Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Greed knows no party lines among Zimbabwe’s Members of Parliament

Zimbabwe’s Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri is quoted as saying that police will “descend hard on all perpetrators of violence, or those bent on fomenting dissensions and stirring up disorder in the country”.

I applaud this statement although I am skeptical about his seriousness because we have heard it all before.

With elections looming, the pronouncement on violence is being used to lull us into a false sense of security so that Mugabe’s violent Chipangano thugs can pounce on us when we all have stupidly beaten our swords into ploughshares.

I want to hear Chihuri publicly telling Chipangano thugs to stop the murders and assaults of innocent people.

I want to hear and see Chihuri arresting members of Chipangano for their criminal behaviour, not to see Chipangano arresting Chihuri’s police officers.┬á

Just when did this amazing change come over Chihuri? When did Chihuri remember to invoke professionalism? He has been an embarrassment since he became head honcho at police headquarters.

But there is something that Chihuri can also do to convince me that he is serious about his law and order pronouncements.
There is a group of people who are clearly “bent on fomenting dissensions and stirring up disorder in the country”.

Although most of them make a killing in their constituencies where they run Bottle Stores, this group of troublemakers is involved in graft and blackmail.

I understand both graft and blackmail are crimes.

So, if Chihuri is serious about maintaining law and order, he should wait until parliament is in session then surround the august house and arrest all the Members of Parliament.

Our MPs do not know how to negotiate for salary increments but, instead, resort to blackmail and to holding the nation to ransom because they want to be paid a sitting allowance of US $30 000 each. The MPs are demanding money to buy new cars and suits, with a little extra thrown in to cover the dry cleaning of those suits.

Our esteemed MPs are saying that the outstanding allowances had demeaned their social status. They say they can no longer afford to wear expensive attire from the meager income they are getting.

One of them, MP Prosper Mutseyami, from Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s MDC, went as far as conceitedly asking Parliament “to revise its dress code to allow MPs to attend sessions in casual wear” because they could no longer afford suits that maintain their social status.

It was only last year when another MP, Simbaneuta Mudarikwa, threatened that MPs would attend Parliament’s sessions dressed in overalls if their outstanding allowances remained unpaid.

Mudarikwa’s statement was close to what should be. Unfortunately, Mudarikwa made the statement as a threat not as a serious suggestion to be adopted by Parliament.

You see, everyone of them, from Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai to all those so-called “honourable members of parliament” and those City Councilors who aspire to do nothing more than build a bottle store near their homes, all of them, should be dressed up in overalls, roll up their sleeves and go to work.

Zimbabwe MPs are blackmailing Tendai Biti as Minister of Finance, hinting that they will not pass his budget until they are paid outstanding sitting allowances and provision is made for them to buy new cars.

This collective group of morons should be sent back to the Rural Administration Centers where they came from because they are bloodsuckers that Zimbabwe does not need.

And all around these MPs, hospitals are understaffed and crumbling, most without sufficient medicines; roads are death traps because of lack of maintenance; disease outbreaks are invading many urban areas; school children have not enough books, let alone benches or classrooms and our afflicted compatriots cannot access ARVs because of unaffordable hospital admission costs.

Mari Carmen Vinoles, Doctors Without Borders’ Head of Mission in Zimbabwe, said that some hospitals are charging as much as US$30 hospital admission fees and most people, especially those in rural areas, where, incidentally, most of our Members of Parliament have bottle stores, cannot afford these fees.

Doctors Without Borders said that most people end up not having access to the free ARV treatment they offer.

The humanitarian organization is calling on the Zimbabwe Government, through the Ministry of Health, to scrap these hospital admission fees, so that everybody, especially pregnant mothers infected with HIV/Aids, can be on free ARV treatment.
But our MPs want more money for being unable to improve our lives.

Our MPs want more money for not doing anything to help Zimbabwe back on its feet.

Parliamentarians across the political divide are reported to be plotting war against Finance Minister Tendai Biti by holding back approval of his 2012 budget proposals “until he gives in to their demands for new cars and unpaid allowances”.

This could derail the budget, which many people feel “was crafted with the poor in mind”.

Civil servants, teachers and other employees in the country have not been given any salary increments yet parliamentarians are not only demanding more but are threatening to disrupt the little effort that Biti is trying to make to improve people’s lives.
The budget, in its form as presented by Biti, stands to improve the lives of the poor, particularly in the rural areas where politicians play politics with people’s lives.

The heart of the matter is that this is the time our Members of Parliament showed their devotion to the people, to the country and to decency.

This is the time when our parliamentarians should show the rest of us that they acknowledge the problems our nation is facing.
This is an opportunity for them to lead by example.

This is the time these people should show the nation that they are in parliament to serve Zimbabwe not to be served by Zimbabweans.

Tendai Biti appears to be the only serious person in both parliament and cabinet and I hope he stands his ground.
Let those MPs go back to their bottle stores where I hope Chihuri will follow them and arrest them for overpricing and abusing their liquor licenses.

Our MPs neither care about the state of our economy nor the condition of our people.

But there are many Zimbabwean MPs who are not part of this rot. I am hoping that from amongst this disgraceful pile of dishonourable people, Zimbabwe will be blessed by several such MPs who might come forward to disassociate themselves from such greed and lack of consideration.

Parliament is meant to serve the people. Let decency prevail.

It is a scandal, is it not, that even those Specially Elected MPs and councilors who represent no one also want more money and perks for being nobody and for doing nothing.

I can’t wait for elections; we will throw the rascals out soon enough. This is not a threat but a promise to Members of the Zimbabwean Parliament.

Parliamentarians are not our bosses; they are the people’s servants.

To Tendai Biti, I say, keep on trucking, my friend. I salute you. Don’t bother looking back.
Ain’t nothing there but bottle store owners!

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.