Miracles in Mugabe-land: Five stories you won't have read from Zimbabwe

2016-10-15 11:01


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Harare - How do you protect yourself from the Zimbabwe police if you're a regular protester looking to avoid the blunt end of a baton?

Buy a hard hat.

Here are five stories you won't have read from Zimbabwe in the last few days.

Not surprisingly, given corruption allegations that just won't go away against one prominent cabinet minister, the law has been a big preoccupation.

But then so has President Robert Mugabe.

AWKWARD QUESTIONS: It wasn't just Malawi's Peter Mutharika who was MIA this week. Where was Zimbabwe's soon-to-be-93-year-old president? He was reported to have gone on a one-day visit to Malaysia.

But that was last Friday. You can't blame Zimbabweans for app-ing a few questions to the Gleneagles "On Your Side" state-of-the-art hospital in Singapore where Mugabe is believed to be ..ahem... a frequent visitor.

@TrendsZim posted snapshots on Twitter of a Whatsapp exchange with Gleneagles. "The people of Zimbabwe are asking when President Mugabe will be discharged?" reads one question.

Three minutes later the reply pings back. "I'm unable to advise on this matter as it is private and confidential." Courteous, if nothing else.

(The president is back home now. Locals are guessing he'll be off again soon).

AWKWARD HELMETS: Unlike Mugabe, activist Sten Zvorwadza is doing what he can to avoid a stay in hospital.

Zvorwadza has been leading from the front in several anti-government protests (remember that heart-stopping video where he marches along the tiled foyer of Harare's Rainbow Towers to confront police trying to stop his protest against VP Phelekezela Mphoko's stay in the plush hotel?).

Zvorwadza knows what the Zimbabwe police are capable of so he's got himself some protection. The Daily News published a picture of Zvorwadza wearing what looks very much like a motorcycle helmet.

The activist says more helmets are coming into Zimbabwe for other protesters. But what does it say about a country when you need to protect yourself from the police with a helmet (and a cut-up onion for the tear-gas)?

THAT MOMENT WHEN A STUDENT TAKES ON A LECTURER: Zimbabwe's feisty advocate Fadzayi Mahere has finally come to the notice of Jonathan Moyo, the higher education minister who's having a spot of bother defending himself from allegations of misuse of public funds.

Moyo called her an "excitable, infantile and unethical cyberlawyer" in one exchange posted to FB on Monday.

There's one teensy-weensy problem. Moyo, along with at least two other cabinet colleagues from his G40 faction of Zanu-PF, is a law student at the University of Zimbabwe (he's now about a year into a part-time degree).

Mahere has done some law lecturing - at UZ, no less. When it comes to matters legal, Mahere may just have the upper hand. (PS: Who's the mystery man who sends her flowers?)

MIRACLES DON'T HAPPEN: Zimbabwe's miracle prophets have a lot to answer for. Remember Zimbabwe's popular prophet Uebert Angel promising crusade-goers money "in your pockets, hand bags and bank accounts" in 2012?

A similar promise (from a different prophet) got one Harare man into trouble, according to a reports in Newsday.

James Saunyama has told a court that he believed that money deposited into a bank account that had been erroneously linked to his cell number was - you got it - miracle money.

He claimed he'd been told to hand in his cell phone number during an Emmanuel Makandiwa service. So he spent the money. All $1 072 of it. Harare magistrate Arnold Maburo didn't buy his argument, according to Newsday.

Particularly since Saunyama changed the password on the banking app. 

Do miracles need passwords?

BUT MAGIC DOES: Walk through the streets of any town in Zimbabwe this month and you'll see the purple jacaranda magic that lifts your heart, despite the fact that your bank account and your salary is about to be reduced to probably-not-very-much when the government brings in its bond notes.

Blossoms apart, 17-year-old Bradley Muvhudzi is practising his own kind of eye-catching magic, according to the state ZBC broadcaster.

Says ZBC: "[Muvhudzi] is able to change the colour and shape of his shirt from a checked one to a plain colour or from a round collar to a v-necked collar, exhibiting a great touch of magic." Can he do the same with political party T-shirts, one wonders?

Could be useful. Could be very, very useful.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  jonathan moyo  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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