Let’s state from the outset that we do not seek to disrespect the dead.
We also do not want to cause trauma and pain to the family of the late Charles Kuwaza, former chair of the State Procurement Board.
We are bound not only by the ethics of our trade but ubuntu also.
It would be reprehensible for us to speak ill of the dead or seek to cause pain to their families.
But then we are speaking of a controversial figure that Kuwaza was, and uncannily, his demise a fortnight ago was controversial.
We are sure the matter has yet to find rest.
However, who can forget one newspaper proclaiming that he had been executed “mafia-style”?
The Zimbabwe Independent told us that.
Kuwaza was facing corruption charges. The Independent said Kuwaza “was also locked in a bitter legal wrangle with the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) and the SPB over the ownership of cars and an upmarket house in Borrowdale where he was staying”.
“Investigations by the Zimbabwe Independent show that during his tenure as SPB boss, he could have stepped on the toes of senior Government officials and military commanders over money-spinning deals which he blocked.”
We do not begrudge the Independent for wanting a little drama.
At any rate, for a publication with, last time we checked, less than 2 percent of market share, needs lots of it especially after failing to particularly distinguish itself as a business weekly.
But it is not for us to disprove of its narrative.
We are not also inclined to push the view that he committed suicide which has also had significant subscription.
Yet it may be stated without fear or favour that Kuwaza was a man in trouble.
He was neck deep in trouble with his acts of commission at the SPB catching up with him.
For long he held out with a particular streak of arrogance that was surprising.
At times this arrogance appeared to suggest a troubled mental being.
In a word, for long he passed off as an untouchable and appeared to take his mastery of chess rather too far.
By the way, he was our contributor here and we are sure those who are into that kind of game may feel poorer.
And oh, the chess column was called “Chess with the Sacker”.Interestingly, this Kuwaza guy, for reasons that we will explore shortly, once wanted one of our reporters here, Lloyd Gumbo, sacked!
For those who follow our newspaper, Gumbo has over the past few years consistently investigated and exposed the rot that took root at the SPB under Kuwaza’s watch.
That is, from questionable and unprocedural tendering processes to the contempt Kuwaza arrogantly showed to Parliament and its relevant committees.
Apparently, Kuwaza thought he could extend his immense powers to cause the sacking of poor young man Gumbo from his employ.
And if we are to suppose, as has been reasonably suspected, that Kuwaza committed suicide because he was neck deep in trouble to do with his shenanigans at SPB, we could as well point out that Gumbo – who has dozens of stories under his name regarding the goings on at SPB – played no small part in his demise!
But we are not celebrating the unfortunate demise of a man.
Rather we are celebrating Lloyd and his hard work, consistency and refusal to be cowed by a powerful and arrogant individual.
That is the hallmark of a good journalist.
One day, which is come actually, when you do not find in our pages Gumbo – who has been writing the column, Mr Speaker Sir, focusing on issues brought and discussed in Parliament or worthy of its attention – this is the thing we will miss.
This is why we choose to celebrate him, at a time when good writers and thinkers, indeed young leaders, are in acute short supply.
Party that cried wolf
Each week that passes brings us closer to 2018, the electoral year in Zimbabwe.
As is common knowledge, old foes, Zanu-PF led by President Mugabe and its main rival, MDC-T led by none other than Morgan Tsvangirai, will square off once again.
As we go into 2018, it is only fair to assert that these men and their parties have been locked in a bitter post-colonial struggle.It is also prudent to describe it as generational.
The Mugabe-Tsvangirai rival is a story on its own.
The year 2018, by all indications, must mark a final battle between the two protagonists: the one a liberation war hero and pan-African icon and the other a post-colonial Western puppet.
With a final and logical bout, the stakes are reasonably high.
What is important to note though is that Tsvangirai and his side are becoming frantic and desperate.
Tsvangirai has set in motion moves to coalesce the opposition around him in anticipation of shoring numbers in the coming election.
As we speak, he has signed Memoranda of Understanding with Welshman Ncube and Joice Mujuru.
He may rope in others – at least for the preliminary agreements.
A final agreement is another thing altogether.
While this could be said to be, on his part, a good prospective development, many people would be surprised that his party does not miss an opportunity to tell the world that the next elections have been rigged before fact.
It is a strange and self-defeating strategy, if one at all.
Perhaps it should be understood in the context of someone seeking to save face in the event of a predictable loss in 2018.
Readers may have lately heard the opposition complaining about biometric voter registration kits and how these were allegedly being manipulated by Zanu-PF.
It is one of those many incidents that the opposition have cried wolf like that proverbial boy.
Now the claims have just been disproved by the UN.
The United Nations Development Programme chief here, Mr Bishow Parajuli, said this week: “What I am very pleased with is that all stakeholders are involved. It (BVR kits testing) is being done in a transparent manner.
“There are a lot of political parties, technical experts are here, the media (are here) and ZEC staff, that is good.”
He goes on to tell us that the UNDP is just a technical partner to Zimbabwe and there is nothing amiss for Government to procure these kits and other equipment.
In fact, that should be a normal bureaucratic matter.
But the MDC-T has been making some incoherent noises there, including calling for the UN to run elections here.
Now that the UN has just demonstrated to us that it does not take these submissions seriously, it is only too bad for the opposition.
Nobody is keen to act on false cries of blue murder.