HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsSycophancy reaches a crescendo

Sycophancy reaches a crescendo

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Stupidity has reached a crescendo in Zanu PF, cheered on by the State media, with latest reports indicating that Zanu PF MPs participating in donor-funded community projects are being targeted for working with hostile countries, in this case the United States government.

GUEST COLUMNIST RASHWEAT MUKUNDU

Media kangaroo courts have been held since last week at which the names of the MPs and their supposed crimes have been splashed on front pages. The same MPs have been called to answer and explain their truancy.

It must, indeed, be a difficult time to be a Zanu PF MP or leader at the moment for any step, no matter how innocent, can be interpreted as supping with the devil, hence deserving punishment.

The same party leaders have to compete to show allegiance to the leader, gushing praise songs and words and intervals, I am sure many have their phones timed for praise-singing reminders.

If one’s cheerfulness in endorsing so and so is not up to measure, then they stand accused of harbouring ill intentions.

The so-called “Dirty Dozen” MPs simply witnessed the signing of agreements on community-focused projects funded by donors, and rightly as interested
parties, have shown an interest in the developmental programmes in their own constituencies.

While it is not the role of MPs to fund developmental projects as they have no sources of funds, it has become acceptable in Zimbabwe’s politics that MPs promise and must bring developmental projects.

This places a burden on MPs to prove their worth within their term of office by bringing in “development”, as the saying goes.

Being an MP in Zimbabwe is, therefore, one of the most difficult jobs as one has to build schools, roads, clinics, buy coffins for the dead, and beer for youths during election time — all to ensure one’s name is not soiled up by the party hierarchy.

As an MP, one has to craft all sorts of words to praise the leaders. On the matter of developmental aid, the MPs, however, have good reason to participate and direct where they can.

The 12 MPs were, therefore, within their rights as leaders to support their communities within the said donor-funded projects, only that this time the sources of funds are not China or Russia, but the US, the owners of the currency we use.

In arguing against the participation of the Zanu PF MPs in such projects, the State media forgot to tell us about the many millions that the American government is pouring into development aid in Zimbabwe with the full participation of the government leadership.

To name but a few, the US government is supporting health programmes in Zimbabwe to the tune of $15 million.

The State media forgot in the same vein to remind us that USAID and the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC) have been in partnership for the past three years.

Early in September 2014, this partnership was extended for another three years to help the ministry in supporting maternal health.

In essence, the attacks on the 12 MPs is hypocrisy beyond measure as there is no party or government policy that bans donor support for community development.

There is equally no party or government policy banning donor support and activities in Zimbabwe.

The attacks are equally sad in that they do not take into account the developmental interests of the rural communities, who are not receiving anything from Treasury towards their economic developmental needs.

The government cannot pay its own workers, yet the party, cheered on by the State media, seeks to ban MPs from overseeing development aid in their own constituencies.

The Zanu PF government as well as the State media may as well lead a campaign for a total ban on development aid from the so-called hostile countries rather than talk cheaply and lead nonsensical attacks on MPs from the party who have done nothing wrong.

It would have made more sense, from a balanced point of view, if the State media had asked the communities whether they appreciate the aid or not. This is ultimately what matters, the voice and interests of the target communities.

What is more disconcerting about this whole saga is how as people we are slowly being made to see issues from a binary point of view; things are either black or white: the them-and-us kind of thinking.

This has been huge failure by the Zanu PF government to view the world as a maze of varying interests that it is.

It is vain politicking to attack the MPs who are striving to promote the interests of their communities in an environment of a declining economy and increased suffering and yet accept money from the same donor in other areas.

The MPs are obviously being linked to the so-called “spying” by the United States spy agency Central Intelligency Agency in Zimbabwe as reported by the State media.

And again nothing is surprising here. The reason why Zimbabwe has embassies throughout the world, staffed by Central Intelligency Organisation operatives, is to spy or collect information on host countries and use that information for its strategic interests be they economic or political.

So the Americans will also have their own intelligence to do exactly the same. It’s no news that the embassy staff met MPs be they Zanu PF or MDC.

To extend this allegation and link it with rural developmental aid is to stretch the imagination beyond measure.

And, equally, to tell us that the whole Zanu PF government is infiltrated as the same donors have working relationships with government ministries.

What we are seeing is an attempt to divert attention from key issues within the Zanu PF leadership.

This by keeping all leaders in Zanu PF on the edge while protecting the few at the top.

The key national question now and one that is not going away is an orderly succession and power transition in Zanu PF.

Right now, the party leadership is engaged in a dance to duck this matter, and the poor MPs have been caught up in that web of lies and deceit.

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