The Standard


12 The Standard September 14 to 20 2014

Comment & Analysis / Opinion

Building a political

career around

orphanage wrong



Naturally, what people do

and how they carry themselves

around speak better

for them than having to use

words to build an identity.

Imagine if Oliver Mtukudzi

“Tuku” would take every opportunity

to tell us that he is a great

musician? That would take much

from his stature. It makes much

sense to let the music speak for

him. To get the guitars, drums

and other instruments spread the

message, to give his versatility a

chance to interact with the audience.

It is a skill to be able to leave

music reviewers to critique his

work, then to take lessons therefrom

without prejudice. Humanity

values humility.

Events in the political arena

have given us Grace Mugabe as

the incoming Women’s League

boss come the December Zanu

PF elective congress. She is taking

over from war cadre Oppah

Muchinguri who recently conceded

that her next political appointment

depends on Robert Mugabe.

She had to give way for amai,

so she says, because as women,

they felt they had to do something

for her to acknowledge the

good work she has done being the

pillar upon which the President

rests. Isn’t that as it should be for

husband and wife?

For years, people compared the

First Lady with Mugabe’s first

wife, Sally, who was a compassionate

woman. When Grace established

an orphanage in Mazowe,

I thought she was finally

going to exonerate herself from

the mean woman tag, extravagant

and worshipping on the altar

of opulence. She followed that

up by building a school in the

area to “educate the orphans”.

She has been on a spree to acquire

more and more land without

a care what happens to people

who used to occupy the surrounding

farms. She also plans to build

a hospital, a museum and a university

in the area.

What becomes repulsive at the

end of the day is that she has

turned that orphanage into a political

spring board. Instead of

leaving the philanthropic work

to do the talking for her, she has

turned Mazowe into some personal

political space.

Zanu PF women, youths and

now the chiefs are visiting her at

the orphanage to pronounce their

support and endorsement for the

position of the powerful women’s

league boss. It is given that she

will take over because she won’t

be contested at congress. The

stampede is just to curry favour

with her and the President.

Are we witnessing an abuse

of the under-privileged to further

powerful people’s ambitions?

Yes, she has given the children a

home and hope of a bright future,

but is she turning them into initiates

of Zanu PF’s partisan politics

by engulfing them with slogans

every now and then? It was

at Mazowe that she declared that

she is “strict but firm”, threatening

to pull bigger punches against

enemies and promising to rein in

those who dared stand in her way.

Grace Mugabe

Some orphans and care workers at Grace Mugabe’s Mazowe orphanage.

She used language so bad it

should not come out of a head of

state’s wife, so vicious it can’t be

said within children’s earshot; so

intimidating that it instils fear

when people need to feel confident

and safe in their own country.

The language is so telling of

dictatorial leadership on the way.

Why use the orphanage as a political

selling point? Where is the

compassion? Is she using it as

a tool to reach the hearts of the

electorate ahead of the congress?

A means to an end. A launch pad

for her political career.

Surely the insincerity of it

cannot escape us all.

Parents should not shoulder burden of education

The Rural Teachers Union

of Zimbabwe (RTUZ) is saddened

and stunned by the

stance taken by Primary and Secondary

Education minister Lazarus

Dokora of calling for the

reprimanding of the poor parents

who fail to raise tuition fees

for their children as was reported

in the media. It is disgusting that

Dokora unashamedly continues,

to call for legal action against poverty-stricken

parents yet it is the

duty and responsibility of the government

to fund education. Article

27 of the Zimbabwe constitution

clearly states that the government

should fund basic education,

hence calling for the arrest of “defaulting

parents” is unconstitutional.

The RTUZ urges the minister to

reconsider and withdraw his uninformed

and capitalistic stance

of lobbying for the privatisation

of education. RTUZ wishes to advise

the minister to stop being a

stumbling block but instead be

a building block that encourages

the government to exercise its

duty of funding education instead

of threatening the poor parents.

RTUZ would also want to urge

the government to prioritise the

education sector if the empowerment

mantra is supposed to be a reality

because education is the pragmatic

empowerment tool that can

capacitate citizens. That the government

only contributed a paltry

US$600 000 as compared to Unicef ’s

US$2,4million towards the Capacity

Development Programme, clearly

shows that the government is reluctant

to contribute towards education

yet millions are channeled

to the army and police as if we are

a country at war.

While the Capacity Development

Programme is a good initiative

by Unicef (and not by government

as reported in the media),

RTUZ urges those responsible

for the implementation of

the programme to ensure that the

programme is lopsided in favour




of rural teachers. This will lure

qualified personnel to teach in

rural areas, which in return will

boost pass rates.

RTUZ would also like to make

it clear that it supports government

on the idea of curriculum

review. However, the association

urges government to engage all

relevant stakeholders in the implementation

of this long overdue

curriculum review initiative. It

is also our hope that the curriculum

review will not be politicised,

but instead, the new curriculum

should be beneficial to the learners

in preparing them for life after

school. In other words, the curriculum

should not be tailor made

Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora

to suit hegemonic agendas of certain

individuals or political parties

as has been the case before.

Lastly, RTUZ hopes that the curriculum

review will be a panacea

for fashioning and producing

learners that will be effective in

community building as far as development

is concerned. Therefore,

it is important that whoever

will implement the programme be

non-partisan and well-informed;

otherwise the curriculum review

will end up being an ideological

tool of some egocentric and parochial

individuals for hammering

their propaganda into the heads

of our children.

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