In any country where talent and virtue produce no advancement, money will be the national god. (Denis Diderot)
In their folly they danced, sang and celebrated in Parliament at the passing of a Bill that has sounded the death knell of their careers as protectors of the interests of those that put them there.
Our Zanu PF MPs are a disgrace to democracy and yet we must continue to provide for their stipends as they make decisions that have serious negative implications to the revival of our economy in which they have been complicit in damaging. We surely must be a laughing stock of Africa, as we saw men dressed in suits dancing on the adoption of a Bill that will accelerate the country’s economic decline. It was sad spectacle of Zanu PF minions who have effectively mortgaged the future of this country to the greed and corruption of a regime that must now pack its bags and go.
They could not see that by their naïve actions, they had condoned the plunder of the resources of the State by an elitist predator cabal whose greed knows no bounds. To them it was “victory” and yet to the millions of poor Zimbabweans who must meet the cost through their sweat, it is indeed a funeral — a funeral of accountability and integrity in the office of the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and a funeral of the death of our rights as citizens to hold our leaders accountable for their actions.
As Jonathan Swift in Gulliver’s Travels wrote: “A wise dictator would rather have under his employ, those who demonstrate furious zeal and credulity, because such zealots prove the most obsequious and subservient to the will of the passions of their master. Such citizens, having all employments at their disposal, preserve themselves through bribery, lies, flattery and deceit, and they secure themselves from after-reckonings through some indemnities afforded to them by the dictator. They hope to retire from public life laden with the ill-gotten spoils.”
Such is the real character of those men in our Parliament who for some reason we call “honourable”. Through patronage, President Robert Mugabe has built a predator cabal that surrounds him and pampers him with lies and false loyalty. This cabal benefits from the crumbs he may throw at them from time to time to keep them interested in his continued rule. This is exactly what happened during Gideon Gono’s era at RBZ and it appears that, despite the rather verbose and regular monetary statements that we are now fed by the new governor, its a-looter-continua as before.
We will never know what really happened and who stole what until we take over this government. I am, however, sure all records will be expunged before we can bring those that plundered the RBZ to account. The waste of resources that this government has presided over is criminal and unforgivable. I am comforted by the fact that the chickens always come home to roost and believe me, one fine day, they will.
The message that the approval of the $1,3 billion looting Bill gives is that firstly, this government is not accountable and secondly that those who are in Parliament, and have been given the responsibility by the people to keep an eye on governance are no better than the corrupt Zanu PF minions they seek to protect. It is a shameful display of hypocrisy.
Our main problem is a structural one. We cannot expect MPs who owe their existence in Parliament to the generosity of their master to be objective in their judgment and vote with their conscience. Especially in instances where their obsequious master might be exposed. Like endoparasites, they must protect the host lest the host dies with them.
Until we have independent-minded MPs who are in Parliament not through the generosity of the master, but through a direct mandate from their constituencies, we will continue to get a Parliament that merely rubber stamps partisan issues that have nothing to do with the interests of the country.
I have argued before that we can only succeed in having effective MPs when they do not belong to a political party and have no political agenda except to protect the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Independent MPs that are not tied to any political party will be critical for our democracy in the future. Only then can competence and effectiveness be the measure of qualification to become an MP.
I am, therefore, not surprised at the quality of debate and decisions in Parliament now because most MPs are there not for their competence and understanding of what the real issues are. They are merely there to demonstrate their unending loyalty to Mugabe. Margaret Dongo was right.
Of course, we have a few good men and women in Parliament, but their sane voices and sense of responsibility have been drowned by those in the majority who are there not for their sake, but to represent the repulsive political and economic interests of a Zanu PF predator cabal. Most of them would certainly choose money to dignity and honour — why do we call them “honourable members” then?
In the full sense of the word, Zimbabwe is indeed a failed State where those with authority to change things are actually assisting the decline of the values of our society through sheer greed and selfish political interests. The sooner we boot them out of Parliament the better our country will be. That must remain our ultimate objective.
I am an optimist. I guess this too shall pass and our beautiful country and its people shall one day be proud to be represented by truly honourable men and women who put Zimbabwe First.
The struggle continues!
Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You may contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org