HARARE – President Robert Mugabe: Head of State and Government, and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
Rating 1 out of 10
As expected, the private media had a tough time assessing the performance of the president of the Republic, as there was not a single positive in 2014 that worked in the long-ruling nonagenarian’s favour.
It didn’t matter where the team looked — socially, politically and economically — the picture was a decidedly grim one all round. An analyst whose opinion was canvassed by the evaluating team said bluntly that if the president had been CEO of a private company, shareholders would have long given him “the old heave-ho” (the sack).
Indeed, with the country virtually on its knees after 34 long years of Mugabe’s rule, or is it misrule, it really was difficult not awarding him a fat zero. In the end he was arguably lucky to escape with the single point he garnered. Panellists pointed out to the fact that as Head of State and Government, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, as lickspittle State media love to refer to him, the president has absolute power and control of the levers of State.
To that extent, there is absolutely no excuse for him when the country misfires as badly as it is doing once again, as he has the power to impact on the lives of Zimbabweans positively.
Panellists buttressed their viewpoints using his recent brutal purge of 16 of his minions, including former Vice President Joice Mujuru, after he accused all of them, at least officially, of performing below a so-called “expected standard”.
This raised much tragic mirth as no one could say what “standard” the president stands for given his dismal track record in power.
In addition, the evaluation team felt that what Mugabe had done was akin to the actions of a builder who blames his tools for his shoddy work. After all, the sacked minions that he appointed a mere 12 months ago could hardly be said to be either the most corrupt or most useless in his bloated team.
The discussions on Mugabe’s performance or lack thereof were long and painful, particularly given the historical context that he had inherited a fairly robust economy that was not just a breadbasket for the region, but one which was also invariably described as the “Jewel of Africa” at independence in 1980.
Today, Zimbabwe is sadly, and officially, the second worst performing country in the world — and the butt of sick jokes on the continent — with its citizens now more famous for evading crocodiles in the Limpopo River as they desperately head south in search of jobs than using their “famed” education back home: all thanks to Comrade Mugabe!
A rather mean opposition figure described the president as “an accomplished undertaker”, as everything he touched or superintended over inevitably died, so he said. And it was difficult to debunk this theory.
Kembo Mohadi: Minister of Home Affairs
The panellists felt that Mohadi needed to deal decisively with corruption that has manifested itself within organs such as the traffic police, including their complete failure to genuinely investigate corruption by politicians.
In addition, it was felt that he also needed to deal with human rights abuses by the police, which remain unacceptably high. Cases of dissenting voices, including opposition figures, being beaten and incarcerated willy-nilly are still all too common and Mohadi has never condemned this.
And needless to say, the Registrar-General’s office, which falls under his control, is still as chaotic as it has been for the past donkey years. Even the most basic service there requires both impossible patience and a good few dollars to grease the palms of lazy and corrupt bureaucrats for things to happen!
David Parirenyatwa: Minister of Health and Child Care
To his slight defence, the minister is hamstrung by a severe lack of funding, with hospitals grossly understaffed, nurses struggling to get jobs and qualified doctors earning a paltry $283 a month.
It would appear that his ultimate boss, Mugabe, as well as Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, would rather spend more money on the military, for example, rather than on citizens’ health — all this when there is no visible external enemy that is threatening Zimbabwe’s sovereignty.
But then again, what has the minister done about this and has he even ever visited some of our hospitals where children and pregnant women are dying en masse?
Let us also remember that the last time Parirenyatwa was minister of Health, at least 4 000 people needlessly died of cholera under his watch. And the sad reality is that the health delivery system in 2014 has not improved an iota since then, and for that Parirenyatwa must take a huge chunk of the blame.
Obert Mpofu: Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development
The president’s “Most Obedient Son” started his tenure by hiring new boards for parastatals under his watch, but there still seems no end in sight for the problems at Air Zimbabwe, National Railways of Zimbabwe and the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe — which are all key to Zimbabwe ticking again someday.
While the Plumtree-Bulawayo-Mutare road is getting a facelift, there also seems to be no progress at all in upgrading many of the major highways in Zimbabwe — particularly the Harare-Beitbridge road. This critical route is lagging far behind, yet it is the single most important conduit for commerce for our landlocked country.
In addition, it is very difficult to understand where all the money that is collected from toll gates is going. Perhaps it is time that the minister tells us what is really happening.
Mike Bimha: Minister of Industry and Commerce
Let us be honest, Bimha has been a monumental failure. What with companies closing down daily and people losing jobs left, right and centre. And he has not even been visible in all this.
The steel making giant, New Zim Steel, remains in comatose and the minister has misled the country on several occasions when he promised that the company, co-owned by government and Indian firm Essar, would commence operations from as early as way back in March.
We are yet to feel the impact of the deal that has the potential of giving the country’s economy the jump-start it desperately needs.
Major companies continue to teeter on the brink and the minister should be cautioning his partners at the ministry of Indigenisation against a disastrous one-size-fits-all policy, because the consequences of this ill-conceived misadventure have been disastrous, notwithstanding the silly spin and propaganda.
Walter Chidhakwa: Minister of Mines and Mining Development
Chidhakwa started well and seemed to be on the right track but as long as mining does not bring the earnings the nation expects, then he is destined to fail. The much hyped beneficiation of diamonds also remains a pipe-dream and that is a failure on Chidhakwa’s part.
The minister’s decision to sell diamonds in Antwerp this year also created fertile ground for the country to lose its precious gems to not only disgruntled ex-commercial farmers — who lost their farms controversially a decade ago — but also to bitter investors who were elbowed out of the country by our tyrannical rulers.
A case in point is when about $45 million in diamond revenue was seized in September by a South African company in Belgium, after it had been granted an interim order against the cash-strapped government over a cancelled platinum concession.
Douglas Mombeshora: Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement
It is clear that the government’s bluster about “one man one farm” is utter trash. Most of the ruling Zanu PF bigwigs are unequivocally multiple farm owners directly and indirectly.
Worse still, many of them are now euphemistically referred to as “cellphone” farmers as they never ever set foot on their terribly under-utilised farms. It is disgraceful.
The country thus waits anxiously for the long-promised land audit which will hopefully rid us of these cellphone farmers and restore productivity on much of the country’s land that is currently lying idle.
On the slightly positive side, the minister should be commended for finally introducing A1 settlement permits which provide security to farmers and can also be used as collateral at banks.
Ignatius Chombo: Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Housing
This heartless bigwig wanted to bring back a second Murambatsvina and was only stopped in his tracks by the timely intervention of controversial First Lady Grace Mugabe — even if this was for a wrong reason.
Regrettably, and before the arrival of Grace on the political scene, scores of people had lost their properties.
According to the minister the houses destroyed were illegal and yet the High Court had ordered him to stop the “illegal” destructions which rendered dozens of people homeless.
As if that was not enough, there are no public works to talk about, no housing projects and the dream housing for all has been deferred indefinitely.
It really boggles the mind as to what “Comrade” Chombo is being paid to do and why His Excellency, “Comrade” Mugabe, has deemed him worthy of remaining in Cabinet. Just walk in any suburbs and see the sorry and dilapidated infrastructure, and you will understand why our panel calls had no kind words for him.
Rivulets of sewage, anthills of rotting garbage and empty taps are now the norm under his watch. He is as gigantic flop!
Jonathan Moyo: Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services
Love him or hate him, as many people seem to do, no one can accuse him of being lazy or lacking in ideas — even if some of his ideas are very controversial to say the least.
The sharp-tongued Minister was one of a few Cabinet ministers who scored a decent mark and he gained much acclaim for his ferocious and correct fight against public sector graft earlier in the year.
Let’s also give Jonathan his dues, he valiantly fought a politically difficult, lone and ultimately successful war against the country’s draconian Criminal Defamations laws — and also bravely spoke against the arrest of journalists from the Daily News and other publications.
However, Moyo lost the plot somewhat towards the end of the year and allowed the State media to brutally savage expelled Vice President Joice Mujuru.
For weeks on end, Mujuru was front page news in the State media, mostly being bashed over non-existent scandals and unsubstantiated allegations.
And towards the end of the year, Moyo seemingly abandoned his duties and concentrated on helping controversial First lady Grace Mugabe annihilate Mujuru. He also remained mum when Grace blatantly and disgracefully lied that Mujuru had a 10 percent shareholding in the country’s leading daily newspaper, the Daily News.
Stembiso Nyoni: Minister of Small to Medium Enterprises
She is in charge of a crucial ministry, especially considering that only 20 percent, (according to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions) of the country’s population is formally employed.
But nothing positive has emanated from her offices, with the country’s pavements now crammed daily with stressed out vendors. Even here, her ministry has not even thought that it might be helpful to build these honest but struggling vendors some stalls.
Saviour Kasukuwere: Minister of Environment, Water and Climate
Apart from his visit to Hwange National Park to have photos of him taken in front of poisoned elephants, the minister has done absolutely nothing worth writing about.
He was also sent to this ministry after seemingly making a mess of the Ministry of Indigenisation where he wasted time agitating commerce and industry, and engaging in unnecessary succession schemes.
Sydney Sekeramayi: Minister of Defence
This most amiable man is sadly always non-existent and seems to have no clue about how the Ministry should be run. Even rating him appeared to be a sheer waste of time.
Emmerson Mnangagwa: Minister of Justice now also Vice President
Apart from campaigning against the death sentence, Mnangagwa has done nothing to realign the country’s laws with the new Constitution.
Although human rights are entrenched in the Constitution, abuses continue unabated across the country.
In addition, suspects at remand prisons across the country are failing to attend court, with prison officers consistently claiming that they neither have the transport nor the fuel to do so.
We can only surmise that Ngwena, as Mnangagwa is known, probably spent more time angling for power, instead of attending to the needs of his ministry.
Oppah Muchinguri: Formerly Minister of Women Affairs
She was an absolute disaster for women in Zimbabwe as she spent all her time dethroning another woman, Mujuru, with Grace, who might soon take over her former ministry.
To her utter disgrace, she joined in the mindless and personal bashing of Mujuru, including shameful allegations that the former VP had tried to seduce a hired spy using a revealing mini-skirt.
Clearly “Comrade” Muchinguri has no clue whatsoever about women’s issues and what is important with regards to assisting women. Instead, she seemingly spent all her time fighting the very women she was supposed to protect.
Thank God that her nonagenarian benefactor has now moved her to another ministry, the Ministry of Higher Education, where students have now also rightly said she is neither qualified nor welcome to lead.
Simbarashe Mumbengegwi: Minister of Foreign Affairs
Like Sekeramayi, he has become part of the furniture in Cabinet. He has failed dismally to mend relations between Zimbabwe and the West, even though he is well-known for his penchant for travelling extensively on his own and with Mugabe. All to no avail, of course.