At its second people’s congress in 1984, Zanu PF adopted a leadership code, which sought to define the party as a socialist movement.
The noble intentions behind the code were to prevent party officials from taking advantage of their positions in government to amass wealth.
Among other things the code prohibited Zanu PF officials from owning “a business, a share or interest in a business organised for profit provided that this shall not be interpreted as prohibiting such petty sideline activities as chicken runs, small plots and gardens on one’s residential property”.
We were reminded of this brilliant statement of intent by the ruling party after two stories involving Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu and his Local Government, Urban and Rural Development counterpart Ignatius Chombo flaunting their immense wealth were published this week.
Mpofu told journalists on Wednesday he was surprised people were amazed at his ballooning wealth because according to him, he had never been poor.
He boasted he probably had the biggest herd of cattle in Zimbabwe and had interests spanning the tourism and property sectors and vowed to “continue to do more” to amass wealth.
At a separate occasion, Chombo, who was not so long ago a humble university lecturer, left an audience that included visiting officials from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation mesmerised as he tried to drive home the point that he was rich.
Chombo, who as a public official receives a modest salary, revealed he had an army of domestic workers.
The description of his lifestyle he gave to the Americans could have been that of any tycoon in Zimbabwe.
But are the likes of Chombo and Mpofu the kind of political representatives Zimbabweans need when they themselves are sinking into poverty every day?
What happened to the Zanu PF leadership code?
Are we wrong to conclude that joining politics in Zimbabwe — especially on a Zanu PF ticket — is now the easiest way to amass wealth?
We also believe it is now time the calls for those occupying political office, including MPs and ministers, to declare their assets are taken seriously.
The MPs and ministers also need to regularly update Zimbabweans if their economic status changes.
Mpofu and Chombo’s bragging also raise a host of moral questions in a country where the majority are living below the poverty datum line, largely because of the failied policies of their party, Zanu PF.