Ken Mufuka: Letter from America – end of the road

The Supreme Court dismissed the case against Jestina Mukoko on the grounds that the state had violated her human rights, a matter which the state did not contest, because the state agents are very proud of their record of torture and inhuman treatment. To dispute the charges would have tarnished their record.
THE most generous interpretation of the governing elite is that of a ruling class made up of stalwart nationalists with sacrificial experience in the liberation war. In order to make sure that Zimbabwe would never be a colony again, these stalwarts were allowed some liberties, namely freedom from prosecution for common infractions. This gave them security of tenure to prosecute the revolution to its fullest.
This style of government first reared its head with the Sandura Commission when Minister Frederick Shava was sprung from prison, rehabilitated and later rewarded with an ambassadorship.
My estimate is that there are 5,000 such stalwarts, who then formed a mafia type monopolistic fee-collecting cabal. If the truth be known, these Mafioso get away with duty free goods, fly on Air Zimbabwe free of charge, pad their portfolios so that one tenth of their expenditures are allocated to travel expenses, can buy Jeep Cherokees from government departments at U$900 a piece, own “grab-farms and equipment,’’ do not pay tolls, have government parking stickers that allow them to park on prohibited spaces, do not declare their incomes to Internal Revenue, receive state scholarships for their children, and the list is endless.
But they have now reached the end of the road. Like vampires, they have drunk the blood out of the economy, and the population has become wiser. They hide their money under their pillows, or keep it in Botswana bank accounts.
After examining more than fifty case studies of this Mafioso, I came to the conclusion that something horrible happened during the war; the indoctrination that concluded that missionaries, colonialists and the white people were parts of one body, each practicing a separate gift, but put together making the colonial whole stronger. The effect was that the fighters were liberated from a sense of right and wrong, the powerful prevailed, and the weaker were swallowed. In short, there is a unique sense of shamelessness and entitlement among these Mafioso.Advertisement

I have always argued that Happison Muchechetere, the suspended Chief Executive of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, will probably be found not guilty of any crime. He is the face of this shameless generation. Minister Supa Mandiwanzira described Muchechetere’s salary and monthly emoluments in the following words:
“In the meeting, some of the information that came out is quite shocking. The chief executive earns U$27,000 plus (per month). Over and above that, he earns U$3,000 allowances for housing, U$ 2, 500 another allowance, U$3,500 housing allowance (maintenance) U$3,000 for home entertainment, unlimited business entertainment allowance, the corporation m must pay off his mortgage facility, must build him durawall, must build an entertainment center at his premises and we think in the context of reducing expenses and expenditure of the organization these things must be looked at.”
Since Muchechetere did not write his own check, and since these emoluments were approved by a Mafioso board of directors, I cannot see any illegal action on his part. The Board members were each paid $100,000 per year in addition to other allowances, hotel fees, travel allowances and interest loan fees.
My emphasis is on the shamelessness of this Mafioso. Two examples will suffice. The ZBC was to retire Muchechetere’s personal mortgage while at the same time providing him with housing allowance and housing maintenance fees in excess of U$12,000. That is definitely double dipping. Any lawyer who drew up such a contract should have his license reviewed because this is a case of gross linguistic malfeasance, charging for the same service by calling that service by three different names and hoping that customers were befuddled.
“Workers representatives who were part of this meeting were shocked by these numbers and they complained bitterly that the disparity between management salaries and workers were not only shocking but appalling,” said report on Muchechetere’s salary. But the issue is deeper than that. Workers earning U$200 per month had not been paid for more than six months. There is no evidence that Brother Muchechetere ever showed any remorse or sense of betrayal. That is my thesis; this is a shameless generation that masquerades as stalwart revolutionaries.
Air Zimbabwe saga
The Air Zimbabwe saga should be placed in the general context that 1,300 workers in Gweru City have not been paid for 13 months. The sum amounts to U$3 million or more. By going on strike, the mayor threatens to strike them off the register and engage new employees. At Air Zimbabwe, while there are 4 serviceable air planes, there are 100 pilots on the employment register. Any passengers on the Victoria Falls–Harare route must cope with late flights, rude service, planes that belch smoke and fire from their engines and of course the wise one must say their prayer, “Now lay me down to sleep, should I die before I arrive at my destination.”
With this background, two officers, Chief Executive Peter Chikumba, and Grace Pfumbidzayi, Company Secretary were sentenced to 10 years in prison for insurance fraud. The case involved canceling an effective insurance policy of 125,000 Euros per year and adopting a new policy for 300,000 Euros per quarter. In one case, they pocketed 5.8 million Euros and in another they pocketed U$142, 300.  The government of Zimbabwe has offered to carry a total bail-out package of U$300 million even as we speak. The sums involved were so huge, the airline was in financial stress, but the Mafioso continued without the slightest hint of regret.
The activities of these two came to light after their protector; Vice President Joice Mujuru fell out of favour with government. What our readers could have missed is the “great cry” (kuchema kunopisa tsitsi ndekwenherera) by Supreme Sister Pfumbidzayi after she was sentenced. Her cry was that “everything I did, I did in good faith.” I believe the Sister. The implication is that she was told to sign certain papers, and assured that “it would be alright.” A sum of U$10 million was involved over several years, and more than one Mafioso went home smiling an evil smile.
She did not expect to be locked up in a jailhouse. The Mafioso are like the German gottadamarung (the monster that eats its own tail until it dies). Everything is collapsing around them, but they in fact intensify their efforts. Seven years earlier, a 5 ton electrical generator had disappeared from the airport premises, and the Deputy Fire Chief was falsely accused. In a judgement that came after a three-year suspension from duty, the Court believed that only a person of a higher rank, possibly that of Minister, could have transported the generator from the airport, without interference from the police. The case against the Fire Chief was dismissed.
The question then arises, why didn’t anybody inform the police if such an event occurred? The answer lies in the ability of the Mafioso to cause “somebody to disappear.” I came upon this discovery quite by accident. Whenever my day of departure from my homeland arrives, my tribesmen all gather at the airport, giving the impression that I am a personage of some significance even in Jerusalem. The elders instruct the younger persons to be on the look-out, to assure their eyes (maumoona here nemeso enyu kuti akwira ndege?) that I have embarked onto the airplane. It later dawned on me that since I was a writer, the tribesmen were anxious that I do not disappear between the departure lounge and the tarmac.
Jestina Mukoko
While the case of Jestina Mukoko is a cause celebre, its hallmarks are that it was probably made up by the Mafioso. The aim is never to convict the accused in a court of law, but to detain the subject, beat him (her) up and sometimes even cause his death. Jestina was accused of recruiting one Ricardo Hwasheni in 2008 for the purpose of overthrowing the government.
The Supreme Court dismissed the case against Jestina on the grounds that the state had violated her human rights, a matter which the state did not contest, because the state agents are very proud of their record of torture and inhuman treatment. To dispute the charges would have tarnished their record. The Court judgement reads in part:
“She was made to sit on a chair. When the blindfold was removed she saw the same people who had interrogated her earlier in the day. (She) was ordered to lift up her legs and place her feet on the edge of a table.
“Two men struck the soles of her feet repeatedly with severe force using the same objects used to beat her in the morning. She said her feet felt very sore. She could hardly walk the following day.
One of the men brought gravel and put it on the floor to form mounds. She was told to pull her dress above her knees level and kneel on the gravel. The interrogation began and continued with her in that position.”
These occurrences are everyday events. The result is that many people are witnesses to the looting of the country’s assets on a daily basis, but they say – if you want to live, learn to shut your mouth. Thus the populace are in greater danger of falling foul of the state agents than are the Mafioso, who are part of the state apparatus. We are the state- Le etat cest moi (Louis XIV of France.)
The end of the road comes with this announcement from the Statistics Office. More than 4,600 companies have shut down their doors since 2011, leaving 55, 400 workers unemployed. When the gottadamarung has eaten the last portion of its tail, it falls down, weakened by loss of blood, and awaits its final fate. I think the end of the road is near.