Prosecute CDF abusers


The naming and shaming of Cabinet ministers and MPs who failed to account for their Constituency Development Fund (CDF) allocations is an act of gallantry. But one would challenge authorities to go beyond discrediting the lawmakers by ensuring justice takes its course.

Something very sad is going on here. Many backbench MPs and ministers are indeed honest and decent people, dedicated to public service. But, a sizeable minority is in politics for what they can get, as the CDF scam proved.

It is obvious something very fishy is going on here. There is a paradox of sorts. Parliament is just beginning to regain the trust of voters after the appalling abuses of recent years. But the corrupt political elites have also made the Zimbabwean bureaucracy their partners in crime.

Ironically, abusing State facilities has now become the norm among politicians, yet this mentality is fast destroying the country. From Independence in 1980 politicians have been fingered in scandals Willowgate, the War Victims Compensation Fund and housing schemes, to name but a few.

Although some top officials felt ashamed once involved in scandals, the majority remained in the trenches. This leaves the country with few political heroes.

One was Morris Nyagumbo, another Edmund Garwe. Their shortcoming was to take their job description literally. They exposed an appalling pattern of bullying, arrogance and greed at the heart of politics. The public was appalled.

Instead of punishing the malefactors, they turned the fire on themselves. In retrospect, Nyagumbo and Garwe were the canaries in the mine an advance signal that Zimbabwean politicians were bent. Years have passed and voters have now learnt the hideous truth about the lies, thievery and moral corruption of so many MPs.

Shamed by previous scandals, Parliament hotly debated the issues, but the culprits were let off the hook. No one was prosecuted. On the CDF, it is clear from the start, MPs bitterly resented having to submit their claims for authorisation.

Only this week, NewsDay exposed top politicians accused of bleeding Zesa by refusing to pay electricity bills at their farms, private residences and businesses. They owe between $20 000 and $100 000, yet are using political muscle to ensure the power utility does not switch them off.

This shows political leadership, whom the countrys founders once inspired to higher purpose, has fallen into the hands of crooks and self-promoters, and they have spawned a culture of rampant corruption and self-aggrandisement.

Why has Zimbabwe suddenly become so corrupt? Because the countrys politics has become a passage to quick riches and influence-peddling!

Those who are good at nothing float political parties just as entrepreneurs float ventures to gain positions of power.

It is due to the desire to live above the law and be at the helm of power that most people seek top political positions. An unedifying culture of impunity has characterised government so that the only difficult task for law enforcement agents, be it the ZRP, Anti-Corruption Commission, Competition and Tariffs Commission, is to curb white collar crime.

It is easy to descend on street vendors with municipal police personnel, but a mammoth task to confront any business owned by a politician who flouts the same regulations and laws that ordinary people are grilled for. Could a change of the governance system destroy the belief that policymakers are little gods?

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