Can You Trust ZANU(PF)’s Bonds?

The idea that Zimbabweans in the diaspora hate the ZANU(PF) leadership, membership and the Zimbabwean government is a fallacy.  People who push this line of reasoning actually have the subject turned on its head.  It is not the diaspora citizenry that hates ZANU(PF) but the people who lead and support ZANU(PF) or whatever is now considered ZANU(PF) who hate the Zimbabweans in the diaspora, especially those of us who are in the habit of pointing out what is going in the wrong direction.  The ZANU(PF) people, or Mugabe loyalists, to be more precise, seem to sincerely believe that ancient Zimbabwe is their personal and very private property such that they can dump out if it whoever they want or dish out favours as they see fit.  To these people, every Zimbabwean is not a citizen but a subject and an object to be used and discarded depending on the circumstances.

The ZANU(PF) leaders and followers do not want the Zimbabweans who do not supplicate before Robert Mugabe to be involved in stopping the disaster that was precipitated by ZANU(PF). You heard me right, so to speak. The disaster that is Zimbabwe is a result of ZANU(PF) but the same outfit will not want to openly work with all Zimbabweans who most definitely want the nation moving out of this mess.  The people who support ZANU(PF), inclusive the rented crowd, need to stop blaming the wrong parties for Zimbabwe’s pathetic condition.  This is a problem emanating from President Mugabe and his team.  The people in the diaspora in the diaspora did not create this problem, nor is the onus upon them to solve it.  Only President Mugabe has the power and the authority to act in a way that can positively impact Zimbabwean lives across the nation.  ZANU(PF) holds all the cards on this one.

ZANU(PF)’s leadership can reverse the hostility it has created with the diaspora by publicly acknowledging that this disaster called a bankrupt Zimbabwe was authored by President Mugabe and his coterie of ministers, advisors, friends, relatives and admirers. We expect them to take responsibility for the disaster they created.  A verbal confession is the first step but genuine contrition through deeds will pave the path to the ultimate goal of forgiveness and rapprochement.

Until this happens, the peddling of bonds to the diaspora that is being talked about will not gain any traction.  As a matter of fact we hear that the initial goal is to raise $200 million.  If it can be asked, how going to help us when the most conservative figures say that we will need at least $25 billion just to arrest our current slide down the slippery slope?  This is 0.8 % of what is needed.  Given the enomrmity of what we are facing, $200 million is next to nothing.  In light of such paucity, the remittances from the people mocked as butt cleaners and scratchers of the backs of chembere dzeChirungu will have a bigger impact than the pathetic revenue that is expected to be generated through the bonds.

Speaking of bonds, are these not promissory notes that the holders can use to reclaim the real money the bonds denote when the bond holders want their money back?  We may delude ourselves into believing that there will be more than enough people who are going to stampede each other to death as they scramble to buy these bonds, but what exactly will these people be buying apart from the pieces of paper?  We had better hope there are enough fools who are foolish enough to part with their money for those worthless bonds.  If anyone is stupid enough to buy those bonds, the stupid person will lose his or her money forever, and deservedly so.  Do you doubt my word?  If so, let me tell you of one place named Argentina. I am sure you have heard about it; right?

When that country was facing some financial problem, a result of irrational dictators plundering, looting and using unwinnable wars to profiteer, Argentina had to resort to the use of the Yankee dollar.  For a brief period, things were going in the right directions.  The ruling elite thought the nation was out of the tall pampas grass.  Coffee shops sprouted on the streets of Buenos Aires were the members of the petit bourgeoisie patronized to sip with lingering deliberation cups of astronomically expensive coffee covered with the rich froth of milk.  You see, arrogance is the worst enemy of rulers, all 30 cm of them, and the generously remunerated praise singers and worshipers.  So, Argentina’s perfumed class started living high on the hogs by using the Yankee dollars to hollow out the nation’s treasury and loot the nation’s resources.

As the bottom started to fall under their feet, guess what the arrogant looters decided to do?  You guessed it; they issued bonds. Hallelujah! salvation was come, so they thought.  Does all of this sound familiar?

Some crazy Yankees looking for a quick and easy buck went down to The Plate and bought a bagful of the bonds.  The money from the bonds was looted; can you imagine such an unpredictable outcome in a land of looting looters and brazen thieves?  When the Yankees went back to the city of The Good Air to redeem the bonds, they were told the money was gone.  None was available, they were told.

Right now there is an on-going struggle in the American courts as the bond holders are trying to use the law to recover some of the money they lost to the thieves’ thievery carried out by way of selling worthless junk bonds.  Argentina is as broke as the beggars sleeping beneath America’s bridges.  There is as much money in Argentina’s treasury as we have in our own treasury.  Put simply, the bond holders are not going to get their money despite boasting of the weight and muscle of the American courts and government.

In light of what is happening in Argentina, what luck will the powerless Zimbabweans have in any attempt to redeem the worthless bonds that are going to be peddled by our arrogant and bankrupt ruling elite?   Appealing to Zimbabwe’s courts will be a complete waste of time and energy.  In Zimbabwe, the rule of law is only followed if it suits the tastes of our perfumed ruling class.  When the laws are deemed inconvenient, the perfumed ones either tinker with the inconvenient law or simple ignore it.  This is what is going to make that attempt to use bonds to raise revenue as effective as whistling a wonderful tune into a howling wind.

There will be some who will cite the danger of foreign investors gobbling up all the opportunities at the expense of the Zimbabwean diaspora.  That is a possibility, I concede.  However, these presumed investors we expect stampede their way to Zimbabwe for will have motives, for better or for worse.  In the latter case, we will have to remind ourselves that vultures also always descend on a dying animal not because they want to bring it back to good health but to gorge their empty stomachs with the flesh of the dying animal.  Investors are, by their very nature, hungry vultures.  This leaves the Zimbabwean in the diaspora as the one and only sure hope of salvation for this government.

If the people in ZANU(PF) genuinely want to work in tandem with the Zimbabweans in the diaspora, there needs to be genuine overtures and meaningful conditions that have to be met and agreed upon by all the parties.  ZANU(PF) is not going to get far by saying help us but exclusively on our terms.  That is not how such contracts or acts of goodwill work.  The recent history of this government damns it.

Unless the people who support ZANU(PF) think that the people in the diaspora are stupid to simply start going into the trenches by forgetting the track record of the recent history of the disregard of the rule of law, brazen acts treachery in which party loyalist were publicly humiliated, and the amazing lack of loyalty, there will be very few takers when the bonds are put of the market.  The success of the use of bonds boils down to trust.  Can this government be trusted, though?  If what happened to Teurai Ropa Nhongo is any indication of what is to be expected in terms of trust, the obvious answer is a resounding no.

The ZANU(PF) cadre and leadership are not known to be loyal to anyone, including party members and high-ranking officials.  What is even more damning is that when things are going well, such as when the country was flush with diamonds, our own compatriots in power since 1980 invited the Chinese to the dining table but kept the rest of Zimbabweans away.  Now that the diamonds are gone, and the Chinese are reluctant to lend money to our forgetful wastrels, we suddenly get distress calls for help.  These calls of desperation are coming after two years of verbal abuse from the desperate ones.  Trust matters.

By their own record, the ZANU(PF) cadre hates its own compatriots.  It is this same primal hatred that has seen the leaders of ZANU(PF) casually brush aside the electoral choices of the Zimbabwean people.  Curiously, the same leadership then comes back to ask for money from the people it hates.  These who run ZANU(PF) people always risk being looked upon as pathetic jokers; but do they even know it?

One of the greatest danger that ZANU(PF) faces is that the window of opportunity to work with the Zimbabweans who can actually get the country going forward is closing very fast. More and more of the diaspora Zimbabweans are now settling quite comfortably away from Zimbabwe.  As the wheels of time churn forward, so do sentiments for home wither away.

This government can still bank on some Zimbabweans in the diaspora but an increasing number of them are the kind that is available to be rented out to make some noise when needed.  Their kind is in it for parasitic reasons.  They will never forge a symbiotic relationship with Zimbabwe.  The rentable crowd has nothing meaningful to offer.

Dynastic Egyptians Were Neither Arabs Nor Europeans

I am amazed that we have some of our own people with names like Osiris, Seti, Cheops and other Hellenized name of the people of ancient Egypt are up in arms over a movie by Ridley Scott that is as brazenly racist as it is economical with the historical facts.  My quarrel in this FOTD is not so much about Scott’s championing a racist cause in a very clever way; no.  There are people better placed to confront Scott racism than me.

I am more concerned about the targets of Scott’s racism, a fact borne out by his movie, than Mr Scott’s racist derangements.  The victims of Scott’s inflammatory product may very well be playing their part aiding and abetting the likes of Scott by unwittingly using Hellenized names of historical African characters.  This leads me to ask a simple question: How is the whitewash through a movie different from a whitewash through the endorsement of Europeanized names of African characters?

When we talk about Ramses, Horus, Heru, Khufu, Djoser, Menes, Akhenaton, Tiye, Seti, Horemheb, Teti, Papye, Snefru and all Europeanized names, we are equally guilty of the same whitewashing.  Were they to do the impossible by showing up today, I really doubt the would answer or respond to salutations using these names.  “To whom are you shouting?” they would ask in puzzlement because they never heard of anyone called Akhenaton, Horus, Teti, Horemheb or Ramses.  People like Ridley Scott may be comfortable with these names because they roll of their tongues effortlessly.

However, this is not an acceptable excuse to use these meaningless names.  On the African continent, and by tradition, a name was not a casual form of conferring an personal identity to a member of the individual.  A name was and still is a statement prompted by one social event of one sort of another.  A grateful mother will  name her son Tendaishe to remind herself and others to always Thank the Lord.  A mother rueful of a debilitating mistake she made will capture her remorse by naming a child Ndakaitei, a name in which this mother rhetorically wonders what her transgression was.  As it is today when it comes to African names, so it was back in antiquity.

When confronting raw racism brought forth by the dangerous combination of arrogance and ignorance, the best weapon we have to go back to the simple truth.  The beauty of the truth is that it often stands on its own merit.  We may offer clothes, perfume and garland but it speaks for itself as has its own merits.  Truth is immutable.  It cannot be tinkered with because no tinkering will change its core.  So, when in doubt, we simply need to seek the truth.

If we told the world that there never was anyone called Ramses but RUMOSI, a name which meant and still means SEED, Ridley Scott will have a hard time arguing against it.  He cannot say the name is Ramses when the Greeks did not call a seed Ramses.  The Greeks did not call a child a seed.  However, we know the Africans call children MBEU or MHODZI, with the pronunciations varying depending on the regions and sections of Africa.  For the sake of illustration, the BaRotse/VaRozvi monarchs of Zambia commonly use the variant of this name, which is LUBOSI.  If we bear in mind that ancient Egypt did not use the letter L but use R instead, the BaRotse name of LUBOSI become RUBOSI.

We will disarm the Ridley Scotts of this world if we refuse to accept that the name Horus or Heru.  Both names are misspelt versions of the name that means HARAUSHE or simply HARA.  This name, in its expanded or contracted forms, simply means ONE WHO INHERITS THE THRONE OF HIS FATHER.  The name HARA and the FALCON Symbol are still in usage today.  Names like KHOSI, NKOSI, NGOSI or KGOSI are ubiquituous in some African communities.  The names are commonly used to refer to CHIEFS as well as the FALCON.  NKOSI as a salutation of God is immortalized in the African anthem, NKOSI SIKELELI I’AFRIKA.

We need to correct the misconception about Cheops because there was no such person. His name was MODJADJI CHUFU CHINAME.  All three names are still being used even today. There is an offshoot of the Munhumutapa Empire that is called KoMODJADJI.  CHINAME means one who plays or mold with special clay.  Ancient Egyptians had a deified ancestor who is said to have molded the first human beings out of clay.  This clay used to fashion pottery is called CHINAMWA in the Bantu language of ChiKaranga.  The potter is MUUMBI or CHINAME.

CHUFU is flour, when written as CHIUFU, the owner of the flour.  It may be possible that the name was used to denoted the fact that all the food was the possession of the king.  In ancient Egypt, they had the concept of the king’s fat, in which the fat symbolized natural and produced resources brought to the court as tribute or to part of resources to be stored under the stewardship but not ownership of the king so that these resources were available in times of dire need.  There are African communities where the community’s resources are called MAFUTA AMAMBO, the very same concept of the king’s fat of ancient Egypt.  Chufu or Chiufu himself is recorded dispatching a deputation to collect what Robert Bauval called THE KING’S MEFAT.  Edward Bleiberg talks about the king’s tribute as the KING’S FAT.  If Chiufu’s reign was marked by heavy levies of food, CHUFU, a distinct possibility, the creative Africans may very well have come up with a nickname denotive of that habit.

So, we know that MODJIADI is an African name but not Greek.  The Greek do not call flour CHUFU.  One who molds with clay is not called CHINAME by the Greeks.  This tells is that contrary to the portraitures of the Ridley Scotts of this world, there was not KHUFU or CHEOPS but MODJADJI CHINAME CHUFU, an African three times over.

A look at Djoser, another distorted name, may very well be a name that described the famine that he faced during his tenure on the throne.  The name is descriptive of the allegory of eating (DJE) grass (SORA), that being the indignity people suffer when they are starving.  One of Africa;s numerous proverbs says shumba ikashaya nyama inoDYA SORA — capitalized for emphasis.  All this adage says is that the lion will eat grass if its life is threatened by starvation.  The statement describing the plight and the survival strategy of the lion can be concisely condensed to DYESORA, with the name branded on the lion.  What is important to note is that this adage or name is used as an allegory to demonstrate that even the most dignified of the dignified will resort to the most undignified habits for the simple sake of survival.  It ought not to surprise us that the king whose tenure included the recorded SEVEN YEARS OF FAMINE had to dispense with the dignities of his office in order to save his nation.  If he did, his must have acquired the name of DJESORA.  He did not have to mow grass like a cow but the suffering he and his people endured must have been looked upon as being akin to the starving that that forced the lion to fended off death by eating grass.

Akhenaton is a rendition of the name of the feeble child that was born sickly but recovered/gained (CHINE) health (UTANO). This is the name tells us he gained his health thereby getting named CHINEUTANO, a percent African name.  Some historians say he was sent to the City of UNU, the same place call On in the Bible but renamed Heliopolis by the Greeks.  Unu was the location of the priesthood that saw the sun as the physical manifestation of the unseen and unknown God.  Part of the benevolences to come from God through the sun was medical therapy from the rays of the sun.  We ought not to wonder then that the sun was looked upon as the source of UTANO.  If he had benefited from the UTANO of the sun, it is possible that the priests called him after the manner the sun had given health to the son of the reigning monarch.  The class noun CHI- describes corporeal robustness. It tell us that the frail frame of the child had been transformed into a physical form typical of a healthy child.

Even the name ACHENJERESI used by his mother to address him is undeniably African.  This is a man who has been called described in flowing and glowing superlatives because he was first intellectual in the known records of human history.  The name ACHENJERESI means ONE WHO IS SUPREMELY INTELLIGENT.  Some will say it means one who is so intellectually sharp he is a danger to himself and others.  History tells us that the historical character to have carried this name ultimately causes pandemonium that almost brought complete ruin to the empire and polities that had been put in place with great pain over a timeframe lasting thousands of years.  As a matter of fact, his attempts to overly analyze and rationalize even the tenuous area of theology badly unsettled the establishment despite the soundness of the cause he was championing.  It becomes quite evident that his mother must have known that her son was dangerously intelligent thereby explaining to us what she saw in the product of her womb.

Seti is mysteriously contrived from the name that means HE WHO OWNS THE DESERT/SAND or SON OF THE SAND. In one of the languages of Africa, he is said to be SA-DJECHA.

Horemheb is HE WHO DWELLS (HARA/GARA) SITS IN A CEREMONIAL BASKET/CONTAINER (HABA/GABA), thus making the real name GARAMUGABA OR HARAMUHABA.  As is the norm with African names, this is a condensed name that may possibly have described the habits of this king.  It is hard to imagine that he dwelt in a basket.  The most likely scenario is that his mother or his nurse used a GABA basket the way we use baby cribs in our time.  Rural mothers often do this to make sure that the child is safe and secure, especially if the mother has some chores but no one is around told tend the baby.  Assuming that his mother used the approach, the baby was likely to have been nicknamed HE WHO THAT DWELLS IN A CONTAINER or in its condensed and African variants of HARAMUHABA GARAMUGABA.  Here, yet again, the like of Ridley Scott and his similarly minded ilk have no Greek avenue through which to escape.

We can look all the names and all will invariably have very rational African meanings.  MENES is MWENE, the owner or custodian.

Seqenenre, the man who initiated the Liberation against the Hyksos colonialists is SAKUNUNURA, a name that undoubtedly describes him as THE LIBERATOR.

A look and the names of CHINAME CHUFU’s family is equally revealing in that the theme food runs through the dynasty.  CHUFU’s father was SNEFRU.  In line with the family’s food-related names, this name was possibly HE WHO EATS LIKE A GRAZER because that is what SEANOFURA means.  FURA as a verb is to GRAZE.  It is worth noting that his great great great grandfather was DYESORA.   SEANOFURA’s grandfather was named HUNI, a name that means firewood used for preparing — you guessed it — FOOD.

SEANOFURA’s grandsons who sat on the throne after their father MODJADJI CHINAME CHUFU have the following names; RADJEDEF, KHAFRE, BAUFRE and MENKAURE.  Apart from the last king, all the other names are associated with food.

Radjedef is likely to have meant ONE WHO EATS WILD LOQUATS.  RADJE is one who eat.  DUFU is an African fruit that resembles a loquat.  The botanical name of the fruit tree that produces the DUFU fruit is Vangueriopsis lanciflora.

KHAFRE or CHAFRE sounds much like a variant of his grandfather’s name, SEANOFURA.  Rendered as CHAFURA, his name was likely to have meant HE WHO GRAZES or ONE WHO HAS GRAZED.  Yet again, we notice the thread of food winding through the names of the monarchs of the Fourth Dynasties.

CHAHURA’s successor and brother was BAUFRE; at least that is the name we are given by the non-African Egyptologist. However,  is we re-Africanize it to BAUFURA, its meaning neatly falls into food-based place of names of his family.  The name means HE GRAZES.  It is pluralized out respect with the class noun BA-.  What is important is that it is a name that fits trend of names in his family.

MENKAURE, becomes DIRT once the name is reclaimed and rewritten as MANGORE.  The reason he would have been called dirt is anyone guess.

Interestingly, the name of his successor and his possible son is recorded in modern books as SHEPSESKAF.  It is interesting in that is invokes the theme of food.  As SHAPISASKAFU, he might have been known as THE ONE WHO SPOILS THE FOOD.  CHIKAFU means FOOD — imagine that.  TO SPOIL is SHAPISA.  This king was the last monarch of the kings who rules ancient KUMUTI between 2613 B.C.E and 2498 B.C.E.  What food me might have spoiled, no one knows but his kingship marked the end of his family inheritance of the throne.

The point here is not to do an exhaustive inspection of these names, not at all.  What is beyond question, and without a scintilla of doubt, is that we are dealing with African names but most definitely non-Greek names.  We have a choice between using the Europeanized names and the African names.  No one else but the African people across the world can reclaim and impose these names in the narratives of African history be they told in history books, made-for-profit movies, and television documentaries.  Wherever possible, none but the Africans are mandated to use these names.  Use them, we must because that is the first step to counter the whitewash, small as the step might seem.  If the propaganda war is waged a teaspoon at a time, the counteroffensive has to be fought in kind.

To quote and use one of my friend’s favorite African aphorisms, people like Ridley Scott are mugoti unobikiswa dovi asi usingasive kunaka kwaro.  Like the spoon that is used to cook peanut-butter soup, people like Ridley Scott might immerse themselves in African history but they will never know how this metaphorical soup really tastes.

Meaningfully Empowering Zimbabweans

Dr Raymond Chamba is championing the formal establishment of an agency to enable the government and entrepreneurial Zimbabweans to tap into our vast natural and human resources for the mutual benefit of all the parties involved. At the very least, the benefits of such an arrangement flow and course through the lives of all Zimbabweans. I am in complete concurrence with him. His idea has its precedence in the form of the American Government’s Small Business Administration (SBA) agency.  I agree with him based on my professional experience.  On a comparative basis, I can tell you that I have vast experience working with the United States SBA. I have had to deal with the finer details of the rules, regulations and the myriad of procedures that make the SBA singularly effective. I can tell you that I learnt enough from this intimate association so much so that I was, at one point asked to work with and assist some people who were working to give the toothless ZimAsset some technical teeth.

Of more importance to the vein of this discussion/forum are two policies I suggested to the former Minister of Youth Employment and Indigenization, or whatever the name was at the time of the GNU. One suggestion focused on the imperatives of protecting certain business sectors for the sole purpose of enabling the indigenous citizenry to raise revenue without getting muzzled out the way by foreign investors. To my joy, the minister took the idea and pushed it until it was enacted into part of the law of the land by parliament.

I was not concerned at all that I did not receive any credit for the legislation. My concern was not making a name for myself. I have no need shout my name from the top of the highest mountain available. I only wanted to make sure that we were empowering our people by helping our ministers, bureaucrats and policymakers come up with solutions to make Zimbabwe better that its current state. That was my one and sole concern.

A less successful attempt to share my SBA-related experience, skills and knowledge was with respect with the disbursement of the vast sums of monies that were flowing into the ministry for the express purpose of empowering youths. Through rumormongering, I got wind of the money getting dished out to some youths in $5000 portions. This was alarming in that this was a lot of money that was practically getting thrown away down the drain. In an attempt to salvage the situation, I privately sent the concerned minister a suggestion on how to disburse the money in a way that was going to bear fruits. It was a detailed approach based on my SBA experience.

In an attempt to lend muscle to my suggestion, I even mentioned my experience in the area, especially concerning the solicitation for fundable proposals, the vetting of the submitted proposals and the awarding of contracts. Not only did I make these suggestions, I pointed out the importance of making sure that there were mechanisms to ensure that the contracted work was performed in a timely manner and in accordance with the conditions in the contract. One of the biggest pitfalls of contracts is a lack of accountability and the enforcement of the terms of the contract. I know this from experience, too. Not every contractor is going to do an honest job.

Bearing in mind that not every proposal is never going to work or pan out as put on paper, I suggested that there were always going to be a portion of some of the ideas that were going to fail even after getting funded under such a scheme. However, the impractical ideas did not have to be looked upon as a waste of money. As long as a certain percentage of the initial raft of proposals had been demonstrated to be sound and actionable, that was ample ground to consider the whole effort a success. This is the reason projected are put in phases or have to pass through stage gates. To minimize the inevitable wastage of money, projects in the initial stages receive enough funding to enable the entrepreneur to explore the only the feasibility of the proposed idea. By taking this approach, losses are reduced to a manageable level.

On the flip side of this unavoidable failure of some of the idea, there are always some ideas that will succeed well beyond what had been put on paper. In such an event, these proposals are accelerated past the staging gates, a process called fast-tracking.

I have witnessed this in my professional dealings with the SBA process. This was the reason I tried to impress upon the minister the importance of setting up an agency under his ministry or in collaboration with other ministries so as to put the money to good use.

Sadly, the concerned ministers ignored the suggestion, one that was more critical than the suggestion that has been enacted into law. I was completely disappointed because this was a glorious opportunity that was utterly thrown away. Even though others may very well have gloated after most of the money was predictably wasted, I opted not to do that. My reaction was despondency. Here was a discarded opportunity to leverage the experience, knowledge and skill sets of a private Zimbabwean motivated by nothing else but the optimization of material resources.

I suspected the idea had been rejected because it had no immediate political impact. Politicians, not just our Zimbabwean variety but politicians by virtue of their natural tendencies, are incapable of seeing anything beyond the tip of their noses and the next election date. It is unfortunate but we ought to be cognizant of this harsh political reality as we march forward.

As an aside, let me tell each and everyone of you, as well as those who are likely to surreptitiously visit this wall to partake in what we are sharing, one critical fact that can make or break this endeavor. The Zimbabwean people need to learn to acknowledge the contributions of others, doing so publicly if that is what it takes. From my experience, and that of others, I have personally witnessed what amounts to lifting of other people’s ideas without giving due credit to the source of the ideas. It has happened to me twice. I can assure you that I am going to make sure it does not happen again. In any event, be aware of this potential pitfall. Simply because a policy was proposed by an anonymous Zimbabwean is not a justification for the recipient to take complete credit for the idea.

Our ministers, bureaucrats and policymakers must be aware of this critical facet of the process of exchanging knowledge between astute private citizens and members and captains of the public sector. To ignore this is to shut off the spigot through which the life-sustaining honey and milk flow, figuratively speaking.  It is important that our leaders understand that when technical ideas are put on paper, only the essential essences of the ideas are captured.  The finer details are left out lest they clutter what is on paper.  Be that as it is, these minutiae are the then tiny and seemingly insignificant screws and bolts that hold the whole structure together.  Without these widgets, there is no putting together the whole structure.  Any attempts to avoid using the nuts and bolts will only result in a frail frame that will eventually crumble into a desolate heap of twisted metal and smithereens of shattered brick and mortar.

Zimbabwe’s Political Scavengers

It is said that when a lion stalks its prey, hyenas are never too far from the scene of the lion’s impending feast. You see, the hyena was never endowed with the necessary physical attributes required to hunt its own food. The hyena must survive on the crumbs or carcasses left by the hunting elites of the wilderness. This is what we call the scavenger’s survival strategy.

While we call hyenas filthy scavengers, doing so by forgetting that the hyenas were created to have these habits, we call their human cousins opportunists.  These are but scavengers but bearing a sanitized name. Nowhere are these scavengers more prevalent than in politics. We have  witnessed these scavengers scampering towards ZANU(PF) over the past few years when it looked like there were going to be some vacant feeding slots at the nation’s exclusive feeding troughs where the dipping of the snouts is a highly coverted  monopoly.

If you ever visit a piggery, and you can tolerate the stench and the filth there, you will quickly realize that the pigs do not eat with what may be remotely called dignity.  They constantly jostle each other out of the way.  There is indecorous grunting and squealing.  The pigs will use the same place to deposit their feacal waste, the reason piggeries smell. There is no dignity there whatsoever.  Politics based on patronage is not very dissimilar from the scene at a piggery’s feeding trough.

We saw a mad dash for what appeared to be opportunities at our own metaphorical piggery. There were opportunists who thought they were going to get their opportunity to eat.  Little did they know that it is not that easy.  With the undignified jostling and jousting we have been witnessing in ZANU(PF), the opportunists are in a real quandary.  Like the rest of us, the common folk, they have no idea where this kerfuffle is headed.

Unsure of what to do, they have suddenly gone quiet. With the things in a flux right now, they dare not say anything lest they jeopardize their opportunities.  They are seemingly watching from a safe distance but, by so doing, they have left themselves badly exposed as unscrupulous opportunists — or do I repeat myself. Chaos is, in an ironic way, like a peasant woman and her winnowing basket for it separates the grain from the chaff.

Now we all know who the real ZANU(PF) supporters in the diaspora are. They have not wavered. Some have openly protested the destructive activities that have taken place within their party over the past weeks. These are the genuine supporters.


In a previous Factoid of the Day (FOTD), I pointed out the fact that the Serer people of Senegal, along with the Dogon of Chad, monitor the helical rising/appearance of the start Sirius. This appearance coincides with the rain season and is more consistent than tracking the seasons using the sun. I also pointed out that the ancient Egyptians followed the same custom to keep track of the flooding of Iteru Haupwi (an name Hellenized to River Nile). A commentator said that the Egyptians were simply continuing the custom that had been going on before they settled in the rivers valley of Iteru Haupwi.

After this comment, I read a book by Egyptian-born engineer and Egyptologist, Robert Bauval, in which he pointed out that the custom of tracking the helical rise of Sirius started in the Sahara Desert when it was still arable and offered enough grazing land for livestock. The rain was part of the monsoon pattern in tropical Africa. This is the very same source of the waters that feed into the Nile River such that monitoring the appearance of Sirius did not have to be abandoned once the Sahara Desert had been abandoned.

So, as I pointed out earlier on, we know that the star Sirius was used by the Serer, the Dogon and the ancient Egyptians. Now, deep in Southern Africa, we had the same practice, specifically at the Mutapa city of Khami.

According to the informants who talked to K. R. Robinson, people used to gather at the site of the imperial court to eat, drink and dance as they propitiated Mwari for rain. After the mukwerera/inwa, that being the drinking gathering, was over, Mambo took a pot shaped like a cattle. It had beer in it. From the end of the mukwerera festival, mambo woke up before dawn, sat on a stone stool and chanted words words that no one knew what they meant. He did this as he was looking east and in the meanwhile beating the cow-shaped beer pot with a copper wire.

Robinson does not tell us what mambo was tracking but the prayer session may very have been carried out while keeping track of the helical rising of Sirius. This is the start whose appearance coincided with the coming of the rain season. Sirius is the last star to be seen in the sky as the sun rises. I have been tracking the same star for a while, not because I am mambo but because it fascinates me.