For a long time the complaint here in Zimbabwe has been the thievery of state resources by politicians from a party that still claims relevance three decades after proving it has no business steering this ship. And the thievery has virtually become an official exercise.
One will recall a time when local papers splashed the now Defence Minister’s wealth valuing it at billions of dollars, a time when the Zim dollar was considered useful. Of course it was asked where the hell he got that kind of money considering the salaries of government ministers were – and still are – public knowledge.
Time was the Kumbirai Kangais grabbed news headlines with allegations of sweeping clean the national silos (and we saw him not a long time ago on national television being toasted on his birthday by Simon Khaya Moyo who “celebrated” the man’s integrity!).
Time was when senior government officials claimed incredible disability gratuities, some claiming up to 80 percent disability, never mind they continued to occupy such lofty positions as government ministers and top cops. Talk about equal opportunity and the spirit of “disability is not inability!” If only that were true.
And then it took the woman who bashed lawyer Gugulethu Moyo, screamed profanities about then opposition gadfly Morgan Tsvangirai’s manhood, to be scorned for Zimbabweans to get a look see into the wealth amassed by Constantine Chiwenga. Of course Jocelyn deliberately and vindictively made the public claims in order to shock and awe and prompt us to us where the heck all that wealth came from, considering the scorned woman knew the kind of bread the soldier brought home on his salary.
And then the VP Mujuru’s point man Sylvester Nguni’s domestic troubles also became what let us in on the kind of wealth that has been amassed on what would be a measly government minister’s salary.
And then Chombo who seeks to rival real estate don Donald Trump and his stupendous wealth that only became public after a bitter woman who all along enjoyed the same trappings at the drooling of “ordinary” Zimbabwean.
And then Obert Mpofu, who does not need hostile domestic waters to have his wealth splashed ostentatiously, owning prime Bulawayo real estate and big business (acquired on the advice of Saviour Kasukuwere to borrow from banks, he says), feeding 10,000 people on his “birthday bash” and seeks to put to shame the wealth of your typical amoral African politician.
Of course there are many more.
And then Finance Minister Biti complains about the kleptocracy that has become rooted in the diamond fields.
One would think these are issues that would inform voters and determine how they use their franchise, yet Zimbabwe offers many bad examples about how the politics do not necessarily have to reflect the people’s sentiments. A politician can go on looting the people’s wealth and still expect those same people to vote for him! Crazy ain’t it?
If the people decide they have had enough and show this through the ballot, these same people are accused of being influenced by external forces who are imposing Western models of democracy that are not applicable here! But you still have to ask what culture under the sun has ever accepted thievery, what kind of voters gleefully embrace the embrace kleptocracy of their leaders when this kind of behaviour is impoverishing millions.
It should be quiet a simple exercise really to connect the dots, and it does not need any racking of the brain: if people complain about lousy amenities, faeces on their doorsteps because of archaic water and sewer mains, living with the threat of disease everyday, school children failing to be looked after by the State, pensioners being abandoned by the State, if the people see the brazen posh lifestyles of the political elites, surely the only way to address these and other issues must be to vote for someone else. But then for some reason, it does not work that way here.
A politician is a devil’s quilted anvil. He fashions all sins on him, and the blows are never heard. John Webster, English dramatist (1623)