HomeEditorial CommentLong live the weevil

Long live the weevil

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THIS past week saw tables slightly turning upside down for the erudite and ever resourceful Jonathan Moyo as he incurred the wrath of a scorned president.

Robert Mugabe went on an unprecedented berating session directed towards Moyo when he was meant to be commiserating with the bereaved Shamuyariras. Mugabe angrily referred to Moyo as a weevil that destroys its host from within.

Being likened to a weevil is no compliment, more so when one is commissioned to protect and promote the gains of the agrarian revolution. Grain weevils are tiny innocuous-looking creatures that are notorious for damaging stored grain.

Farmers, grain storage providers and grain consumers consider weevils as pests that should be gotten rid of at double quick time using recommended methods that include fumigation, cryogenic (super-cooling) treatment, heating or simply disposing of the infested grain in such a way that the weevils will not live to tell another tale.

According to the well publicised rants by the leader of the indigenisation farmers’ party, a lone weevil has lodged itself in the core of the party and is causing irreparable damage.

Mugabe ignored diplomatic nicety and named Moyo as the weevil. Moyo was accused of replacing Zanu PF loyalists from facets of the State media with “weasels” from the Diaspora. Mugabe mourned that the unsuitable replacements were agents of the MDC and that they used to shamelessly pen stories that were damaging to Zanu PF.

Mugabe’s unlimited attack on one of his “brilliant” ministers took many by surprise. Many wondered if the president had not made a blunder by bringing the issue at the wrong occasion. Here he was at the Shamuyariras; all dressed in stately fashion and ready to offer his heartfelt condolences.

Instead of telling the mournful audience how good Nathan Shamuyarira was as a human being, he went on to savage Moyo for employing Zimbabweans in positions of influence in Zimbabwe.

To his credit, Moyo did not employ some American, British or Chinese candidates to the contentious positions of influence. The problem is that he offered top jobs to genuine Zimbabweans of a nondescript political lineage perhaps without seeking advice from the secret service on the candidates’ suitability.

Moyo might have overlooked the political blemishes of the candidates as he sought to cleanse the public media of the widely held notion that Zanu PF pulls the editorial strings.

Moyo did exactly what the regime has been preaching since winning the July 2013 elections. The government has been pleading with people in the Diaspora to come back home to invest their energy towards the development of the country. Who has not heard these loud, long and desperate calls?

Moyo acted responsibly by offering jobs to Zimbabweans who willingly returned from the Diaspora. This was his small way of instilling confidence within those in the Diaspora who might be pondering over returning home.

Mugabe should only ask Moyo the fate of the two editors who were replaced and whether they were offered employment elsewhere.

He should be asking if they were elevated to some high paying desk jobs that maintain the comfort they were accustomed to. Instead of mauling Moyo, Mugabe should have only warned on how unfair it looks for people from the Diaspora to march into cushy positions at the expense of competent home-grown talent.

The ordinary people had vested interests on the reasons for the two editors’ positions being rendered vacant (The Chronicle and The Sunday Mail).

Were they dismissed for some misdemeanours? Surely if they were unfairly dismissed then the two former editors have recourse to the labour courts. If Moyo wilfully fired the two in order to replace them with his puppets, then Mugabe may be right to chastise him the way he did.

Mugabe’s belated rants against Moyo’s editorial appointments caught everyone by surprise. The presidential tirade confirmed what everyone holds as a flirting suspicion about Zimbabwe’s employment practice.

Zimbabweans of all walks of life live under the suspicion that all jobs in State organisations are only reserved for people with traceable Zanu PF credentials.

The people of Zimbabwe have for long suspected that they should carry in their wallets, pockets and purses proof of membership to Zanu PF for them to enjoy to the fullest extent the trappings that come with being Zimbabwean.

Maybe Moyo wanted to break that circle of despair. He wanted to sanitise the public media whose answer to everything is pamberi navaMugabe and pasi neMDC.

Unfortunately, Moyo’s diligence in changing the image of the State-controlled media touched Mugabe’s raw nerve. Mugabe had to lament another type of loss as he could not imagine a ZBC that reports on his illness as if he was the president of South Africa. He could not stomach a situation where The Herald lampoons his expensive trips to the far-east for treatment.

Mugabe believes in controlling the dissemination of propaganda and was incensed that Moyo the weevil was busy boring into that domain.

Masola waDabudabu is a social commentator

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