By Leopold Munhende, Chief Correspondent
THE corrupt tendencies of some Zanu PF officials are a public secret, it is obvious; the opposition on the other hand has for long portrayed itself as an anti-graft, pro-people alternative and it is on those standards that it should be judged.
It is on no other basis that it should defend itself; and trivial, anti-people arguments that have arisen in the wake of revelations its 19 legislators have coerced parliament into giving them a US$40,000 purse should be dismissed in totality.
The court of public opinion has already found them guilty of lining personal pockets using taxpayers’ money and for clarity, that revered house has no appeal.
Ignore their Wednesday press conference defending themselves, they also want to eat. If that were not the case, those among them with houses in Harare already would not have signed up for the loans.
Only Harare North MP, Rusty Markham and the incarcerated Job Sikhala, who are, by the way, still in parliament on MDC Alliance tickets, are understood to not have signed the “loan” forms. The rest, including CCC deputy president Tendai Biti reportedly jostled for a piece of the stale pie.
Old Wine In New Bottles
Heaven on earth was promised when Zimbabwe won independence in 1980. Corruption, human rights abuses, persecution based on political preferences and self-aggrandisement were probably last on their list of things that could go wrong.
They were sure, and right they were too, that what awaited the demise of “an evil white regime” was milk and honey in Ophir. Who could blame them, Zanu PF and yes Zapu leaders had tongues coated in sugar.
With watershed elections set less than a year from the crime scene, Zimbabweans should be wary.
Zimbabweans should be wary of voting into office the same calibre of people that was voted for in 1980; people who have gone from being stung by lice in the trenches of Zambia to state controlling, untouchable multimillionaires against abject poverty in the ghetto and rural areas.
A respected former student leader, Tapiwanashe Chiriga remarked recently; “The appetite is surely to replace not change.”
“It is a symbol of authority and power. If you do not have it people will think you do not have power. They feel good when they see one of their own in power,” said an unapologetic Nelson Chamisa in 2019 after being handed a brand-new Mercedes Benz by Parliament.
The US$40,000 could just be another one example of power and an attempt at making ‘people feel good that some of their own are in power.
When Information Becomes King/Queen
Parliament, being a public institution, should share with taxpayers the names of those who will be getting these loans, especially the ones most vocal about welfare of ordinary folk, dilapidated infrastructure and human rights.
The electorate should know what to expect next year if they vote those on the list back into public office. There is nothing private about how money paid by sweating vendors, poorly dressed teachers, incapacitated nurses and pensioners is used.
Remember they pay, they are the employees and for them to raise US$40,000 at a monthly salary of US$100 means saving for 400 months or 33 years without eating anything, buying any clothes or covering any other expense.
A list has to be published, it has to be published in publicly owned papers, lest we have a repeat of the controversial Farm Mechanisation programme and Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube presents another Debt Assumption Bill after elections.
Citizens have to be reminded constantly of what the ninth parliament did and who formed part of it, so they know what and who delayed their emancipation.
The people of Zimbabwe cannot in all honesty finance opulence in these dark times where electricity has become a luxury as a result of poor to no investment by government, when their only luxury has become US$1 for 2 loaves of bread and water has to be boiled twice, disinfected by foreign pills and strained to get rid of soil particles for it to be ‘drinkable.’
ED The Master Tactician
Not even late President Robert Mugabe, with his 20 degrees (including honorary ones) and a revoked knighthood, could have ever found such a “legal” route to finance Zanu PF’s 2023 election campaign.
The figure in question is higher than the reported US$14 million if all MPs and cabinet ministers choose to drink from ‘the poisoned chalice.’
Over US$14 million raised at the stroke of a pen is pure genius and if this is an example of Mnangagwa’s 2023 bag of tricks, then CCC president Chamisa should enjoy the limelight, attention and drama which comes with his position as leader of the main opposition if it is still in a position to oppose.
After this masterstroke there is no way he can wrestle power from Mnangagwa, and surely God is no longer in it, the people of Zimbabwe are alone in the open.
With 19 legislators, the CCC will get a US$760 000 of the loot, just about 19% of what Zanu PF will pocket, US$4 million if just 100 of its MPs take the US$40,000. Douglas Mwonzora’s MDC Alliance is a Ponzi scheme, any amount is a bonus so he cannot be judged for looking the other way while receiving the healthy lump-sum.
With all cabinet ministers belonging to Zanu PF, if just 10 decide to collect the hefty US$500,000, that will translate to another staggering US$5 million.
The CCC Is Not Serious…At All
Waiting for the electorate to punish the ‘rebelling’ CCC MPs as said by Chamisa is a sign that a lot more is being said and done behind closed doors.
It would not be noble to perpetuate accusations that Chamisa has ordered they declare 10% of the bounty, when no evidence has been shared, but his comments on the matter do not help those in his defence.
“It is so much about Mnangagwa trying to avert a bhora musango within Zanu PF because he feels that the MPs are going to vote for themselves and campaign for mukomana (Chamisa) and to avert that, they have had to try and oil the palms of the MPs.
“They could not do it for Zanu PF only, they also had to do it for CCC, but the CCC (MPs) were not supposed to drink from this poison chalice. They have joined the pioneer column, they have joined the gravy train and they have crossed the line,” said Chamisa in a video shared by award winning journalist Hopewell Chin’ono.
“I have told them that if you do not act accordingly, the citizens are waiting for you, and they are going to punish you and punish you happily.
“So that one is already catered for, I do not agree, encourage or support it. I do not believe that people must be talking about their welfare when the nation is struggling the way we are struggling.”
Disagreeing with the move is one thing, the party position and action is another.
The whole of Zimbabwe awaits that, not rhetoric, God knows they have had enough of it from days of ‘the signal’ past ‘God is in it’ to this.
If these are the brains of comeback kid and uncontested political heavyweight Jonathan Moyo, then Zanu PF has indeed found its lost mojo; 2023 will be a long year.