I waited until after the war veterans crunch indaba to write this because a turn of events was “expected”. Don’t ask me what turn of events, I read it in the newspapers. Well, so much for listening to the journalists & their so-called inside sources. They made the general public to believe that April 7 was going to be D-Day for the ruling party, Zanu PF [and perhaps the country]. They liked to fantasize that the indaba was going to be President Mugabe’s undoing [from what, I don’t know]. Again, blessed was the expectation for it indeed was greater than the event.
Now, I remember one Nigel Mugamu saying sometime in 2014 that he doesn’t read newspapers anymore. I think he’s a cool guy but when he said this, in the back of my mind I thought he’d lost it. For those of you who don’t know the man I’m talking about, he’s the Founder of 263chat [go google] and is affectionately known as Sir Nige in social media circles. As it stands, I now agree with him, let’s cast the newspapers away, please. Peep at the headlines yesterday, they are trying to make us believe the war veterans were gagged during the crunch indaba. Surprisingly, they are the same newspapers that woke up [the previous week] on the 8th of April with headlines screaming that President Mugabe had been humbled & taken back to earth by the war veterans at the indaba. How? Help me understand, how does a group that humbled a “restless & fidgeting Mugabe” according to one of these damned papers turn out to be gagged. How do you even gag 10 000 hardcore liberation fighters that all have an ounce of Chris Mutsvangwa caliber in them? Nonsense! These journalists need to stop selling us a dummy otherwise I’ll call the wrath of Sir Wicknell on all of them once more.Besides, mari iri kunetsa iyi (money is hard to come by).
I can’t queue long hours at the bank, draw a restricted amount and then have you give me ‘kak’ on a piece of paper in exchange for it. I once thought maybe banning reporting on political matters would be a good measure. But knowing the journos, they will always find a loop to squeeze in their wild political imaginations. So, instead, why not boycott the newspapers altogether. We sure can save some trees that way or use the paper to print textbooks for the kids in rural areas that are sharing textbooks at a 1:13 ratio. Join me & Sir Nige in boycotting newspapers that print stories that are not even worth the paper they aed on. Think about it.
A quick look around the Zimbabwean landscape will review to you a large number of entrepreneurs, both young and old. Actually, if you were in a combi (commuter omnibus) going to town seated in the usual 4-4 format, there is at least one entrepreneur on every roll, including pakadoma! Despite these large numbers of entrepreneurs, Zimbabwe still cannot attract the much needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). I wonder why?
Quick fingers will point at the rampant corruption, government loyalists will wallow in the sanctions mantra and on & on it goes. Though these are legitimate reasons, they are only part of the real stumbling block. The present day Zimbabwean entrepreneur is not attractive to investors… his/her dress, talk and character are not impressive. They do not mean business. It might sound a tad bit backwards of me to be pointing this out given the fact that I’m from the liberal generation that has cut out the suit & tie and much of the formalities to do with the workplace and business in general. But let’s really look at this in our third world perspective, like a nation wanting to resurrect its once glamorous economy. Image is a key selling point right now, we can’t afford to toy around with it. Sometimes I feel for the foreign investors who come to browse our business terrain. Here’s an example:
Imagine you are a busy executive leading a multinational corporation looking for investment opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa. You interact with a Zimbabwean entrepreneur via LinkedIn who seems to have a good business idea in just the sector you are looking at. He sounds convincing during the Skype calls. He says the business is already up and running and with a little capital injection it should take off for the stars. You decide to give him a chance meeting, after all, you will be flying to Jo’burg in a fortnight. All meeting details are exchanged and you wait for the day. Finally, the day comes.. you are in Zimbabwe! Besides the slow customs, everything they have shown you on BBC and Fox seems all untrue. Of course, the road might be bumpy but the 5 star hotel you are staying in is quite comfortable, nothing is amiss. Three hours later you are in the elevator going down to the hotel dining room for a meeting with the entrepreneur. You gave him the brief on time and location. According to your watch, he should arrive in 15 minutes. That should be enough time to order a glass of wine and relax you think as you sit yourself. Now, the waiting begins..
45 minutes later, the guy hasn’t arrived yet. You have had 3 wine glasses already. A phone call to the entrepreneur and he says he’s 10 minutes away. Patience is a virtue so you wait. Ten minutes later, he still hasn’t shown face. While dialling his phone again, you ask the waiter to bring you a double shot of something strong as you sip on the last bits of your 4th glass. The phone is ringing but there is no answer. You reach into your pocket & light up a cigarette to calm your nerves. Just as you put back the lighter in place after the second smoke, the entrepreneur arrives. His sweaty face carries a large grin and the shirt he has on looks like it got it’s last ironing a year ago. As he sits down across the table from you, you notice he is wearing those anklet socks you hate and his formal shoes are dusty. You politely ignore all this and hope his conversation is the winner.
Pleasantries are exchanged though your mood for this is already off now. A few minutes into the conversation and the entrepreneur still hasn’t said anything you want to hear… the numbers, the market research, cashflow projections etc. Food is served and you eat with your entrepreneur guy who seems to be informing you more about Mugabe & government failures more than his business. At this moment, you have had enough and try in the politest way to ask the guy if he has any documents or proposals for you to look at. He pulls out a folded paper from somewhere in his pocket. Some sketchy details which don’t make any business sense to you are scribbled on it. You ask a question on the current status of the business and the entrepreneurs goes into a barrage of his life story. He tells you how difficult life is, how he has a degree but can’t find a job so he’s trying to build his own business. “Hold on, trying?” “I thought you said the business was running”, you ask.
Then come the excuses. The business is running from home but with some capital it should grow. He knows a friend’s uncle who has done it and is making a lot of money. Any further inquiries are answered with further goose-chase explanations & problems that need your money to be solved. Now, you’ve really had enough. This guy has nothing you want. You candidly conclude the meeting and are leaving for your hotel room to unwind before the waiter waves you back. Apparently, you have to settle the bill for two since your entrepreneur guest has no money on him.
This is just a scenario of encounters common to investors coming in and out of Zimbabwe momentarily. If you were the investor in that scenario, would you encourage your peers to deal with Zimbabwean entrepreneurs?
So, a couple weeks back, I was in the heat of my Daniel’s Fast. You can call it The 22 Day Vegetarian Challenge if you like, it is pretty much the same thing.. Except the former is more spiritually inclined.
I woke up in the morning, had two fruits for breakfast then I headed out in my all black outfit. My, how the weather was to surprise me hours later! It got so hot that every pore in my skin was sweating bucket-loads!! Add on the fact that I’m usually a heavy eater & need lots of food to boost my energy levels and you could imagine the amount of strain my body was now under. Anyway, I push myself to continue with my day despite feeling my body giving up on me.
I then get into Fife Star Investments to grab a few goods. I won’t mention which branch for my own reasons. After quickly shopping around, I headed to the only till point in the shop. But as I’m making my payment, I start to feel a blackout coming fast. At this point, I’m feeling all sorts of woozy in my head so I explain the situation to the till operator, who is the closest person to me then. He mumbles something back to me about getting fresh air outside. As I hastily try to make my way to the nearest seat just outside the door, all the other attendants in the shop are ogling me like I’m some sun-busking act even though they can see I’m somehow unsteady on my feet.
However, I do manage to make it to the seat and am trying to cool down & bring myself together. Meanwhile, a short distance away, I can hear the till operator from before asking the shop attendant to bring a glass of water. The attendant starts complaining that the till operator wants to give away water to people when they are having problems getting some for cooking their own lunch. Some more words are exchanged before the glass of water is finally on its way to me. There is no politeness or the slightest sign of care in the manner it is handed to me, along with my goods and receipt which are given to my friend who was accompanying me. The goods come in no plastic bag despite my having paid for one prior. After a quick rest, I hand back the glass inside, thank them and ask for my plastic bag which is handed to me grudgingly then I leave with a friend of mine who had been more help by looking out for me while I rested.
I have since made my mind to never shop again at any Fife Star Investments outlet. I urge you not to shop there too.
I’m a big fan of comics! I love what they do. I believe they play a special role in society. They lighten up the toughest of situations. Recently, a wave of comic artists has swept Zimbabwe, providing us with much needed humour in these tough economic times when everyone seems to be so uptight.
Everyone knows & has seen at list one video (unless you’re white or live under a rock) from the P.O Box guys and the man of the moment, the Shamhu guy, The Comic Pastor. They’re bringing in recognition to this form of art. I respect them for their efforts. You see, comics is an art…and like any other art form, it has to be natural. Now these guys have had it good, they have the talent in abundance. But I’ve noticed a certain change in their serial acts & pieces. Don’t get me wrong evolving is a good thing, it can bring growth to the comic artist. I don’t think it is that way though with The Comic Pastor & P.O Box Zim. Their effort at evolving their art seems to be stifling them. I blame this on their effort to attract endorsements from the big brands. These are hard times and I know these guys are trying to eat but I don’t think they should sacrifice the art for it!
I watched the Shamhu Part 2 and the corners of my mouth did not even forge a smile. The act was plain and just not funny. It is evident the guy strove to fit in the name of Steward Bank in order to get the pay cheque. In the process, he sacrificed the art.. it didn’t come out as natural & entertaining as the first part. This too is happening to Boss Kedha & his pal in their motorbike selling act. They are downgrading from being comics to mere advert actors…boooring!! As a result, the art is suffering! The art needs to stand on its own so as to provide its main product, entertainment. Comic artists should not have to sacrifice the art to get brand endorsement. That’s killing the vibe. There’s ways for brands to get recognition via comics, but forcing themselves upon the art is not one of them. We need our comedy pure, we deserve it. Say NO! to brands abusing our comics.
After rattling my fingers against my temple for some time, I have decided to do it. I am going to tell the Minister of Youth, Indigenisation & Economic Empowerment, Honourable Patrick Zhuwao that I like his suits.
You see the reason I am (or rather was) hesitant to say it is because when you feed people the truth, you don’t know how they are going to react. Lucky for me, telling the Minister what I am about to is a matter of obligation. Honourable Zhuwao, for those who know him or have met him, is a well groomed fellow.. always looking sharp in his suits. Oh, how I like his suits! He is no doubt a metrosexual man. But you see beyond this statuesque, he is the man tasked by the President, who by “accident of nature” as he likes to put it is his uncle, to head the ministry which holds the responsibility to guard the welfare of the youth & in other ways, the economic map work of the country.
Ever since Honourable Zhuwao’s appointment to this post, I have followed the goings-on like the patriotic & enthusiastic youth that I am. The success of many entrepreneurs like myself depends on the success of his ministry’s policy. All was well, or so I thought, until last month just after The Inaugural Economic Empowerment Conference held on the 16th. The government went on to launch the Localised Empowerment & Acceleration Fund (LEAF). This is in line with the 10 Point Plan read by the President during the State Of the Nation Address. It is also in line with the ruling party manifesto and government’s ZIM-ASSET. I got the disappointment of my life when I went through the details of the LEAF document. I wondered how a man whose suits I like could approve such things. A 10 million dollar fund to be disbursed to all 10 provinces with all constituencies receiving $45 000 each?
Dear reader, I do not know how many youths are in your constituency but we have well over 200 in mine and I honestly don’t know what ratio to use to share that measly amount! Even if there were only 100 of us, it would mean we get 450 bucks each. I certainly cannot push myself to think of a real business to start with that amount. Maybe vending? But what now when the council authorities are on vendors’ backs day & night, Mr Minister?
I understand your need to try & abide by the populist policies and have the money accessed by all, the politics demands it…but the economics do not balance. In my view, it is much wiser to have the fund rolled out to entrepreneurs or Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with viable businesses. I’m talking enterprises or ideas with a REAL shot at exponential growth that can result in employment creation number increases. Not these one man initiatives with no room for growth. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone…not in a major way. It is time Zimbabweans & our leadership acknowledge this. At this point, I might as well touch on the Indigenisation drive. After outlining my points above, let me make it clear that Zimbabwe is in dire need of new money. Major companies like Delta, OK Zimbabwe & Econet are posting losses. Something is wrong in the economic pipeworks! This is no time to be hunting the much needed Foreign Direct Investment with such an inconsistent policy. The 51/49 policy may work well in industries that involve indigenous resources like mining but the same approach spells disaster in the finance sector. This cannot be a one-size-fits-all thing. Capital is base for negotiations. We have to look at cases sector by sector. Profit Sharing Models (PSMs) can always be adopted to maintain balance in favour of locals.
My Minister, we have to make Zimbabwe a favourable investment destination, that cannot be done by uncompromising aggression and continual takeover of foreign owned enterprises. It needs a clever approach that respects interests of all players involved. The game of capital requires global cooperation. I write this to pressure you to deliver policies that can give us the 2 million jobs promised to us. You asked in September, while addressing the Zimbabwe Youth Council, that we pressure government to deliver them. It is as such that I share my grievances with you, as caretaker of my needs as a youth and indigenous entrepreneur. I hope you will respond accordingly. At this moment, let me commend Finance Minister, Honourable Patrick Chinamasa’s milestone achieving meeting in Lima. Let me also commend you, Honourable Zhuwao for the improvement on vetting & accounting processes for the LEAF. More still needs to be done though, to achieve our goal of 100% economic empowerment.
I hope next time we meet, you will smile at me… not just because I like your suits, but also because you will be ready to talk business.
So, I have this thing that I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who does it. And if you’re not doing it, I recommend you start as soon as possible. It is having a “wake up song”. In case you’re wondering what a “wake up song” is, it is that one song which you play first thing in the morning (usually on repeat) as you go about the business of taking a shower, making the bed, working out, cooking breakfast or getting ready for work. Also, if your rigid self is wondering why you should have one, here goes: Studies say that having a wake up song improves mind coherence by over 60%. At this point, the wise know that I have put the “studies say” in order to get you to believe me because studies say that you can get people to believe anything by saying “studies say” before making your point. LOL
Anyway, believe it or not, having a wake up song does improve your mood for the day a great deal.. I’ve witnessed it. My current wake up song, which I’m about to change as soon as I find another that gets me all turnt, is Travis Scott’s Pray 4 Love, which features The Weeknd. Something about playing it as I get out of bed gives me that extra zeal for the day. Matter of fact, I think everyone should have their own “wake up song”. It will give you that extra strength, like a WWE wrestler about to hop into the ring, trust me! As for those that already are in habit of having wake up songs, let me know what song is getting you on these days!
It is a near impossibility to go through the week’s press without reading somewhere some of your open letters directed to someone or something. The usual suspects at the receiving end of your hogwash being ZESA, Zanu Pf and all the other Zs. I get why you are expressing your views in such a manner. Things are not well in the economy.
But frankly speaking, these open letters are getting tedious. They now seem like a hobby taken into overdrive. This may be me, but aren’t open letters supposed to be attempts to focus broad attention on something? I would expect them to stir public emotion having come from one private citizen’s genuine expression on a particular issue. Lately, I won’t lie, I haven’t seen that in all your open letters floating around week in-week out. The opinions they carry are hollow. I’m excused for thinking you, the authors are just seeking some 15-minutes of fame. Or in the least, are venting personal hatred towards someone in the public’s view. Is anger getting the best of you?
I wonder why editors are even giving these letters space. Then again, they are just trying to sell copies and scrap some profits in this tired economy. I am a strong believer in the right for people to freely express their views in this democratic House of Stone but let’s do it responsibly…and in acceptable doses. Next time you decide to sit down & write an open letter, let it be worthy please.
If I wrote how I felt, the ink from my pen would ooze out weeping over me. It would soak the paper I write on, leaving it to tear in a fit of rage as it becomes privy to what goes on in my mind. Words formed by letters I carve with my hand would pronounce loudly the experiences of my life. A life among many other lives, all navigating the face of this earth without a “how to manual”. Never mind everyone else, I embrace my own uniqueness now. I have been baptized in disappointment so many times I have learnt not to count on others anymore. I seek not conformity, it is a limitation to my ambition. My bag of selflessness is neatly packed as I embark on my journey. They throw selfish looks and hope I stumble and fall. It is the way of mankind. How I wish the gods were on my side more often. Are they sitting somewhere in the skies laughing; enjoying this show? I will write to them how I feel one of these days.
If I wrote how I felt, many would not welcome me in their doors anymore…never mind their hearts. Where is Love? She would speak on my behalf. Maybe she can escort me and be the mediator. She would help me interact with you better. But she is too shy to come around anymore. She left a long time ago on a journey unknown. Something deep within me tells me she’s dead. Hate whispers in my ear in a low voice, telling me to forget Love and come along for a ride. There will be lots of fun and friends he promises. But I have been down that road. It is full of all things I have set out not to be. I can’t smile at people I dislike no more. Don’t pretend to compliment me when your devious thoughts are cussing me out. The air thickens when I am around you. Excuse me, I have to leave you. You will know I have found you out when you don’t hear from me again. Maybe one day, if I wrote how I felt, I would finally be able to forgive you.
If I wrote how I felt, I would free myself. My body stands physically before you but you do not see that it is broken into so many pieces. Nonetheless, my soul still stands strongly at its core. Your judgment doesn’t adulterate my perception of me. Look into my eyes (the windows of my soul) and there-in you will see.. not only me, but yourself. In that deep gaze, my soul prays pride don’t stop you from realizing what you are versus what you portray. Telepathically, I will continue to write you letters of how I felt long after you have stopped entertaining the sight of me.
You see me, you decide and you conclude but if I wrote how I felt, would it change your view? I wonder if it makes you feel any better, wiser or happier when you yardstick yourself against me or anyone else for that matter. Maybe you would answer me if I wrote how I felt.
This topic has been on many lips this previous week…on street corners and office corridors alike. Even some media houses seem to have found the headliner for some days to come. It is the topic of former Vice-President, Mai Mujuru’s manifesto unveiling. Or was it the People First’s manifesto launch, I’m not really sure.
I thought I’d give my view of it. In case you didn’t know, it is fashionable to make political comments in Zimbabwe. It makes you look cool & knowledgeable amongst unemployed peers. We even have those that don’t remember when they last paid their taxes chanting their opinions the loudest. Anyway, that’s not the point today. You see, I never thought that Joice Mujuru would make the move she just did. And I know I’m not the only one who did so. After her brutal purging from the ruling Zanu PF party late last year, most thought that was the end for her. Her cronies were not spared the boot either.
Now last week, after months in oblivion & ramblings from Rugare Gumbo & ol’ Didymus Mutasa claiming to be speaking on her behalf, Madam Joice resurfaced. Well, not in person exactly, but in the form of a piece of paper known as BUILD. I will not bother to elaborate its contents, I trust most have read it by now. As good sounding as some of the policies in that BUILD document may be, I wonder how Mai Mujuru and her so called People First team intend to initiate them. Navigating the political waters of this beloved country is known to be tricky. Balancing the liberation struggle ideals cherished dearly in this nation against positive socio-economic policies is a gruesome task. The former would not really prove difficult for Joice Mujuru. She has a gleaming war background. Who doesn’t adore a woman that shot down a plane in battle? Never mind the other comrade who said last year that this story was just a hype statement that got blown out of proportion. She has a record as the youngest minister in the first majority rule government straight after Independence. She is the widow of a top army general and is the nation’s first female vice president. It makes for an excellent resume! No wonder she is convinced she can run for President in 2018. Add on the cheers from a few friends and supporters in the shadows of the stands, and she is confident of taking on President Robert Mugabe. What a perfect illusion! I’ve read the 48 Laws of Power and I’d recommend Madam Joice do too. Law 1 says: Never outshine the master. Everyone knows Mai Mujuru came up under Robert Mugabe. She is on record herself confirming this. If I were her, I’d stop right here.
In fact, this whole People First notion reminds me of one friend of my father. He is also a very likeable politician whom I revere. His name is Simba Makoni. At one point, this man (like Madam Joice) was pitted to take over reigns from President Mugabe. All seemed set well for him until the popularity got to his head with a little hyping from some cadres, including Joice herself. He left the Zanu Pf. When things didn’t go as expected, he was left alone in the cold. His cadres turned their backs on him. The only taste of Presidency he got was an election contest. He went on to form a party but growth seems to be eluding it. This is a lesson for Madam Joice. Is she really as popular (at the ballot) as she and a few others might think?
Then comes the ghost of Mai Mujuru herself. After so many years in Government, we are not mad for asking what she can do differently now. Didymus Mutasa’s claims that they have learned since being purged sure is not doing her any favour. It is laughable in fact. Though some like to think that the allegations that have rained on her since last year are malicious; false and exaggerated, I’d want to remind them a little. Everyone remembers the Chiadzwa days, the days of the diamond rush. What was the name of that place where you could get the best stones? Oh yeah! KwaMai Mujuru. Our brothers got mauled by police dogs and beaten by military personnel as they tried to get just a little from the place that you, Madam Joice, were now calling your own, where were you? Villagers from nearby told stories of private planes (flown by white people) carrying the precious stones from that place to God knows where. Still, as Vice-President you didn’t answer when the people asked who was benefitting from the diamond deposits. Your own daughter committed vehicular homicide and you didn’t think twice before sweeping the matter under the carpet. So much for wanting justice to prevail under your BUILD document. SMH
Also, what is this I hear about your People First looking to make a grand coalition with the MDCs and others? Madam Joice, please stop! You should have accepted that pension package and lived happily ever after. I wonder what sort of creature such a coalition would birth. Who will lead who? I remember Didymus Mutasa saying in one interview, before the purges, that he was ready to be Vice-President. Will he be willing to forego that dream as Morgan Tsvangirai and his bandwagon join the team? I trust in your deep senses you know this can never happen. That loud-mouthed nephew of Didymus, Temba Mliswa does not make it any better. He says you lack the will power and devotion to lead this thing. Just a couple days back he was saying you, as People First should come rally behind Tsvangirai. What does this make of your just released manifesto?
Madam Joice, you have had your time in Zimbabwean politics. Now that the door has closed, do not try to force it open. Try exploring new avenues. Write a book on your experiences, start a women’s support foundation, farm a little more. There is more to this life than running for President. I believe you just were not cut out to lead Zimbabwe. Don’t let these foreign envoys fool you. They may like your gap-tooth smile & plus size figure when you welcome them. They might even like your cooking but believe me… if they put you on the pedestal, they sure are going to take you off. It is time to call it a day.
I’ve thought about it…I want to marry Miley Cyrus. And NO! This has nothing to do with her recent gig as host at the MTV VMAs recently, though I think she did a splendid job. You probably dropped your jaw the moment you saw the headline. Goodness! I wonder how I’m going to tell my mother about my plan. She is the sweetest person I know but I’m not too sure she will take this kindly. Her African roots will not allow her. I can imagine having to sit down and explain why I love and have decided to marry Miley. My family might even have to get the relatives involved to find out kutipfungwa dzangu dziri nyatsori papi (where my brain is at). Lord knows I don’t want to have a Zororo Makamba & Acie Lumumba moment with any of them. Those that watched the Tonight With Zororo Show Episode 4 know what I’m talking about.
Anyway, as I gather the confidence to tell those that I love that I want to marry what media and the general public sees as a bad girl, I wonder how many other brothers before me have come across synonymous situations. You decide a girl, you choose to marry. But unfortunately, the girl of your choice is not suitable, according to the family jury. They hit you with a bunch of reasons why: She is too old they tell you. You can’t marry an Indian girl, they say.. almost as a command. How many have given in to the pressure and ditched the girl of their dreams? I see this as a silent cause to the rise in divorce numbers in the country.
Many people in marriages today do not even love each other. Listening to one partner talk about the other, you’d be forgiven for thinking they were speaking of their arch-rival! Young couples are standing in front of the civil court judges confessing that they never loved their current spouses. The guys blame the family, mainly parents for choosing a partner for them. The women on the other side fall into these marriages of convenience after aunts start dropping hints about kuchembera (getting old) to them. Because of this, both parties facing different pressure just hop into this marriage trap and hope for the best but expecting the worst. There is no love involved. That is why after the lavish wedding has been done away with and it’s one or two babies later, things start to boil in the marriage. They are tired of faking it to please relatives & society. They can’t pretend to love anymore. That’s when the cheating and fighting start. In case you haven’t noticed, people are not cheating with strangers anymore. They are going back to their old lovers, ex-s and first loves. I’m sure marriage counsellors can testify to the numbers concerning this.
I think it’s time we really started marrying people we truly love and are willing to spend the rest of our lives with. Marriage is for two people. As a parent, you might not necessarily like the girl your son is marrying but understand that it’s about him, not you. You raised him to be self-sufficient, didn’t you? Let him decide for himself then. Don’t pressure your daughter to hurry off to any men. Her time has not yet come. Her Prince Charming is still shining his armor somewhere. People choose who they love and we have to accept it. I have chosen Miley Cyrus and I’m still yet to tell my family this. Maybe I will wait for them to find out in this post. LOL