A lot of us had missed the significance of Scott Sakupwanya and Mthuli Ncube’s development activities in Mabvuku and Cowdray Park respectively because our minds were clouded with Zimbabwe’s politics of polarisation.
However, the greatest lesson from these two men is that it can be done; Zimbabwe can successfully undertake economic and infrastructural development in a relatively short time if the will is there.
It is just a matter of will and focus.
The two, using their own resources, addressed some of the thorny issues haunting Zimbabweans today such as dilapidated roads and water supply in their respective focus areas.
While most people dismissed their actions as part of political gimmicks, I found them as an indictment of erstwhile MPs, central government and local government.
There are many MPs, despite receiving constituency development funds (CDF) — direct taxpayers’ money — who have nothing to show for it. This cuts across the political divide. They had no will for development and they took advantage of the fact that they were not really made to account for the money (another institutionalised type of corruption). So these chaps, guided by their moral bankruptcy, abused the CDF at the expense of the people they purported to represent.
Some of these MPs were in parliament since time immemorial and they had developed a huge appetite for the abuse of CDF.While government institutions collect millions, most of them have nothing to show for that. How much does Zinara, for instance, collect on a daily basis?
If we juxtapose the money they collect with the state of our roads, we find disheartening results. What we read more about Zinara are scandals and opaqueness in the way the money is used.
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Mabvuku and Cowdray Park are under the ambit of both local and central government, but literally nothing had been happening there just like in many places in Zimbabwe. No water, no roads, no power, no utility services such as garbage collection and reticulation maintenance (the irony being that councils charge rates for these non-existent services).
In fact, the local areas are slowly turning into dungeons under the watchful eyes of both local government and central government. Let us not forget that in the scheme of things, both central government and local government are made up of people from the ruling party and the opposition, so the excuse of blaming the other party or parties is a lame one. We are all aware that councillors, for instance, have shown the propensity for corruption and abuse of office despite their political affiliation.
With all taxpayers’ and ratepayers’ monies they collect, residents are alarmed at the rate of deterioration and complete lack of service delivery in their areas.This is where Sakupwanya and Ncube showed the light; if people are development oriented development is possible. I know some quarters will shout: “They were doing it to get votes!”
Which politician doesn’t want votes?
For the benefit of the nation it is better to have politicians who campaign for votes through development than those whose only strength is rhetoric or political violence or both. If I had written this before elections I would have been accused of campaigning for Sakupwanya and Ncube, but far from it, their positive actions point to the moral shortcomings of our MPs, central government and local government.
This has resulted in residents being unhappy since they are the ones that face the brunt of burst sewer pipes, uncollected garbage, hospitals without medicine and poor roads among other things.
It is shallow to attack someone who brings development in your area. The poor state of service delivery and infrastructure affects everyone, whether Zanu PF, CCC, NCA, MDC or any other political party. Poor development affects us all.
Positive development brings comfort, convenience and pleasure to all whether you are Zanu PF, CCC, NCA etc. The infrastructure built by Sakupwanya and Ncube in Mabvuku and Cowdray Park will benefit all, including those not yet born despite political affiliation although in our primitive polarisation we may want to say otherwise.
And obviously some of the criticism will come from their own political party cadres and opposition parties’ members, who feel exposed for what they are; greedy people with not even a single thought for development.
The truth of the matter is that those who want to win people’s hearts through development ie giving people what they want, especially the basics, hardly resort to violence. The debate, in both the state and independent media about Sakupwanya and Ncube was about their development initiatives, whether people were criticising them or praising them; it was not about political violence.
Their main focus was to win over the people through service delivery and development.
Contrast them with other non-development-oriented politicians at local and national levels who had nothing to show, who had done nothing for the people whose vote they wanted; they created anarchy, fear and brutality among the people.
Their only claim to fame was force. What does this mean to us Zimbabweans? It is a lesson, a huge one; politicians, who rely on force have nothing to offer.
Those that have something to offer go on the ground and let their actions speak for themselves and they don’t force themselves on the people.
We all know that those, who have nothing to offer will surround themselves with thugs and machete gangs to force themselves on the people. Others, who are at privileged levels, but with nothing to offer may go as far as using security personnel to terrorise innocent, unarmed citizens in order to force themselves on them.
People like Sakupwanya and Ncube lost in the election and they never raised hell, perhaps they are correcting where they got it wrong, but what they did for the people in their respective areas will live after them.
Children will be told that this was built or rehabilitated by Sakupwanya or Ncube while others will be remembered for masterminding machete gangs, stealing votes and forcing themselves on the citizens.