platinum, and delivered on their lofty ambitions, which saw club owners Mimosa Mine investing a fortune just for the success of the team. The pinnacle of their success under Mapeza was undoubtedly when they won back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018, becoming the first team from outside Harare to achieve the feat in over 50 years.

Reaching the group stage of the 2018 CAF Champions League for the first time last year was the icing on the cake. But with such an enduring legacy, why did Mapeza leave the club?

The announcement was made just 48-hours before the club plunged into the CAF Champions League first round qualifier against Mozambique’s UD Songo at Barbourfields today.

Obviously, this was going to throw the preparations into disarray, and naturally impact on the players’ psychology. Needless to say, Pure Platinum Play are also well positioned to win this year’s domestic title, and there is a big chance the latest developments could throw their ambitions off balance.

And Mapeza says he just wants to take a break? Really? We smell a rat! Of course, there was a mutual agreement to end the love-hate relationship, but something ugly might have been happening off the pitch. Whatever could have transpired behind the scenes, we may not know for now, but we bet our last cent this was never a happy ending to Mapeza’s glittering career in Zvishavane.

Many things were happening behind the scenes. Mapeza was bitter, the management apparently was also fed up with his violent tantrums. Reportedly, the last straw that broke the camel’s back was the decision by the authorities to hire and fire players without consulting him as the man in charge of the team, and also the lack of transparency over the Champions League proceeds.

FC Platinum are known for their excellence in professionalism, but the leadership could have been offside, if that was the case. But that could just have been a glimpse into the ugly things happening behind the scenes, veiled largely by the club’s success on the pitch in the last five years.

Besides his documented arrogance, it has been reported that Mapeza had problems controlling his temper. That is probably his biggest weakness.

Remember the run-ins with players, supporters, his bosses at FC Platinum, and even media personnel. Even the club chairman Evans Mtombeni at some point was not spared the rage.

Of course he is good, but it seems the prima donna attitude had gotten into nether ends of Mapeza’s head.

A simple misunderstanding degenerated into a physical contest. What followed next? The coach swore and charged like a wounded bull, and threatened to mete out instant justice on his superior in the presence of the other bosses. He was only restrained by other officials. What a bad sight it was!

The gaffer had run-ins with his players as well, and at one time he assaulted the team’s vice-captain Gift Bello in full glare of the public and the media.

The defender was only saved from further harm by the team’s marshals. Some journalists, who dared cross his path, have also been at the receiving end of his fury. Maybe it was the exhaustion, the pressure he found himself under after working non-stop for five years, and transforming the team into champions.

You did an incredible job. Take a deserved rest Norman!

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