GIVEN the fluidity of Zimbabwean politics, one can only second guess President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s 2023 elections strategy.
Cabinet ministers have been offered US$500 000 “loans” they have not applied for despite having a few months left in their terms. How and by when they are going to repay them is anyone’s wild guess.
Deputy ministers are set to get US$350 000 under a similar scheme. A similar offer has been extended to all Members of Parliament, who will each get US$40 000. How they are going to repay the “loans” is also not explained, given that some may not be in the august House after the elections.
Surprisingly, opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) MPs have also fallen for the bait — smiling from ear to ear as they stampede to grab the latest windfall from Mnangagwa.
This has not gone down well with many Zimbabweans who feel they blatantly breached the social contract they have with millions of citizens who sent them to Parliament.
“It’s looting at the grandest scale,” screamed someone, outraged by the latest development.
Said prominent author Tsitsi Dangarembga: “I really think the CCC has lost the election with that US$40 000 bribe. People stayed in the bush and sometimes had eight grains of maize to eat. And the opposition cannot resist a US$40 000 bribe. This is utter spinelessness!”
The extravagant dishing out of such money by Treasury in a country battling abject poverty, a collapsed health system, rolling power cuts and three-digit inflation has courted the ire of Zimbabweans, many of whom do not know where their next meals will come from.
- Chamisa under fire over US$120K donation
- Mavhunga puts DeMbare into Chibuku quarterfinals
- Pension funds bet on Cabora Bassa oilfields
- Councils defy govt fire tender directive
Many feel the US$40 000 is a bribe to silence vocal CCC MPs from speaking out against the massive perks Mnangagwa is giving his Zanu PF ministers and their deputies.
“This exposes CCC’s lack of organisational cohesion and moral bankruptcy,” quipped a political commentator who chose to remain anonymous.
“They should have resisted the seduction of mammon. How can they fall for such a clear bait? This is a grand heist,” he said.
Many voters, who had joined the “yellow wave”, feel betrayed and would like the party’s youthful leader Nelson Chamisa to recall all those in his ranks who have joined the Zanu PF gravy train.
“Some CCC supporters have been murdered, others disfigured by Zanu PF thugs for merely supporting the same people who are abandoning the cause we have been fighting, only for US$40 000 crumbs from Zanu PF! I feel betrayed,” said Enoch Kabvuratsiye of Chegutu.
Chamisa has issued a guarded condemnation of the stinking “loans”, but remained silent on the course of action he intends to take.
Critics are soft on Zanu PF MPs who have always been recipients of such benevolence. Their past record is an open secret.
However, the opposition CCC legislators were in for some stinging condemnation for alleged hypocrisy as the party claims to be people-orientated. But nothing was about people when they found themselves in Parliament.
They started demanding State funding to sustain opulent lifestyles. They made noise for their own immediate personal comforts than for what they promised voters.
The luxury seekers, disguised as champions of people’s rights, kicked off their parliamentary tenure by demanding more US dollar payments, luxurious cars, fuel coupons and unlimited hotel stays at taxpayers’ cost.
Instead of compelling government to put more resources into health and education sectors, the vanguard of the people’s aspirations secretly accepted a US$40 000 kick-back from the very government purse they should guard from being ransacked.
“Any MP who accepted the US$40k bribe from the Zanu PF looters is, by association, a thief,” said Tendai Gondo of Harare.
“Legislators have an oversight role over the Executive and conniving with the Executive in looting national resources beggars belief. What is the purpose of fielding a goalkeeper who is on the payroll of the opponents?”