Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)
March 18, 2007
Posted to the web March 19, 2007
I normally pay little more than brief, amused attention to the barely cogent
and semi-literate scribblings of George, er, Nathaniel Manheru and his
equally incoherent sidekick Caesar Zvayi. However, given the current climate
in Zimbabwe, I feel that their bumbling efforts to practice the Big Lie
touch upon issues too important for the future of the country to be simply
dismissed with a wry chuckle.
Key to the government's efforts to justify its brutal and unwarranted
crackdown on its own citizens is the assertion that the people of Zimbabwe
are a contented lot who would quietly go about their happy lives were it not
for the evil machinations of the -- choose your epithet -- "imperialists,"
"former colonialists," or "racists/Westerners/enemies." The government's
spin doctors' current favourite "example" is the story they have fabricated
from thin air about my alleged meeting with Morgan Tsvangarai and Arthur
Mutambara at the Bronte Hotel in Harare on 9 January.
This meeting, according to the spin doctors, is the sole reason Zimbabweans
today are increasingly vocal in their protests against the government and
determined to push for change. To lend their fantasy the appearance of fact,
Messrs. Manheru and Zvayi (unably abetted by the pseudo-intellectual
rantings of Tafataona Mahoso in The Sunday Mail and a legion of faceless
Herald Reporters), have invented colourful details: the size of each side's
delegation, a cash-filled briefcase , etc.
The facts are somewhat different: 1) on the date of the supposed meeting I
was in Bulawayo, on vacation with visiting family. In fact, if anyone wants
to check for themselves, they can go to the Natural History Museum there and
see where I signed the guest book (I realise that the relevant page is
likely to disappear in "mysterious circumstances" when this is published,
but never mind: there are other witnesses who can verify that I was indeed
in Bulawayo on that day, including diplomats and, of course, the ubiquitous
CIO, which tracked me throughout my holiday); 2) I have never set foot
inside the Bronte Hotel and was unaware of its very existence until Zvayi
kindly brought it to my attention; 3) the first and only time I have ever
met jointly with Tsvangarai and Mutambara was courtesy of the Government of
Zimbabwe. That meeting took place last Tuesday, 13 March in Magistrates'
Court 6 in Harare. I think we can all offer the government a large vote of
thanks for bringing these two leaders together and giving them an
opportunity to get to know each other better.
One can only imagine just how badly the government misses the services of
the former Minister of Information, who knew that to tell the Big Lie
successfully, one had to get the little lies right. I humbly suggest that
the spin doctors could do with a few lessons from their Professor, or since
time for them is growing short, that they look back to history to consult
the original writings on the Big Lie for some badly needed advice.
Meanwhile, the unfortunate people of Zimbabwe will continue to grapple with
the sad truth that their lives have been made a living hell thanks to the
failed policies of a failing regime.
Christopher W Dell