I almost shouted ‘batai munhu’ (catch, catch)

By Itai Dzamara

So on Tuesday l decided to do what in investigative journalism we call, ‘ambush interview’. I took time to visit parliament building in Harare, to do what l have done previously on several occasions. Just after 15:00 hrs, l was positioned for my mission.

Minister without Finance: Patrick Chinamasa
Minister without Finance: Patrick Chinamasa

After a few minutes Morgen Komichi came out. Immediately upon seeing him, my mind wandered, back to last year’s rigged elections, where he starred and ended up in prison, for presenting a ballot paper picked from a dust bin. We greeted, had a brief chat, and Komichi went to his car.

I was still digesting Komichi’s, rigged elections and the future of our country, when a tall, lean figure emerged through the exit at fast pace. Momentarily, the figure was a metre away from me. We recognised each other and greeted. It was Jonathan Moyo, looking deeply pensive and rushing.

He walked at a fast pace, towards Munhumutapa building, where his office is. A dark cloud replaced the Komichi story in my mind and conscience. Persecution by Moyo in 2004 when l was arrested over a true story and subjected to all sorts of threats in order to reveal my sources.  The cruel victimisation of many journalists.

I suddenly started laughing after saying to myself, ‘there he is again, minister of the same’. Still l had to wait for my real mission. Innocent Gonese came out, Paurina Mpariwa, Simbaneuta Mudarikwa. We just exchanged greetings. Next was Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, also looking very pensive.

My heart almost skipped as he came close to me – the possible next dictator, a mischievous part of the back of my mind quipped. I greeted him and he responded but without much attention or interest. Three men in suits immediately surrounded him, one taking over a file from his hand, another rushing to open the door of a waiting Mercedes.

They drove off, with a truck in tail. I wondered. Mnangagwa had been the only one with such an elaborate team of aides and security arrangement. But that wasn’t my mission.

A couple of other MPs came out and left. I didn’t see Tendai Biti or any of the rebels from the MDC. Maybe they were plotting somewhere, or conducting disciplinary hearings on Morgan Tsvangirai and others, l just imagined. Still, that wasn’t my mission.

At 16:52, my mission arrived.

Patrick Chinamasa emerged, holding a couple of white files. My adrenalin became stirred, and l was ready for action. He was very nice and calm as we greeted.

However, suddenly, he changed and became restless, agitated, after l had requested to interview him. He said. ”Aaa, no, no, l am not talking to journalists, l am not, please Dzamara. I have enough headaches.’ 

I wasn’t moved off immediately. I have enough experience to know what to do in such situations. So l walked by his side, matching his pace and fired my question, ready to record. Chinamasa frowned after hearing my question on the budget.
He threw his hands in the air.

I fired again, with slight change of words but, suddenly, we had reached his vehicle. He quickly opened the door and got inside. I inquired about setting an appointment, he nodded his head vigorously as expression of disagreement. He drove off, alone, no aide.

I watched his car turn into Nelson Mandela Avenue and started digesting. I understood why his secretary at the office has been shrugging off requests for appointment.

I laughed after that mischievous part of my mind suggested l should have shouted, batai munhu (catch, catch), when Chinamasa started his charge towards his car.It was quite poignant symbolism and reflection of the national disaster. The man with the purse can’t stand being asked about his fictitious budget.

That is how horrible the crisis has become. Yet, as always, Chinamasa, Robert Mugabe and the rest are fond of acting as if it’s business as usual. They want to continue living in fantasy, while running away from the reality.

At the hospitals, schools, government offices, production houses, the reality is further sinking into rot, death and gloom. Clearly, the nation must catch these fleeing clowns and failures to rescue people’s lives. There is need to urgently bring this national circus to an end.

Itai Dzamara is Editor-In-Chief of Trinity Media (Pvt) LTD , (Publishers of The News Leader and The News Leader on Sunday)