By Tinomudaishe Chinyoka
You just have to love this country, honestly. We do not let a good crisis pass by without creating a joke or something memorable around it.
What is the most memorable aspect of Mr Chamisa’s trip to survey the damage caused by Cyclone Idai? Certainly not the fact that by going there, by highlighting the devastation and bringing the media to the area, he drew the spotlight on what needed to be done and put government on the spot (this is what opposition politicians must do). Instead, it is that call to the aide to come take a good picture: “Maikoro, dovuya kuno….”
He was at it again, if the jokes are to be believed, at their congress. A grown man is seen tying his shoes, my young brother waiting patiently while this goes on. Someone claimed on Twitter that he had yelled “Maikoro, come and tie my shoes”, but no one knows if that happened. Maikoro might not even have been there. But, you get the picture.
We have found ways to create jokes around the fuel shortages, and we tell these even when we are queuing for the juice. My daughter was telling me the other day that she heard someone say: “unonzwa munhu ari mu kombi achiti apa fuel iripo as they pass a service station and you wonder kuti zvinei naye, anoda kudira mushangu peturu yacho?”
Then there is the brilliant “it will work, you won’t work.” I have no idea what the Vice President was saying, and l know that if l watch the whole video clip I will know, because context is everything, but I don’t want to watch it: it might spoil the joke.
I just like how our youths can create whole narratives around their leaders by caricaturing their speech.
I like this type of democracy where people can caricature their leaders, not the one where we arrest drunk people for saying “Mugabe ava chikwambo”. That is not a crime, just an opinion. I have friends on the other side of the political divide who must be kicking themselves right now that they didn’t support my appointment as PG because they would have been able to freely go around saying ED wat wat without censure.
Saying which, the amount of jokes that have been made, many at my expense and involving feeding troughs, around this job, just crack me up. But the most recent left some people in stitches: top lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu is running an application to challenge Mr Hodzi’s appointment as PG. The matter was listed for hearing recently.
As an interested party (if he wins, I might join the feeding trough -as the joke goes), I went to watch the proceedings. When the case was postponed because the papers are currently a dog’s breakfast (Maikoro, come help Thabani index the court bundle!), I approached the top lawyer and said I was unhappy he hadn’t won my case on that day as it meant another wait before I join the feeding trough. He and other lawyers laughed when I pointed out that l would still not pay him a commission.
Then there are the jokes about my party’s secretary for youth affairs. Apparently, many people are not happy that he himself is not a youth. They miss the point that you don’t get a patient to run a hospital, or a homeless person to devise and run a housebuilding and mortgage company. You just hire expertise. And who better than someone who was a youth and has raised youths, to guide youths? But, you hear jokes upon jokes about my comrade and you laugh because, this is Zimbabwe.
You just have to love this country.
We are of course the country that has decided to have people choose to officially called by what they do, like it’s some kind of professional title. Advocate so and so (guilty as charged) sounds much better than Mr so and so. Engineer this and that, prophet lokuzeni and apostle nhingi.
Talking of apostles, what about how we always like to express ourselves in English even pachisingakwani? An apostle died a few days back, and a prophetess (yes, another career) gave an interview to the media: “He died when he was coming from a prayer mountain which shows that he was a true man of God.” Ko kungoti “vashayika vachibva kugomo kunonamata, kunamata kwavanga vafambira kunoratidza kuti vanga vari munhu wamwari” zvinei? Because that English line kinda suggests something very disturbing about this god’s ways of rewarding those who go to pray in mountains. (As an aside, Mr Chamisa should avoid mountains, but then again Maikoro won’t have opportunities to take good pictures.)
But, the biggest joke of all is what has just come out of Gweru. Someone’s good friend (surely?) Mr Morgan Komichi is out of a job. How did this happen you wonder? This is after all the guy that grabbed the media’s attention when he hijacked ZEC’s results announcements to grab the mic and tell the world that the results they were being told were “fek”. Not ‘fake’, but “fek”. There is a difference.
Well, what happened in Gweru came about in a truly comically Zimbabwean way.
It was Mr Komichi that went around the country saying “there is no vhakanzi at the top.” On and on he said it and left many luminaries of their party with no choice but to target the next best thing: the job one step below the top. Except for one problem: that was also Komichi’s job!
So, you go around the country telling everyone that there are no vhakanziz at the top, you get yourself arrested for loyalty by demonizing Mwonzora to please the dear leader and what do you get: a no vhakanzi result for you in your own job application, because it has gone to those that once left.
Too bad he can’t hire the top lawyer, at least not yet. Because you see, Advocate Thabani Mpofu is still busy on that PG appointment challenge. That day, when I mentioned to him that l had come to watch him win my job so that I could join the feeding trough, Advocate Mpofu laughed, and then told me that a friend had also been of two minds about the same application, saying: “I want you to win, but if Hodzi goes Chinyoka atopinda apa and that would be bad …”
In other words, according to Advocate Thabani Mpofu’s friend, it must work, but if it works it won’t work and that cannot work so it must not work.
Which makes perfect sense: when you know you know.
Tinomudaishe Chinyoka is a Harare based lawyer and a member of the ruling Zanu PF party