Alex Massie

Zimbabwe’s Dr Benito Speaks!

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Many thanks to Isaac Chotiner for pointing out the latest example of what he rightly considers to be Scoop-turned-fact. One the one hand, Zimbabwe's opposition leaders are being detained, on the other there's the confiscation of American food-aid which, rather than reach its intended target, was requisitioned to feed ZANU-PF supporters. When the Americans complained about their convoy being hijacked...

Wayne Bvudzijena, spokesman for Zimbabwe’s national police, did not respond to the substance of Mr. McGee’s charge when contacted on his cellphone on Wednesday, but instead contended that there was no place named Bambazonke in Zimbabwe.

“If you can go back to the honorable ambassador and verify your facts, madam,” Mr. Bvudzijena said, then hung up.

In an interview, Mr. Kagurabadza, the former mayor of nearby Mutare, confirmed that Bambazonke did exist. It also appears on a recent report of parliamentary constituencies by election monitors. But when the American ambassador, Mr. McGee, and Karen Freeman, the Usaid mission director in Zimbabwe, met Tuesday with a senior official at the Foreign Ministry, they were presented with a similar denial.

Mr. McGee said the official told them, “I’ve never head of this place Bambazonke. Are you certain this even happened?”

The ambassador added, “At the end of the argument, he promised he would look into the situation and get back to us.”

Now clearly, this is pretty reprehensible, ugly stuff and lord knows poor Zimbabwe has suffered enough at the hands of Mugabe and his goons, but, by god, when officials start carrying on in this fashion one gets the feeling, somehow, that it can't actually last much longer. Can it? Then again, maybe the Americans were really dashing off to find  - and deliver aid to - the city of Laku.

Previous Scoop-related material here and, with regard to Bill Deedes, here.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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