Friday, July 27, 2007
Mugabe Duped By Mystic
Zimbabwe Duped By Mystic
Mugabe Regime Hunts Spiritual Medium After Miracle Rock Comes Up Empty
Since taking control of Zimbabwe in 1980, President Robert Mugabe has piloted the once-prosperous south African nation into the kind of tailspin that makes "Leaving Las Vegas" appear upbeat. And yet despite a list of political and economic missteps longer than ODB's rap sheet, his latest move still seems admirably idiotic. With inflation hovering around 1.5 million percent and massive fuel shortages the de-facto dictator did what any sensible head of state would. According to a number of reports, he pinned his hopes on a witch doctor who claimed to be have a magic rock from which diesel fuel oozed.
Rotina Mavhunga the "traditional healer" in question, made headlines in April when she announced the discovery of "hundreds of years" worth of the refined fuel within a boulder on top of a hilltop shrine in the Chinhoyi district. The 35-year-old and her followers explained that it was "a gift from ancestral spirits who saw their children suffering because of the shortages of fuel," (presumably they were recently departed spirits given their familiarity with petrol-chemical technology). In May, she officially opened "the diesel plant" with a ritual ceremony, but cautioned "that the diesel would dry up and disappear if other traditional leaders did not follow her orders or if it was exported," (anti-trade spirits?).
Acting quickly, the Mugabe government dispatched a task-force including three members of the Politburo to investigate this "manna from heaven" while a palpable frenzy of anticipation took hold of Zimbabwe. However those dreams were dashed this week with the news that the rocks were in fact barren of fuel! Reports followed that 50 disciples of Mavhunga were under arrest for failing to perform what experts would call a miracle. Though not formally charged yet, Mavhunga is on the run and Secretary for Information and Publicity Cde Nathan Shamuyarira called her actions "some form of a gimmick."
Mr. Wilbert Guahavanhu, of Zimbabwe's embassy press office downplayed the story, informing me that it was "silliness" to believe a refined fuel could come out of rocks. "Anyone who has studied science knows such things are impossible," he said. Given that, I ask him on two separate occasions why his government had dispatched such a high level team of investigators to probe such crack-pot scheme. He explained at first that during the war of liberation, colonial powers may have used rocks to store diesel fuel. When we spoke again however he admitted it would be implausible to drill holes in boulders and fill them with fuel, and that the investigation was conducted because of photographs showing fuel coming out of the rocks and eye witness reports.
Clearly desperate times lead to desperation with people willing to grasp onto any shred of hope no matter how ridiculous. But given the track record it seems like the regime might have better chance of getting blood from a stone than turning around Zimbabwe's economy. Now, how long can it be before someone suggests that as solution for the nation's blood bank deficits?
By Emil Steiner | July 25, 2007
Posted by lmurx at 6:46 PM