AROUND this time last year, Grace Mugabe stood in front of the nation and asked: “What would I possibly want from (then vice-president Emmerson) Mnangagwa?”
It is a question that has puzzled the entire nation for a year. In various hotels, seminars were held. In our universities, Dr Grace’s fellow PhD holders wrote lengthy academic papers on the vexing question. Prophets held all-night prayers and took offerings, “seeking God’s face” on the spiritual aspect of such a national question.
Finally, last week, the nation was answered. What Grace wanted from Mnangagwa all along was not complicated at all.
It was not political power. It was not the vice-presidency of Zanu PF. It was something as simple as a ride in a private jet, preferably on a gleaming new Gulfstream 650 from Qatar.
“VaMnangagwa, you comforted me,” Grace said at her mom’s funeral. “If it had to take my mother’s death for us to go back to our old friendship, so be it.”
There was widespread relief across the nation at the news. The national question of what Grace wanted from Mnangagwa had finally been answered.
Surely, this is cause for celebration. One can totally understand why the Mugabes have been sulking for a year. We all know President Mnangagwa is slow to act, but even for him, it is disappointing that all along he didn’t simply ask Grace what she wanted from him.
It was not long ago that the Mugabes summoned the press to their mansion to complain about what a bad man Mnangagwa was. Because he was denying them their basic rights, like a new mansion or two, Mugabe promised to vote for Nelson Chamisa. Now he recognises Mnangagwa’s victory and wants all of us to stand behind our new leader.
Clearly, there is no beef that a ride on a private jet cannot fix. Especially a jet with an in-flight entertainment centre, where one can catch up on one’s favourite Telemundo drama without noise from the engines, seeing as the plane has the latest cabin noise suppression technology. And the massage seats come in very helpful, seeing as one’s back has been a little sore lately, causing one to fly off to Singapore for a back rub or two.
Meanwhile, news that Grace was not yet rich was a shock to the entire nation. Grace revealed to the country that the Gulfstream 650 was “my dream aircraft”. She then further revealed what has left the entire country stunned: “If I ever become rich, I will buy one just like it.”
Across the country, people are shocked to learn that the Mugabes were not already rich. When one buys a diamond ring costing over a million US dollars, reportedly owns a dozen farms, runs an award-winning dairy business, holds real estate in the best addresses from Dubai to South Africa, goes on shopping sprees in the best malls of the Gulf, and lives on a 10-hectare estate inside a large mansion, albeit one with a leaky roof, people obviously assume one is already rich.
Clearly not. Wrong. People need to raise their standards in this country. What’s a mansion and a handful of farms and one or two shopping trips? That’s just plain poverty. One only gets rich when they actually own a private jet.
And still on standards, Muckraker hopes that Zimbabweans were listening as the former president delivered a powerful presentation on what a functional health system looks like.
Most Zimbabweans have no idea what a good health care system is, seeing as they have never experienced it in their lives. So it is always important to listen when those among us who have enjoyed the services of hospitals in other countries speak.
According to Mugabe, the reason he picked Singapore as his preferred provider of basic health care is that hospitals there actually work. They have amazing and unusual things in their hospitals: things like doctors, drugs and equipment.
“They have specialists there for every ailment,” Mugabe told his audience, who must have gasped with wonder at such information.
Unlike here, Mugabe went on, the hospitals in Singapore are also well-equipped.
The nation must have wondered why, after his 37 years in power, Mugabe’s own country did not have things as amazing as enough doctors in hospitals, and clinics that have drugs and bandages and painkillers. Had they asked him, he would either have told them it was due to sanctions, before wondering why they too were unable to travel to Singapore like everyone else. Preferably in a Gulfstream 650, as one does.
Speaking of health, Muckraker and the entire nation were filled to the gills with confidence as we all watched new Health minister Obadiah Moyo dive straight into the job of pretending to know what he is doing. It is a long tradition in government to do a job for which you are not qualified.
In fact, the ability to pretend to be qualified, is itself a qualification of top government jobs.
Which is why nobody was surprised as Moyo, in his first public outing as Health minister, blamed the Harare City Council alone for the latest outbreak of cholera in the country. Who would have imagined that the government itself has no role in the mess?
Maybe we are all expected to forget the 2013 cancelation of debts owed to the council, the years of government interference in council affairs and the general collapse of the economy under Zanu PF that has made it impossible for urban councils to do basic things like import water treatment chemicals and refuse trucks.
Come to think of it, the very fact that we have to import chemicals that we used to make, and even trucks that used to be assembled locally, is some coincidence that cannot be blamed on government. Right?
Moyo declared the cholera crisis a national disaster. He must not stop there. He must go further and simply declare the entire government a state of disaster.
Maybe then, Mnangagwa will improve on his maths and realise he can buy provide clean water with the money he uses to buy himself a Mercedes-Benz Pullman Guard limousine and 4X4s for his minions.
But these are times when whole ministers cut ribbons at boreholes in urban areas, clapping hands and calling it progress and development. Now that we have a DJ as a Health minister — the man used to be a club legend known as DJ Biscuit — he can provide the music at the next auspicious official launch of the latest borehole in Budiriro.
At least that’s one job for which Dr Oh-Bad-Idea Moyo’s qualifications cannot be questioned.
Toxic Jona’s occasional loud bowel movements
Poor Jonathan Moyo. One day you are strutting about, presenting yourself to the world as the smartest guy in the room. The next day, your only attempts at relevance are little more than occasional loud bowel movements from an unknown hovel somewhere on the eastern verges of the continent.
In such stressful conditions, one often forgets what one has already said. In June, rumours swirled that Dr Amai wanted to be the vice-president of the opposition coalition. Toxic Jona, amid cheering and amplification from his media hangers-on, wasted little time dismissing the silly speculation. He tweeted that this was all “Junta PF propaganda”. Fast-forward a few weeks, and it’s all gone pear-shaped over there in G40 paradise.
Now, much like the Biblical Jonah, who was jettisoned from the ship to Tarshish, because the superstitious sailors suspected he was the cause of the turbulent sea, the sinking G40 ship — with its hull as leaky as the roof over its patriarch’s mansion — has thrown our Jona into the rough waters to desperately try save itself.
Now Jona tells us that what he recently told us was all “Junta PF propaganda” was in fact true. Grace did, in fact, want to be a vice-president of the opposition alliance.
As he tells it, Jona had warned Grace against her “divisive push to be seconded by the NPF (National Patriotic Front) as a vice-president in what had been proposed as a grand national union of opposition forces ahead of the July 30 election”.
Nothing jogs your memory like being cast out into the water.