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And now the chickens are surely coming home to roost
Notebook, Financial Gazette (Zimbabwe)
June 03, 2004

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When CZ and all other level-headed Zimbos were saying that our much-vaunted land reform exercise was being done in a chaotic manner, we were insulted into silence. We were told that we were agents of imperialist forces who were bent on retarding the country's progress. In fact, much more vulgar things were said about anyone who dared point out that something was not being done right in this so-called agrarian reform programme.

But we cannot help but wonder what is now taking place as we begin to hear strident allegations and even more trenchant counter-allegations of rot in the way the land was not only expropriated, but also parcelled out to the so-called land-hungry, the majority of whom surprisingly never took up the offers!

We are now getting to know that in the haste and confusion that ensued, some pieces of land were allocated to more than one "new farmer" and now these people are fighting each other over ownership of these pieces of land.

We are told of stories where some governors, ministers and other government officials got shamefully rich by extorting money from besieged white commercial farmers in exchange for fake letters showing that the farms had been de-listed.

And we were told of some war veterans who, like one Cde Nhamo in the Marondera area, were going around demanding money from people in return for land allocations that were never made official.

And also of chefs who would occupy more than one farm and superimpose their relatives on already allocated farms . . . and so on and so on.

And now the truth is beginning to come out . . . that the land reform was done in a haphazard manner and this explains the current land fights, big and small, all over the country.

It was good that members of Transparency International Zimbabwe - for the sake of transparency - decided to show John Makumbe, their founder chairman, the door. This was long overdue because at TI-Z, Makumbe was beginning to be something of what the Great Uncle is to Zimbabwe.

People just get tired and fed up having one and the same tired person leading a public organisation as if it is out of a private arrangement with God. Moreso if the person in question begins to forget that he or she is in public office and starts running the organisation like their grandmother's granary!

There are so many organisations in this country that are being run like they are owned by the respective individuals who founded them . . . so secretively and possessively, the way some men run their small houses! Yet they accuse the Great Uncle of being the only dictator in this country!

What makes this even more pervasive is that these organisations are run in a cartel-like manner. Of the more than 40 civic groups in Zimbabwe, the leadership is almost one and the same. The same people sit on this and that board and they are the same people who approach the same donors on behalf of "different" organisations - hence they have some form of monopoly over donors!

More often than not, the membership is one and the same. You attend an NCA meeting, you meet the same people, you attend a Crisis in Zimbabwe meeting, you meeting the same faces, you attend a ZESN meeting, the same faces greet you, same as when you attend a ZIMCET, PEC, HOZA or even a Zvakwana meeting!

So if the membership is the same, is there really any need to have so many of these civics? It would be wiser to have more topics and fewer organisations if the leadership and the membership were one and the same!

And curiously, donors are keen to bankroll these dubious or not-so-transparent organisations!

It looks like our Namibian student, Sam Nujoma, has learnt a lot from Harare. See how he is handling his own country's succession issue?

Although he appears to have bowed to pressure to step down, it looks like he has made sure that he remains the de-facto life president of that country. He had to do everything in his power to ensure that he doesn't hand the reins to any person powerful or treacherous enough to behave like Zambia's Levy Mwanawasa.

Just on the eve of SWAPO's elections to choose his successor, he sacked Hidipo Hamutenya, his foreign minister, and started campaigning for his poodle, Lands Minister Hifikepunye Pohamba, whom he is sure he can casually twist and turn this and that way, the way one does to a sausage on a log fire!

This is surely not Nujoma's idea, for it smells like a loan from the Great Uncle. We hope this will work because if the trick boomerangs, our circle of good friends will grow smaller! Good luck.

It was quite good to hear our one and only electronic medium last weekend quoting the leader of the National Association of Freelance Journalists (NAFJ), Cde Joe Kwaramba. It was good to know that he and his nebulous outfit still exist.

But it was rather shocking to discover that the NAFJ owner was being quoted praising the police for arresting wayward commuter omnibus operators who were overcharging and shortchanging the public.

But surprisingly, we don't get any statements from the fellow when journalists are needlessly arrested by the regime, when Andy Moyse and Chengetai Zvauya are set free by the Supreme Court, when a newspaper is threatened with closure under the notorious AIPPA!

We don't hear him on our radio commenting on the plight of ZBC workers, some of whom go for months without being paid, or when the cash-strapped broadcaster sacks some staff for demanding salary arrears outstanding for months!

We begin to wonder whether Cde Kwaramba is still heading a journalists' association or he is now a spokesman of a residents' association. Surely, it would be taking the love for publicity too far for one to go to the point of praising the police for doing what they are paid to do. Besides, we don't really see any reason why one has to praise the police for taking time off from their laziness and corruption to do their work!

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