Zimbabwe: When Custodians Steal the Purse

analysis

If a burning meteorite from outer space were to hit Africa Unity Square in Harare during lunch hour, guess what would happen? The nearest state "safe haven" that men, women and children would escape to is a dash across the road into Parliament House. It is literally axiomatic that when the village hut is on fire children scurry around their mother for dear safety and protection. In much the same way all Zimbabweans will rush to "mother" Parliament House for protection when the object hits the Square. This is the house that embodies the spirit and aspirations of the Zimbabwe body -politic. It is a socio-political construct of Zimbabwe's dream now and into the future.

But media revelations on Valentine's Day will result in many questioning the intelligence of seeking protection in that Parliament Building. Meteorites do not reside in outer space anymore, but have found a home at Parliament House.

The house that the people of Zimbabwe built with blood in a protracted liberation struggle has gone to strangers who eat away at national wealth. This made sad reading coming on a day when people were supposed to be reminding each other of their nuptial and filial vows and committing themselves to some for those yet to.

These are shocking realities and headlines that would send my old granny to her death bed cold with fear. "Bigwigs refuse to pay Zesa bills", (The Herald, February 14 2012); "Bigwigs Zesa debts: Shocking hypocrisy", (Newsday, February 14 2012) and "Mangoma taken to task", (The Daily News, February 14 2012).

The foregoing however identifies correctly who the real threat to national security in Zimbabwe is. When Ministers and other senior "civil" servants deliberately sit on their electricity bills and decide not to pay it speaks volumes about acts of sabotage against the nation. How on earth is Zesa supposed to function when national leaders renege on their paying their bills? This is a clear manifestation of national sabotage that has its contenders only in the ranks of the al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab.

Surprisingly, ministers and parliamentarians have in recent months fought tooth and nail to have their sit-in allowances paid, which when they did come were a huge windfall. The windfall was also coming on the back of the Constituency Development Funds (CDFs) that many of the MPs decided to embezzle for their personal benefit. This is in addition to other ministerial and parliamentary privileges that they enjoy unbeknown to the public.

Now the writing is clearly on the wall. A lot of the troubles the country is facing today are a result of public figures who have decided to act as enemies of the state. When a stranger sits wielding a machete in your granary then the fate of your family for many seasons to come is set. Hunger, malnutrition, disease, poverty and death.

The perennial water problems that have seen some children being born and growing up to adolescence, adulthood, marriage and death without ever seeing water running from a tap, if there is a tap to begin with, have their origin in the behaviour of some of our elected officials at Parliament House.

Back in the days when politicians would at least appear honest, such revelations would call for the resignation of leaders who are implicated. But that would be too much to expect from the current crop we have today, especially those that came to occupy the architecture called the inclusive government.

It is a provisional structure that has turned leaders into buccaneers bent on making a dash to grab as much of the national wealth as they can before their time is up. Theft in broad daylight has become the order of the day, and the Zesa ministerial debts are just but a tip of the ice-berg in the plunder of state wealth. How much more of this rot is going on behind the scenes and may never be exposed? One wonders how much more stealing they are involved in other sectors of the economy beyond the public eye?

Where are the checks and balances in the system which had to wait until somebody accrued a Zesa bill in excess of US$100 000? It is shocking that the minister in charge of energy stands by while his colleagues in government are crippling a public utility, and with it the national economy? Where is the moral standing and authority that these leaders are supposed to project?

If governance in this country was about serving national interests then such thieves of national wealth should be shown the door. The truth is that all this has set a terrible precedent on governance issues in Zimbabwe. It is time Zimbabweans demanded action. The time is due for these political meteorites to be reminded to go back to the outer space where they came from.

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