VICE-PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa displayed outstanding contempt for public accountability when Chitungwiza North lawmaker Godfrey Sithole (MDC-T) asked him in Parliament about his counterpart Phelekezela Mphoko’s continued hotel stay.
Instead of answering the question, Mnangagwa was disdainful and condescending, telling the legislator that some issues were to be dealt with by bigger and more senior people.
Mnangagwa’s lackadaisical approach to public accountability is the reason we find ourselves in this rot, where officials feel they are not accountable for how they spend taxpayers’ money leading to corruption.
The Vice-President must know that all Zimbabweans, whether big or small, have an explicit right to demand answers and know how government officials spend the money they pay in taxes.
Thus, Mnangagwa’s scorn at the question and belittling of the legislator is uncalled for and unwarranted, as Zimbabweans need answers on why Mphoko still stays in a hotel and why government cannot find a suitable house for him.
The reason we vote for parliamentarians is so they hold the executive to account and we believe Mnangagwa’s sentiments are an affront to democracy.
No wonder Zimbabwe finds itself performing poorly on the corruption perception index, because people like Mnangagwa, who believe in the big man syndrome, think they can just swat away inconvenient questions.
Mphoko’s bill is being footed by the taxpayer and ordinary Zimbabweans need a constant update on how much money he is spending daily in that hotel and when he is going to leave.
We find it unbelievable that Mphoko, more than 300 days after he was appointed, cannot find a house in Harare and even more remarkable is that the government can defend such misuse of taxpayers’ money.
With an ever-decreasing tax base due to government’s economic failures, it is prudent that government tightens its belt and saves the little it is collecting, rather than splurge on uncalled-for and unwarranted luxuries.
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has missed its revenue collection targets several times this year, meaning there is little in government coffers, yet authorities choose to spend it on trinkets.
Mphoko’s continued hotel stay is as unjustifiable as it is unnecessary and the sooner he checks out, the better.
In the spirit of accountability, Mnangagwa is best advised to answer legislators on issues of public funds instead of trying to belittle them.
A number of high-profile corruption cases and extravagant use of taxpayers’ money have been swept under the carpet because the government and people like Mnangagwa believe legislators are too small to question them.
No doubt, if the government was better on accountability and authorities cut down on excesses, this country would be far better off than what it is now.