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Zimbabwe’s clueless parliamentarians
08/07/2014 00:00:00
by Moses Chamboko
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WHEN university graduates sell airtime on street corners to survive while grade two drop-outs discuss national issues in Parliament, the results are too ghastly to contemplate.

However, when a university graduate who accidentally makes it to Parliament at a very young age courtesy of the female quota system opens her mouth for the very first time to say that there is no poverty in Zimbabwe and unemployment statistics are exaggerated, it becomes confusing whether education makes people more informed citizens or not.

A young unemployed graduate whose first job is to become a parliamentarian should appreciate better the challenges faced by multitudes of fellow graduates roaming the streets, some with much better qualifications but working as airtime vendors, fuel attendants or chicken farmers.

The discord from one Melody Dziva demonstrates that over the years, particularly in the recent past, our parliament has literally gone to the dogs. We now have a raft of clueless people who became MPs by accident or through dubious connections telling Zimbabweans that there is no poverty in Zimbabwe.

Tionei Melody Dziva believes that the best measure of poverty is the sight of dead bodies lying all over the streets. This youthful MP doesn’t seem to understand the difference between poverty and genocide. According to her, for as long as Zimbabweans have some semblance of breath in their lungs, they can’t be poor. If this is the correct definition of wealth, the ability to breathe, then nobody on earth is poor.

Not long ago, Irene Zindi, who joined politics most likely when Melody Dziva was still in nappies, openly admitted that MPs were wallowing in abject poverty to the extent of just putting up a brave face in public when they can’t even afford daily basics. Now, if this is true, what more of ordinary Zimbabweans who have nothing to do, literally? MP Dziva, when does poverty become poverty?

Is Melody aware that there are several kids dropping out of school daily because parents can’t afford fees? Is she aware that there are multitudes who sleep on the streets without food or blankets? Has she heard of thousands of workers who go for months without pay? Does she know that there are several urban families that have literally forgotten about running water and electricity? Is this not poverty?


Parliament must not be a place for clueless clowns and buffoons moving around with the undeserved title of “Honourable so and so”. Sydney Malunga, Lazarus Nzarayebani, Eddison Zvobgo, Byron Hove, Hebert Ushewokunze and many other past luminaries of our great parliament must be turning in their graves when they listen to today’s generation of clueless MPs.

No wonder why some of these dishonourable MPs recently travelled to Beijing on disability air tickets where they dramatically got stranded after a shopping spree. Indeed, some if not most of these people are disabled, in one way or the other. At a very young age and in her first term as proportional representation beneficiary, Tionei Dziva has sadly joined this band of shameless or disabled MPs, rather too quickly!

There are many MPs who are known for snoring in parliament, only to get up when it’s time to vote or have snacks. Dziva is better advised to join this team than open her mouth to say there is no poverty in Zimbabwe and that unemployment is exaggerated. This is worse when such waffling is said in front of desperate youths who have literally given up searching for employment because there is simply no light at the end of the tunnel.

South Africa, with its relatively strong economy, is grappling with a staggering 20% unemployment rate. Yet, in Zimbabwe, Zanu PF zealots masquerading as economists or MPs tell us that unemployment is around 11%. Maybe those who are unemployed must now form a very strong visible movement, the Unemployed Movement of Zimbabwe and pour onto the streets demanding jobs. Probably that’s when somebody will realise how dire the situation is.

If a tertiary graduate survives on selling airtime or wares on the streets, it is not full employment but just a survival tactic. Tionel Melody Dziva and other like-minded ZANU PF cheer-leaders must take a few moments to reflect on a simple economic concept called underemployment before they become obsessed with ZANU PF’s warped perception of employment.

Lastly, Patrick Chinamasa must choose between revenue and an informal economy. These are mutually exclusive. You can’t have your cake and eat it!

Moses Chamboko is a pro-democracy activist and Interim Secretary General for ZUNDE. He writes in his personal capacity. You may visit ZUNDE at www.zunde.org or email info@zunde.org

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