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Bad luck lotto, Grace Mugabe on Twitter: Five Zim stories you need to read

12 October 2016, 09:22News24 Correspondent

Harare - Did Grace Mugabe just tell Zimbabwe's former finance minister to be positive on Twitter? And why would you not want to win the lottery just now?

Here's a round-up of a few stories from Zimbabwe that you wouldn’t have seen in the last few days.

Grace Mugabe: Has Zimbabwe's first lady got a Twitter account? That's the tantalising possibility being put forward by Twitter handle @TeamGraceZW. It's not a new account but recent tweets have become... a lot more interesting. A video posted at the weekend shows President Robert Mugabe's incredibly-placid grandson Simbanashe being toted around by Malaysian First Lady Rosmah Mansor. There appears to be more than one person behind the handle: someone who refers to the first lady as "Mum" and someone who tries to make people think she's Grace. She promises to take people's complaints to "Baba" himself and claims she only joined Twitter because "my kids enjoy it". She's got some big name interlocutors: former finance minister Tendai Biti is one. Quite likely a spoof account but still worth watching. BTW: wasn't it Instagram the Mugabe boys liked?

"She lied": Remember Tafadzwa Musarara? The "analyst" who appeared on that first and only interview of Pastor Evan Mawarire on Zimbabwe radio in May? Listeners suspected he'd been brought into the programme only to rubbish Mawarire, who had launched his #ThisFlag protest the previous month. Musarara resurfaced this week with a bang - or rather a demand: $200 000 from the programme's anchor, bubbly Ruvenheko Parirenyatwa for "defaming" him, according to the privately-owned Newsday. He says Parirenyatwa's tweeted claim that she had not invited him onto the programme made listeners see him as a bully, court papers quoted by Newsday say. Let's just say that that interview did not end well for all concerned. Mawarire is now in exile and Parirenyatwa hasn't been allowed on air since. And Musarara had to close his Facebook account.

Lotto - but bad luck: You can't get worse timing than this. Pascal Masocha of Harare's Mufakose suburb has just won the biggest ever jackpot in Zimbabwe's Original Genuine Lotto. In a video posted to the lottery's Facebook page, Masocha says he didn't realise for more than a week that he'd scooped the $340 000 prize money. Not wanting to burst the bubble or anything but isn't this really bad timing? Bank withdrawal limits are down to as low as $50 per day. And with bond notes around the corner, there aren't many people who are going to say yes to the transfer of a large sum like this in payment for, let's say, a house. Zimbabweans have learned from bitter experience that it's not a good thing to have a large stash of cash in the bank.

No cash for school trip: Police were called in to a school in the eastern city of Mutare after students rioted when they were told there was no cash to hire a bus for a choir trip, the Manica Post reports. Authorities at the high school in Dangamvura suburb told pupils they hadn't been able to get the money out of the bank. Students responded by breaking windows and tipping over dustbins. Seems there's a history of missed excursions at this school. But still, the story's a salutary reminder that Zimbabwe's cash problems are already affecting the younger generation, not just Mum and Dad's pockets.

A surfeit of pastors: Why are so many Zimbabweans taking up theology degrees, asks Blaah Dee in his cool column in the Standard weekly. Is it because they really want to "save lost sheep" or is it because "there is so much money flying around in churches"? Maybe that used to be the case. Anecdotal evidence suggests cash shortages have deflated collection bags. Let's not forget that it was the prospect of bond notes that got Prophet Walter Magaya (one of Zimbabwe's most popular church leaders) upset in May. If these students are only starting their courses now, they've got three or four years before they'll be counting collections. Perhaps they, like everyone in Zanu-PF, are just getting ready for a post-Mugabe future.

- News24


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