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Who is more patriotic, the corrupt or the interrogator?

Opinion & Analysis
A colleague, having read my article last week in which I argued that ZimAsset would go nowhere if we do not reform our public institutions

A colleague, having read my article last week in which I argued that ZimAsset would go nowhere if we do not reform our public institutions to make them conducive for the success of economic policies, labelled me unpatriotic. DEJAVU with KAMURAI MUDZINGWA

“You are unpatriotic, Kamurai,” thundered the irate fellow. “Actually, you are a prophet of doom; you do not want this country to move forward. You must be an MDC-T apologist.”

Of course, I laughed at him, or rather at his ignorance.

After he cooled down, I bombarded him with questions with the sole aim of understanding what is meant by patriotism vis-à-vis what is happening in this country and the role of those who point out mistakes constructively.

I will not bother to repeat the whole conversation as it would require acres of space. I will concentrate on the questions.

First, I asked him who is more patriotic, Kamurai Mudzingwa who questions the conditions under which economic policies are implemented — conditions that assure the failure of such policies — and the one who creates those conditions and uses taxpayers’ money to see such conditions perpetuated for the benefit of a few relatives and friends.

I then asked him if he ever followed news bulletins or whether he was aware of the daily reports on corrupt activities by those entrusted with public offices.

When he said he was aware, I then asked him two questions.

First, I asked him to tell me who is a patriot, the one who abuses public office for personal gain at the expense of national development or the one who questions such actions for the benefit of the cheated public.

Second, I asked him who is more of a patriot, the one who uses public institutions to protect those who gain wealth through corruption and the plunder of national resources such as diamonds, or the one who calls for a stop to such nefarious activities. I further questioned him: “Do you want us all to behave like people at a rally?”

He then asked me what I meant and I said: “People at a rally don’t think, that is why they ululate when politicians tell them some of the most stupid lies that even a kindergarten kid wouldn’t believe. Sometimes I get this feeling that people get sadistic pleasure from being lied to by politicians. How else would you explain the zeal with which they take in the same lies from the same people every year?”

I then asked him who is a better patriot, the one who lies to flood victims at Chingwizi transit camp that all is well knowing fully well that he or she is going back to his/her government offices to orchestrate deals to loot the economy, and the one who exposes such people for the benefit of the nation.

“I find difficult,” I told him, “to understand why you assume that some of the most corrupt people in government are more patriotic than their hardworking and honest victims from whose sweat comes the national wealth they steal. Were you a good child to your parents?” I asked him.

“Of course,” he said in surprise.

“So let me ask you. Which is the better and more loving child, the one who tells his father, ‘Daddy, you are always not at home and you come home drunk every time and we cannot

talk to you yet we need your love and company as your children’ or the one who takes advantage of his father’s drinking weakness to abuse drugs, indulge in promiscuous activities and bully his siblings?”

“The one who points out his father’s mistakes,” he said.

Then I asked him why he labels me unpatriotic when I point out, like the child in the example, the bad behaviour of public officials and politicians who should play the fatherly role to the nation.

“It is the way you do it,” he said.

“No,” I said. “It is the way they do it. The results of their bad behaviour are there for everyone to see and feel — bad roads, poor health facilities, the disappearance of national resources like diamonds, the use of other people’s currencies, failure to turn around the economy that they destroyed in the first place and the lies they bombard us with every day.”

Only true patriots who want to see this country back to its former status as the jewel of Africa will not condone such behaviour, I told him.

Then I said: “Unless, of course, you mean that patriotism to the likes of you is founded on theft of national resources, abuse of public office for personal gain, crafting national policies for individual benefit, diverting public funds to one’s bank accounts, public lies and nepotism, then I understand what you mean when you say those who criticise such actions are not patriots. But you will find that your type of patriot will continue ruining this country while the likes of you urge them on with whistles and misplaced praise.”

And I rested my case.