Thursday, November 03, 2005

Swatting out the truth

In Shona we have a great saying to the effect that the truth will always come out, "Rinamanyanga hariputirwe mumushunje." Translated literally this mean you cannot wrap anything with horns in newspaper. This saying came to mind as I was browsing through the Herald's coverage of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union congress. A pretty funny thing happened right before our very noses all courtesy of the aforementioned truth and the Herald's failing attempts to gloss over the governments mistakes.

On Monday, November 1, the paper carried an article under the by line Zim’s agric production declines in which Slyvester Nguni, the deputy minister of agriculture, is quoted blasting the land reform program and its entailments as the reason behind the decline in agricultural production.
"We have a few people that are really committed to production while many others are doing nothing on the farms. The problem is that we gave land to people lacking the passion for farming and this is why every year production has been declining. Granted, drought has taken its toll on production, but the biggest letdown has been that people without the faintest idea of farming got land and the result has been declining agricultural output.’

'The truth of the matter is that the maize price is not very attractive. Even if we did not have a drought we were still going to import as farmers turn to more lucrative crops — and this is the truth.'

'What sort of an audit team is it that leaves out farmers and only includes officers who do not even know the kind of problems farmers face?’’ asked some farmers, adding farmers’ problems can best be solved by farmers themselves and not people who spend their working time in offices.'"
Someone must not have like this much truth seeping to the public. Not an admission of failure! No way, this government is immune to errors. Desperate to alter the tone of its coverage, the Herald published another article quoting Nguni's boss watering down all the positives things they'd quoted him saying a day earlier. They have some gems for quotes in this one. Read carefully.
"THE decline in the country’s agricultural production has been caused by a combination of drought and illegal sanctions imposed by Britain and her allies, the Minister of Agriculture Dr Joseph Made has said.

Traditionally, communal farmers used to produce 75 to 80 percent of maize and almost 100 percent of cotton but that is no longer possible because of the drought," said Dr Made.

"They stood tall-to-tall with the former white commercial farmers before the advent of drought but they have now been incapacitated by these challenges."

The minister criticised former white commercial farmers for reportedly vandalising property on the farms after the acquisition of their farms by Government.

"These former white commercial farmers are now misleading the international community that the land reform programme was a failure when they are the culprits. Only 15 to 35 percent of their land was producing, leaving the rest of their land idle but our new farmers have the capacity to do well once they are fully supported."
Tall to tall? What the heck is that? Didn't he want to say "eye to eye?" Was the minister seriously saying that he thought subsistence farmer could produce output that stood "tall to tall" with commercial farmers? But then again this is the same guy who hopped on a helicopter to take a tour of the country's agricultural production a couple years ago. After the jaunt he boistrously declared that the country was going to have a bumper harvest which didn't materialize.

He might have been in the same chopper when he made his reality defying discovery that a subsistence farmer matches a commercial farmer in output! Here, I have a name for the chopper, we'll christian it Air Lies 1.

Parents beware, do anything you can to keep your children from going to the University of Wisconsin schools, this is where this lying scoundrel got his education. I'm not sure at what level they introduce the air survey of agricultural produce. Bachelor's? Master's? Doctoral?

I digress.

My point was to show you the great lengths the Herald went to try and cover up the truth Nguni had told in their newspaper, but "rinamanyanga hariputirwe mumushunje."

  • << Home