Phew: 2011 what an eventful year

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The year 2011, was an eventful one for Zimbabwean politics.

The whistleblower website WikiLeaks was undoubtedly the biggest noise or newsmaker in 2011 with sensational revelations of clandestine meetings between American diplomats and high-ranking members of Zanu PF and the MDCs.

Details of meetings contained in diplomatic cables destined for Washington but intercepted by WikiLeaks clearly revealed for the first time both Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe did not fully enjoy the loyalty of their lieutenants as previously imagined.

The likes of Vice President Joice Mujuru, Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo at one time Nicodemously sought out US representatives to discuss the shortcomings of their leader while praising him in the public domain.

Self-imposed exiled MDC-T treasurer Roy Bennett, for so long believed to be one of Tsvangirai’s most trusted advisors, was quoted saying the MDC-T leader took advice from the last person he spoke to.

It was no surprise when the Premier appointed Bennett deputy Agriculture minister despite President Mugabe’s contestations.

There was constant speculation as to who the last person Tsvangirai could have spoken to before engaging on the much-publicised romantic relationship with Harare businesswoman Lorcadia Tembo and Bulawayo-based Loretta Nyathi.

Nyathi claimed she had a two-year-old son with the PM while Tembo moved to his Buhera home after her family claimed he had paid $36 000 in lobola in November.

As if those indiscretions were not enough, Tsvangirai let the marriage saga run without a word of comment as though he was a bystander, in the process threatening to dent the image that his party had painstakingly built over the years.

The public got no joy from his spin-doctors and finally when he decided to clear the air, he stuttered with two Press statements being issued in quick succession.

The entire episode enabled lesser mortals the chance to grab their own 15 minutes of fame which the media was only too happy to afford them.

Little known Chief Negomo of Mazowe came to the fore and made headlines by summoning Tsvangirai over the “marriage” and subsequently fined him two beasts for violating cultural taboos by paying lobola in the sacred month of November.

Tsvangirai has rejected the ruling. Enter the youthful Minister Saviour Kasukuwere talking tough on the indigenisation programme, which is ostensibly about empowering previously disadvantaged indigenous Zimbabweans.

Share ownership schemes were unveiled where some leading mining and commercial concerns had to cede at least 10% ownership to local communities in which they operate.

The controversial programme drew the ire of the MDC, business sector and even Gono who reportedly described it as “playing with economic gunpowder”.

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara proved to be a real showman by appearing to accept the loss of the presidency of the other faction of the MDC to Welshman Ncube.

But like an accomplished stuntman, he performed a stunning somersault to refuse to vacate the presidency and many star-struck MPs including the deputy Speaker of Parliament Nomalanga Khumalo abandoned Ncube and pledged their allegiance to Mutambara.

Evidently, Bulawayo High Court judge Lawrence Kamocha saw that the emperor had no clothes and ordered Mutambara to stop “masquerading” as president of the MDC.

The year was also not a good one for the country’s battered media industry with a number of journalists being unnecessarily incarcerated on criminal defamation charges.

Army commander Constantine Chiwenga was in the public eye over his “marriage” to Mary Mubaiwa, a 28-year-old former supermodel.

Some of the juicy titbits included revelations that the General allegedly paid in excess of
$40 000 for Mubaiwa, who is the ex-wife of former Warriors hit-man Shingi Kawondera.

On a sad note, the country endured the tragic losses of liberation war and post-independence Army Commander Solomon “Rex Nhongo” Mujuru as well as high-profile musicians Cephas Mashakada and Tongai Moyo and more recently Prince Tendai.

While Mujuru’s death in a blaze remains a mystery with speculations of foul play, Tongai Moyo fought a long and courageous, albeit losing battle, against cancer.