“Sadza hoboo! Nyama hoboooo! Rimai!” (There is plenty of food! Plenty of beer! Work!) Is one of the late Safirio Madzikatire’s best catch phrases.
To those who do not know who Safirio Madzikatire or more commonly known as Mukadota was; he was a comedian and musician who made many Zimbabweans laugh in the decades before and after independence.
In the above quotation, Mukadota, the town-wise, was encouraging his naïve and gullible “humwe” (gathering of neighbours to assist in some chore requiring many hands in return for food and drink) to work harder before breaking up for their food and beer. When the workers finally take the break, they discover there is very little food and beer!
“Vanida kukorera pano!” (Do they want to become obese at mine expense!) Is the cheeky reply to those complaining they are hungry and thirsty!
President Mnangagwa and his coup junta’s clarion call “Zimbabwe is open for business!” has all the essential ingredients of Mukadota’s humwe sketch.
1) Mukadota needed people to weed his field – ED needs cash and investment, plenty of both, to kick start Zimbabwe’s very sick economy after 38 years of gross mismanagement and corruption. Under Mugabe Zimbabwe had earned a reputation as a pariah state ruled by thugs, big spenders who did not like paying their debts. This reputation had driven lenders and investors alike out of the country. From the day ED was sworn in as the new president, he committed himself to attract the investors and lender back.
2) Town-wise Mukadota was being deceitful, encouraged the workers to work even harder on the promise there was plenty of food and beer – the junta promised all the removal of Mugabe and “the criminal elements who had captured the state” had completely transformed Zanu PF and Zimbabwe from the dictatorship to a democracy. The regime has talked of “new era, new Zimbabwe and new dispensation”.
3) The setting is pregnant with theatrical drama, Mukadota encourages his neighbours to work harder on the promise of plenty of food; that is unheard of! If, for nothing else, this junta regime will be known for its passion for spin. The “new Zimbabwe” self-promotion has its roots with the very first act of the coup. “This is not a coup,” Lt General Sibisiso Moyo in the small hours of the morning of 15 November 2017, “it is a military assisted transition”.
4) Whereas Mukadota deceived his naïve and gullible neighbours, who humoured him be playing along, even they were not going to be fooled again and again; ED is not that lucky. The lenders and investors were not so easily fooled by all this whitewashing. The investors knew the Zanu PF dictatorship was a colossal monster with many players including President Mnangagwa and the junta members; the monster was not going to be cleansed squeaky clean by the simple act of removing Mugabe and a few G40 thugs! Indeed, many investors must have raised their eye-brows at the clumsy attempt to deceive their by insisting the coup was not a coup.
5) Mukadota had his neighbours in the field working and it was only after the work was done that they learned he had conned them. Mnangagwa promised the coup change Zimbabwe and the investors asked him to prove it – hold free, fair and credible elections. The regime’s failure to implement even one meaningful reform has proven to the whole world that Zimbabwe has not changed one bit.
6) “Zimbabwe is open for business!” cry has failed to attract any business because until the country embrace democratic change, investors and lenders will continue to shy away from the country. No amount of spin will ever change that economic and political reality!
7) Like all good performers Madzikatire dressed, walked and talked to suit the town-wise Mukadota. As President Mnangagwa and his high-powered entourage of 10 Minister, 88 CEOs and many hangers-on all attired in their colourful scarfs they looked like Southern Ground hornbills with rainbow wattle instead of the usual red.
With the national economy in serious trouble; unemployment at 90%, ¾ of the people living on US$1.00 a day, etc. the nation is desperate for economic recovery. We need a cure to the country’s many economic ills. Instead of economic doctors with the statoscopes round their necks all we have is spin doctors, human size hornbills, squawking “Zimbabwe is open for business!” The shrewd investors can see for themselves that is a lie, they can see the country is still a pariah state ruled by thugs!
“Zimbabwe is open for business!” Back from China with mega, mega deals!