This and that. Blatter, breakfast and power

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🔴 Jacob Zuma and Sepp Blatter.

So farewell, Mr Blatter. You are stepping down after 17 years in power because you no longer have the full support of world football.

During the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, I arrived, by mistake, at a press conference venue ridiculously early. Blatter came in with aides to  see that all was set for the media and beckoned to me to follow him, for a smorgasbord breakfast in the luxurious VIP area nearby, as it turned out. He poured me coffee and recommended the chocolate-laced croissants. No Full Monte English breakfast here, but a huge array of continental delicatessen – fresh baguettes, cheeses, salami, baby shrimp, prosciutto, smoked beef and so on. He sat me down and waved away the hovering aides and South African security men.

I liked him immediately. He was courteous, charming, most agile of mind and witty and he had that fascinating aura of enormous power, just like two other men of small physical stature I met over the years who impressed me with their intellect and bonhomie, Yasser Arafat and King Hassan of Morocco. None of them ever let out an unguarded word in these social encounters; they diplomatically kept all remarks on matters in hand to their official, public pronouncements later.

Whatever the outcome of the FIFA scandal and the ultimate fate of my very wealthy and most genial breakfast companion, at least Swiss-born Blatter, 79, fell on his sword in the early stages, recognising he was presiding over a diminishing constituency and football’s governing body was irrevocably tainted by greed and corruption over 25 years.

Hereabouts, we all know all about tainted governance and the whys and the wherefores of it. And long ago we knew bribes not as bribes but as a ‘commission’ on a deal or a ‘facilitation payment’ for efforts to help seal one, words helpfully provided to us by the Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi.

 

🔴 Less power.

I was right. Power cuts of up to 18 hours a day starting in June as the winter months begin to bite. I was off for 17 hours yesterday, and off again today way before dawn. The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company says it has planned a ‘load-shedding” schedule allowing for eight hour daily cuts everywhere now, but that should be treated only as a guide since power supply and demand are “dynamic.” In other words, anything can happen. Don’t be sure you can watch your favourite football team, with or without Sepp Blatter at the helm.

A friend says it’s better to cuddle up to a curvaceous partner on these cold, darkened nights but beware: “children will start dropping like avocados from the tree.”

The late great Eddison Zvobgo once said in this country we don’t care much for family planning, known in the early days of independence as child spacing.

To many of us, he said, “child spacing is having one in Harare, one in Bulawayo, one in Mutare and one in Masvingo.”

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