OPPOSITION Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday blasted legislators from his party for accepting a US$40 000 loan facilities from Parliament.
Government has offered a US$40 000 housing loan to each sitting Member of Parliament (MP), US$500 000 for individual ministers and US$350 000 for their deputies.
Venting his displeasure on Twitter, Chamisa said accepting the loans was “morally and ethically wrong” when the majority of the country’s citizens were wallowing in abject poverty.
“In any public office, any decision that prioritises self over the served is morally wrong, especially in a context where poverty pervades with citizens so hard-pressed and in circumstances of lack! Wrong leaders usually have wrong priorities,” Chamisa tweeted.
“The role of a government is to address citizens’ most urgent and pertinent needs. When this is abandoned, such a government merits replacement. Any government that prioritises ‘chefs’ over citizens is not fit for the purpose. #CitizensFirst. No public funds can ever be received or transacted silently. Accountability must always be full!”
Last month, Chamisa claimed that Zanu PF was bribing his lieutenants to destabilise the party ahead of the 2023 elections.
He later told NewsDay that some of his members were “vulnerable” to the “harsh” economic conditions, hence they could be easily bribed to abandon the party.
“Anything that is valuable is bound to be betrayed or sold out. Economic circumstances are not for the lily-livered and the weak-kneed. Some are very sensitive to poverty and this economic environment has been very harsh,” Chamisa said.
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“Some would go for farms, nice cars, cattle, (and) coupons, while others will betray their birth-right for a mere bowl of soup. What is the birthright? Freedom, democracy, success and prosperity, transformation of our country, good governance, citizen dignity — they will surrender those for their personal benefits. But we learn from the best. (The late MDC leader) Morgan Tsvangirai never betrayed Zimbabwe.”
Although all representatives, including Zanu PF and MDC-T MPs, accepted the loans, CCC legislators have suffered severe backlash from critics who accused them of failing to act in the public interest.
Political analyst Eldred Masunungure said CCC MPs had fallen into the Zanu PF trap to expose the opposition party’s “lack of organisational cohesion”.
“In this case of loans, the party is being judged against its moral standards. It is against their party position on pursuing selfless interests, but the MPs are rather benefiting from political patronage,” Masunungure said.
“In this case, no party position has been abided by. The logical thing to do in this case was for them to sit down and discuss the matter and agree on one position. What it means is that the leader is very consistent, but he has failed to whip his subordinates to one collective stance.”
Chamisa has resisted calls to form structures.
Another analyst Vivid Gwede said the general feeling was that CCC MPs had betrayed their supporters.
“Members of Parliament from the opposition will always be held to a higher standard than those from Zanu PF because the expectation is that they should represent and bring a new culture,” Gwede said.
“That expected culture is about service over self. Hence, when they appear to be already enjoying, while the rest of the populace is suffering, there is a feeling of betrayal.
“But that does mean that people should get acclimatised to the selfishness of Zanu PF MPs. At this moment, MPs should be fighting for the resuscitation of basic public services such as health and education.”
CCC chief whip Prosper Mutseyami was not picking calls when NewsDay tried to contact him for comment.
CCC party supporters expressed mixed feelings over the loan with some describing the acceptance of the loan as selfish.