Chinamasa’s Ministry the pot of gold for internet censure

 

By Tariro Senderayi

Lets us not be fooled into getting carried away with trivialities. The cabinet reshuffle was orchestrated by his Excellency who has been the chief orchestrator of many things successful since the 1980 administration. The new Ministry of Cyber Security, Threats and Mitigation might just be a blessing that Zanu-PF has been waiting for to descend on regime change agents and activists who have been a painful thorn on the ruling party’s heel for some time. Let us view the ministry and minister in charge of the ministry from the vantage point of what Zanu-PF stands to gain.

As we make fun of Chinamasa’s apparent ‘demotion’ from Minster of Finance to that of a new ministry we should keep in mind that Chinamasa is one of the sharpest legal minds that Zanu-PF has. His expertise has been utilised before in the Ministry of Justice and recently in the Ministry of Finance, now it is time to delve into unchartered waters for the comrade.

Cybersecurity and regularisation of the cyberspace is a global phenomenon as we are in the technological era and Zimbabwe has apparently laced up for the task. The cyberspace has begun to have a bearing on the politics of the day and to leave that lid open would entail some serious repercussions for the Government especially with the youth bulge that seems forgotten.

Some jurisdictions have seen the cybersecurity ministry working hand in glove with intelligence services. Thus, this is a potentially powerful ministry which if utilised right can pass of as an extension of the intelligence ministry of which whose underestimation will be at the detriment of many. It is a public secret that if he spins this one right he will obviously liaise with security apparatus.

The wording alone of the new Ministry…Cyber Security, Threats and Mitigation is self-explanatory. There is the Cyber Crime Bill in waiting which just needs the right nudge for it to take full effect. Maybe this might just be that nudge. If Chinamasa manipulates this ministry for its supposed intended purpose this would mean that issues of cyber surveillance come into the fold and we are all aware of what that means.

Thus, such a reshuffle should not waste much time in making Chinamasa the brunt of bad jokes but instead should be scrutinised as to the effects of such an appointment. Knowing the man that he is, Chinamasa is not one to pass up a good challenge and is probably gloating at the jokes being spewed in the halls and corridors of Twitter and Facebook. Let us be guided accordingly because this ministry did not just fall into his lap from heaven…it is the product of precise orchestration by the master of orchestrations.

Mnangagwa Saga Reveals Mugabe May be Over the Hill

 

By Wisdom Mumera

Frail, fickle and faded at 93 and married to a wife who thinks calling a spear by its name is always a virtue, Mugabe is no longer the calculated and scientific politician he once used to be.

This reality has been a long time coming and apparent but the Mnangagwa case has heightened the glow of the fact.

He now openly grapples, literally and figuratively, with troublesome allies; dries undergarment issues in the public and appears powerless to bring some modicum of controlled aggression to his spouse who has been stirring things at a speed faster than natural political evolution will advise.

His hasty remedy for a wheezing economy is reshuffling the deadwood that has led the country into the cesspool whilst a succession issue has been allowed to lengthen out into a mazy drama of sexual innuendo, conspiracy theories and blunt bashings of political and social etiquette.

His disciples, intent to prop his faded glory, contend he is pulling strings Zen-like somewhere in the shadows but shadows are most likely to bring sleep than conspiratorial actions for the President today.

His aura of invincibility is now more a historical collection of tales than a present accumulation of such acts.

Most of what he is today is either of two, hyped creations and nostalgias by his fanatics, or the empty fawning of vultures angling for bites whilst holding calendars.

Structurally his subordinates have taken to fighting each other with increased spontaneity and recklessness which dissolves the argument of strategized planning or his being the hidden benefactor of the playing piper.

Though seemingly binary, G40 against Lacoste, the fights out-number his need or reach.

They have become wild lunges that have no controlled centre and whose very premise is built on scenarios where he is absent from power.

The factional fights are arising from the hypothesis of Mugabe being out of power and the accompanying need to fill his position. That makes Mugabe as much a debris in the current as he is part of the movement of that wave.

He may have leeway to control certain things, by virtue of his being at the centre, but the fight is larger than him and is for those looking at a post-Mugabe era.

The President is today the living-audience of his own legacy and wealth being fought over and it’s an unenviable position for someone whose fanatical disciples would argue needs to be bequeathed the utmost respect and dignity on his path to destiny.

It’s an angle to the current factional fights that should chill the President in his moments of solitude away from podiums and populist statements that ‘I’m not going anywhere’.

Not just the West and opposition are pushing for his removal but his own allies have openly taken to heckling each other over a position he still occupies in a not so subtle way that says ‘you may have over and out-stayed your heroism’.

A hero for too long will die a mortal man since being human is the natural part of our being. The President has tried to live and die a hero for too long but he has obviously run out of heroic acts.

Presently his leap at heroic acts has come across as stiff, stilted and outdated. He is a hero from another era, caught in the glare of a new paradigm and failing to shift feet quicker.

The land reform program in its execution was an 80’s revolutionary gimmick that fell flat as an argument for black empowerment in an era where empowerment can be done cleanly and smartly without stealing irrigation pipes and vandalizing private property.

Indigenisation under a steaming blanket of 51% ownership from the blue, coated with i-don’t-care attitude towards anyone against, is also not just Castroan but suffocates the self faster and first than it does the perceived enemies.

His approach to the friendship with the Chinese has been the hallmark signal of the President’s expired heroism.

Wartime attachments from the liberation struggle have cemented a warped belief that sentimental love exists in politics such that the squint-eyed have syphoned diamonds, dumped second-rate goods and pilfered out US dollars whilst we are made to think they are the only friends we have.

In the while, the Chinese have also built a burgeoning trade with the US, our life-long ‘enemy’, reaching billions of dollars and developing into a world power in generally the same time it has taken us to trash every other potential we have.

How the President and his advisors fail to correlate that piece of data into a wholesome picture of what 21st-century politics is like staggering.

As the figurehead, the President has made his party into a mobile but backwards-looking movement constantly hitting against walls in its quest to forge ahead by feeding old gripes.

The results have been mega-deals that are non-existent, parastatals that are walled by grass, corrupt allies reshuffled around, and nepotistic tendencies that build family dynasties and destroy the nation.

Like an old village grandfather of reputed power and ability, Mugabe still has a few tricks to play but even his own party has moved past him. That’s why they are fighting amongst themselves whilst he sits atop the great white chair unscathed and lavished with excessive praise.

To both sides, he is now the past.

No Progress, no improvement: 2018 Elections likely to replicate same challenges

 

By Watmore Makokoba

With only a few months to go before the 2018 general elections, there is no significant change that guarantees a paradigm shift in reforms and governance, signifying a high possibility that the forthcoming elections will be yet another flaw and sham.

According to the Election Barometer launched by the Election Resource Centre in Harare last week, the year under review – June 2016 to August 2017 witnessed little progress in the reform of the assessed frameworks.

“2013 election was held amidst several challenges including unavailability of voters’ roll, administrative challenges with special voting, political intolerance, hate speech, inadequate funding, excessive ballot papers restricted access to public media by the opposition, and limited voter education among others.

However, myriad of problems still exist concerning the administrative, political and legislative framework within which elections are held” the Barometer noted.

“With approximately twelve (12) months before the 2018 harmonized elections, the country is now in the pre-election period of the electoral cycle,

“There are certain prerequisites that must be undertaken ahead of an election, fundamental to these processes are planning, information, training and registration. Under planning, ZEC as the Electoral Management Body (EMB) must consider issues such as election budgeting and funding, procurement, election timeliness and recruitment of staff,

The barometer further noted that “Trust in ZEC remains average at 50%, according to Round 7 of Afrobarometer findings in 2017,

Previous surveys by ERC and Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI) pointed to 48% level of trust gaining by a paltry 2% margin a year before a general election does not suffice for an overall credibility and integrity rating,

“A key element of integrity is oversight and enforcement, there are no or limited legal frameworks for oversight of the voter registration process, the six by-elections under review witnessed limited voter registration process and there were no accredited observers for the process”.

Concurring with the Election Barometer, the Zimbabwe Human rights Association (ZimRights) noted that the pace at which voter registration has been happening was slow at some of the registration centres to an extent that people would wait the whole day.

“In some cases, those frustrated at the registration exercise slow pace ended up going back home, such experiences of the BVR process by prospective registrants can result in apathy. The ability to register as a voter is a crucial step to the realization of the constitutional right to vote,

“Some of the registration centres did not have signage to aid people to easily find them”, says ZimRights.

In an effort to deal with the proof of residence requirement, many people are preferring to use the VR 1 and VR 9 forms provided by ZEC and have a commissioner of oaths to stamp them, however, in many cases, the commissioner of oaths was not present to assist people. Some registration centres did not have the stationery and people had to photocopy them on their own and pay the commissioner of oaths.

The Election Reform Barometer was published from the pre-election to the post-electoral period of the election cycle focusing on the specific election period measured against international principles and electoral law. The latest issue assesses the pre-election period using four indicators – voter registration, voter education, access to media and political environment.

 

ZIM HIP-HOP HEADS CRAFT WAYS TO STAY IN THE GAME

 

By Tafadzwa Muranganwa

Local MCs are devising many ways to keep the popular genre alive and make it pay at the same time.

On Saturday, Shoko Festival hosted the first ever Zim Hip Hop summit jointly organised by Jibilika to discuss pertinent issues affecting the industry and it was graced by many celebrated hip-hop heads, promoters among many other stakeholders.

Tehn Diamond conceded that hip-hop artists were not upping their game to make the genre a career.

“We are not working enough and we are not building businesses,” he alluded.

Controversial Stunner (real name Desmond Chideme), who has been in the game for a while also reiterated the need for his fellow hip-hop artists to continue releasing albums and performing despite the adversities.

“Honestly speaking mates, we just need to continue to make music and perform even if it means performing for a few people. Consistency will build up to something   I guarantee you that,” the award-winning artist said.

Revered hip-hop producer Kudakwashe  Musasiwa popularly known as Begotten Son urged rappers to circumvent ways to make money rather than playing the blame-game.

“Artistes have to find ways to make money rather than crying foul of various obstacles. Let’s take for example when Junior Brown released the smash song ‘Tongogara’ and used Whatsapp to sell the song which amassed a whopping 5 thousand units,” said Begotten Son.

CBZ bank represented by its senior manager, group marketing, Joel Gombera extended a helping hand to hip-hop heads by proposing to facilitate a business workshop for them so that they can find means to monetize their craft.

“I may not be a hip-hop enthusiast but as CBZ we will be eager to facilitate a workshop for you so that you can build businesses out of your works,” said Gombera much to the appreciation of artists who attended the one-day convention.

Another major talking point was the need for lyricism with relevance to entice the local audience

Visiting South African hip-hop artiste Siyabonga “Slikour” Metane formerly with Skwatta Camp said most African MCs have a tendency to mimic  American hip-hop artists.

“The problem with a lot of   African rappers is that they want to sound and mirror-like American rappers,” bemoaned Slikour.

Comedian Boss Kedha, who is a die-hard fan of hip-hop also shared the same sentiments that MCs should make lyrics that are not devoid of the everyday lives people are living and many participants attested to that saying that is the main reason why the genre is playing second fiddle to Zimdancehall.

 

Pic credit: ZIMBUZZ

A Paranoid Govt Responds In Limited Manner to Economic Crisis

 

By Wisdom Mumera

 

As the long expected economic meltdown suddenly exploded this week with the tripling of prices, panic buying of basic goods,  heightening of the three-tier price system and an increased scarcity of cash the government has responded in the only way that it knows, using force and intimidation.

Two days after the cataclysmic meltdown began, on Sunday 24 September #ThisFlag frontman Pastor Evan Mawarire was arrested and charged with inciting the public to commit public violence after he posted a Facebook video.

“The shortages have begun to happen. Things in Zimbabwe have become very urgent. We’ve begun to experience what we experienced in 2008. The shortages have begun to happen. In a normal nation, people shouldn’t be panicking at all. We are supposed to be at peace in our country”, he says in the video.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has also come out with veiled threats.

According to Ignatius Chombo, “spreading alarm and despondency is not an expression of democracy nor is it media freedom. It is a criminal offence and is therefore punishable.

“In the circumstances, Government is closely monitoring the press and social media reports in question with a view to taking decisive action to deal a telling blow to perpetrators of the crime”, he said.

On Monday some alleged ZANU youths posted a message calling for demonstrations against retailers and wholesalers whom they accused of increasing prices.

“As ZANU youths, we are tired of detractors, those agents of doom who want to hike prices of goods whenever we are towards elections. We have resolved that, if prices do not normalize by Tuesday 26 September we will take action against manufacturers and wholesalers and all those retailers who are hiking prices”, it said.

To them the whole economic issue is fueled by the paranoia often exhibited by their party leadership, seeing the West and political undertones in everything.

The trend is very worrying as more economically aware individuals have previously warned of the implosion that we are now experiencing.

In 2015 The Economist gave a sobering warning to Zimbabwe.

“The collection of value-added tax has slumped by 8%. Corporate tax receipts have fallen sharply, too, as have sales of tobacco, Zimbabwe’s main export crop.

“This crisis is particularly acute largely because the government’s responses to each previous one have narrowed its options. In the 1990s, when faced with a debt crisis, Mr Mugabe simply defaulted. In the 2000s, when he ran out of money, he simply printed more. When that sparked hyperinflation he ditched Zimbabwe’s currency in favour of the dollar.

“Now Zimbabwe has run out of road: it can neither borrow money nor print it. By surrendering its currency it has lost not just control over monetary policy but also an important shock-absorber”, it said.

Industrialist, Kumbirai Katsande, a former president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), warned that the economic situation was “very difficult”.

“(The economy) needs major initiatives on a massive scale to turn it around in the short term; it’s quite a task because the situation on the ground is that we have approximately 300 000 graduates coming out of school each year and we are faced with increasing company closures with many workers losing jobs.

We need solutions around these realities. We need hospitals to function. We need the economy to function. I don’t see this happening this year. It’s likely to be worse this year,” said Katsande.

Today we are realising the warnings and instead of going around giving out threats government should be working to allay public fears and reassuring the market.

It should be seeking for ways to bring back economic sanity to a country whose rot has been coming for a long time.