Muckracker: The Second Republic’s phantom jobs

Zimbabweans, our owner said, should not be shy to make money because he had created the necessary environment to do so.

"MORE jobs are coming: President’ screamed a headline in one of the weeklies at the weekend. In it, we were told that our owner has put in place “policies that create a conducive environment for employment creation in the formal and informal sectors that will continue to be vigorously implemented under the Second Republic to deliver more jobs to the people”.

If that sounded familiar, it is because it is! On July 8, 2018, a “noisepaper” from the same stable ran an enthusiastic headline: More jobs coming: ED, with the Herald of absolute truth running a similar headline four days later.

Back then, we were told that our hurumende (government) had lined up multiple economic stimulus programmes that would create thousands of decent jobs and usher in a middle-class economy by 2030.

“We now want more action than talk,” our owner thundered.

Since then, we have had … more talk and so little action that he has resorted to opening bakery plants.

Jobs are key to making any economy functional and it is a task that our owner and his cronies have failed dismally at.

That did not stop our owner from beating his own drum: “In line with the ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ philosophy, my government is continuing to foster an environment, which provides employment and self-employment opportunities for all categories of our people.”


The question of jobs in Zimbabwe has always been a curious mix of guesswork and outright lies, mostly because our owners are not keen to advertise their failures at what is supposed to be their basic day-to-day job.

A vending youth

In February this year, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) said only 46,3% of Zimbabwe’s working age population were employed. It said the working age population was 8,6 million, of which only four million were in active employment.

The devil, however, was in the detail. According to Zimstat, about half of the “employed” were in the informal sector, that is vendors, hustlers, hwindis (touts), etc.

Earlier statistics showed that the national proportion of youths aged between 15 and 34 years, who were not in employment, education or training was estimated at 50%. In other countries, that would be a recipe for a revolution.

Middle-class economy by 2030? Zviroto zviroto, as our previous owner used to say before his army commanders cancelled his lease to rule, landing him in a Singaporean hospital where he died.

Muck can see that our owner is not comfortable talking about his failures. It is interesting how one daily newspaper reported his statements at the Bulawayo function.

Zimbabweans, our owner said, should not be shy to make money because he had created the necessary environment to do so.

“We must not be shy to make money.  Where we are creating an economic environment for those who want to excel, there is no limit. Make money, make money the best way you can.”

So, here we are Zimbabweans, hustle. Our owner has created the necessary environment for you to hustle for daily living, not to look for a job. Even those in employment know better than to wait for the monthly paycheck. That is why in most government offices, and even in the private sector, everyone is selling something to someone.

New love, Sir Wicknell?

But there is no better hustler than the self-knighted Sir Wicknell Chivayo. The man who achieved notoriety by legally getting paid for not doing a job he got a tender for. He is not letting his past as an ex-convict hold him back.

Last week, he was showing off his new baby, the US$7 million mansion in Harare’s Shawasha suburb on social media.

Except the mansion used to be owned by none other than the self-exiled former head policeman, Augustine Chihuri. Chihuri lost the mansion in 2020 when the National Prosecuting Authority seized it as part of an investigation into his alleged “unexplainable wealth”.

Chihuri, it appears, was the only service chief who failed to read the way political winds were blowing in 2017 when his fellow comrades turned their guns on their erstwhile boss to cancel his rulership lease by force. He later fled to Malawi, alleging that he had fallen out with the new owner of the country over a woman.

Things men get into trouble for!

Well, Wicknell now owns his house, worth US$7 million. Because he chose to fly where eagles do not dare.  

And he has not wasted anytime to make it to his liking, with reports suggesting he had the mansion refurbished by South African high-end firm Norman Bakos at an estimated cost of over R2 million (US$110 000).

His lawyers said he had purchased the mansion from an unnamed trust. It is also not clear how that trust took it over from the NPA.

This is a man who claimed he could not find someone to love him for himself, saying that his two children were the only ones who really loved him “without any strings or expectations of financial benefits”.

“The rest makateya mari ndiri kukuzivayi hangu (all you want is my money),” he wrote.

After spending millions of United States dollars buying flashy cars for anyone who passes for a musician, he had to get something jaw-dropping for himself.

If his recent Instagram story is to be believed, Wicknell wants to outdo his rather virile grandfather who had a dozen wives. And he has a mansion to house them in. He posted a nice video of the new pad, complete with some aerial shots to inspire the single women out there to focus on the money and the mansion and convince themselves to love the man as he is.

What it is to be Wicknell!

Tangled in Zany politics

The ruling Zany party politics is not for the faint-hearted.

The late former Zany spox and minister, Simon Khaya Moyo, once said after the 2017 leadership change that ushered in our new overlord: “I am still trying to get my head around it. One day I am reading a statement expelling Emmerson Mnangagwa, and the next day I am reading a statement expelling (Robert) Mugabe and praising Mnangagwa.”

It is clear that the owner wants to extend his rulership lease to 2030 and beyond (instead of clocking off in 2028) at whatever the cost, but cannot find a legal loophole to allow him the pleasure.

To skip the headache and possible legal humiliation associated with constitutional amendments to facilitate the power heist, he is exploring new alternatives.

“Now the new plan under consideration is to amend the constitution and electoral law to de-harmonise elections, with the effect of holding parliamentary polls in 2028; presidential election in 2030. That’s different from a third term and it’s less complex,” reports suggest.

The other option maybe to make a deal with the quisling Sengezo Tshabangu’s Chava Chinhu Chedu (CCC)(It’s now ours) for a “government of national unity” and abolish the elections.

There may still be four years before we are supposed to choose a new owner and those who will eat from the high table, but the battle to keep Mukuru’s mouth on the feeding trough is going to get messier and more complicated.

And there will be many victims along the way.

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