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Muchadeyi Masunda and the USD152 000 car

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Since its formation the MDC has campaigned on a platform of change, democracy, good governance and respect for the rule of law. I want to talk about ACCOUNTABILITY and the MDC. If they campaigned on the platform that they are different, they have to show us that they are different, otherwise they have no right talking about the speck in the eye of ZANU PF when they cannot see the log in their own eye.  Accountability refers to such concepts as responsibility, answerability, enforcement, liability for blame and other terms associated with the expectation of account-giving. I trawled the MDC’s website looking for something that could give me a concrete indication of the principles that the party stands for and this is what l came up with;

MDC Governance Principles

An MDC government shall listen to its people and will serve the nation and protect the nation honestly.

The people of Harare are saying that they do not want the Mayor to be spending USD152 000 on a luxury Mercedes Benz while the city residents go without water and other essential services. The people of Harare are saying they do not want the mayor to travel around in the lap of luxury while they get mugged on dark streets. The city’s residents are saying no to a luxury vehicle which the mayor cannot even use to visit those of the city’s residents who live in areas where the roads have become impassable due to the deterioration. The city’s residents are saying to the MDC mayor, no to splurging money on immoral purchases that cannot be justified by a council hamstrung for money to spend on essential services. Muchadeyi Masunda should buy a vehicle that will enable him to visit Morton Jaffray Waterworks to see the progress or lack thereof in the treatment of the city’s water. He should buy a vehicle that will enable him to visit Hatcliff Extension and see the lack of progress towards construction of roads. A Mazda “Eagle” truck from Willowvale fits the bill and serves the dual purpose of promoting local industry. What is the point in the MDC hosting workshops urging people to support local industries by “buying Zimbabwean” when they are not willing to lead by example?  Now that the people of Harare have spoken, will the MDC listen and serve the nation honestly? Accountability demands that the mayor be answerable to the people that he purports to serve.

An MDC government will serve the nation effectively and efficiently through a professional, motivated and dedicated Public Service.

This is the other principle stated on the MDC website. They are promising us an efficient, professional, motivated and dedicated public service. Now the Mayor recently splurged thousands of USD on his installation festivities, with entertainment, food and drink aplenty. Was this necessary for a council that is failing to deliver essential services to its public? Was that the most effective and efficient use of public resources by a public official? Was it professional? The people of Harare do not think that is the most efficient, effective or professional way of spending scarce public resources. We would rather the money spent on beer and other refreshments during the installation ceremony had been channelled towards rehabilitating just one council library or refurbishing just one council clinic so that women do not die in childbirth while elected officials feast at the trough. They could have held a low key ceremony at town house. We would not have begrudged them that. Ostentatious ceremonies are reminiscent of birthday parties of governments past that have seen chefs engorging themselves while people starved in the countryside. Now can the MDC explain how different they are from that? The MDC certainly have no right to be making comments such as those reportedly made by Cllr Masiye Kapare who allegedly said “Do these rabble-rousers feel it is alright for the mayor, who is actually the face of Zimbabwe by virtue of heading the country’s capital, to be seen around in a small cheap car which may make him a laughing stock to ambassadors and other partners?” I want to challenge Cllr Kapare to show me one ambassador or funding partner who would rather the money that they are donating be spent on ostentatious luxury vehicles for the Mayor than on ensuring that council clinics are properly stocked with medication to ensure that the city’s children do not die needlessly. Or buying books for council schools to ensure that the city’s children are given a fair chance at being productive citizens. Splurging public resources on luxury vehicles and parties is not the most efficient use of resources, it is not professional and it reflects badly on this party.

An MDC government will serve the people of Zimbabwe’s interests not individuals, or groups of individual. (sic)

Muchadeyi Masunda is quoted as defending the proposed purchase of the luxury Mercedes Benz by saying; “People should not treat this as if it is me or the town clerk who is demanding that I get a car,” he argued. “The project is just part of the council budget. Why would people complain about the mayor’s car? Why do they not raise the same concerns about ministers’ cars or the prime minister’s or even President Mugabe’s motorcade? Street lights, road repairs and the mayor’s car are all budgeted for. If Simba Moyo became the next Mayor, he will be driven around in that car.”

With all due respect, Mr Masunda misses the point. Is he saying if cabinet ministers steal then he can also steal? Is he saying that he wants the Mercedes because the President has a host of them? Is he going to be demanding a mayoral motorcade next? Just because the President moves around with a gazillion cars in his motorcade does not make it ok for the mayor to splurge on one. I thought MDC is about accountability? How different is this brand of politics from the brand that we have been living under for the past 29 years? So what if it is part of the budget? It is a bad budget that makes provision for a $152 000 car while the city’s residents go without essential services. Nor does the apparent endorsement by the Minister Chombo make it right. Chombo says the Mayor deserves “a nice car, preferably a Mercedes Benz. Not necessarily an ML. I would prefer an S Class 350.” On what does the Minister base that conclusion? What has Masunda done to deserve an S Class? Is this performance based? When he has just officially been sworn in? Really?

Of course Mr Masunda wants the car. He feels justified because cabinet ministers and the prime minister all have luxury cars. The demand for a new luxury car is about serving the interests of the mayor as an individual. That goes against everything the MDC purports to espouse. The luxury cars that the MDC MPs and ministers have been clamouring for are about serving their interests as a group of politicians. How does his driving around in a luxury vehicle serve the people of Harare? It doesn’t!

Now accountability also presupposes that the Mayor can be called upon to justify his actions and to suffer punishment in the event of a finding of wrongdoing. This is where CHRA comes in. How about legal action to interdict the Mayor from buying this vehicle? That would ensure that he is answerable to us wouldn’t it? MDC’s officials like Caesar’s wife should be above reproach.

13 comments to “Muchadeyi Masunda and the USD152 000 car”

  1. Comment by Edik:

    This guy is arrogant and does not appear to appreciate that the people don’t care whether foreign dignitaries laugh or cry at his car. What they don’t want is for him to indulge before delivering service. Thats the perception he has to manage. And that has nothing to do with ZANU PF

  2. Comment by PEMBERAI:

    we are heading for the second round of disaster. the emerging leadership is not considerate at all. their priorities are deeply personal and selfish. no wonder why doctors are not going back to work. there are taking a leaf from the new thugs. where is Masunda going to use the benz other than taking his kids to school. will he ever gaet to Glenview on it or he will need a wrecker to save the car. MDC mato tengwa nemari ne Zanu. chombo Haa support zvinhu zvisa demise ye MDC.

  3. Comment by rashweat:

    Excellent, we seem to be running in circles with these politicians, it reminds me of Ayi Kwei Armah, The Beautiful Ones are not yet born. What a shame.

  4. Comment by Steve Ray:

    These are true signs of failure on the part of the Mayor, how can he be removed before it is too late?

  5. Comment by Mildred:

    I agree Cathrine, The guy should be fired/removed before he drowns us in more sewage

  6. Comment by Sekai:

    This is really unfair that the residents of Harare have no essential services and yet the Mayor wants to spend USD152,000. Why should he not buy a modest car like a Toyota 4 x 4 which costs +/-40,000, especially given that he already owns his own mercedes etc

  7. Comment by Mai Shamie:

    It is true that we don’t have leadership in Zimbabwe. We have mediocre people masquerading as leaders milking us of the little we may be holding on to. Muchadeyi Masunda thinks speaking English unlike the rest of us qualifies him to run the council. We need people of the people who have waded in the sewage of Lusaka lines in Highfield for a week. Then he will feel what it is to live our lives. I feel proud to have bright Zimbabweans such as Catherine spearheading our thoughts and sentiments so ably.

  8. Comment by Maureen:

    Its a pity that we always seem to be decrying our own leadership. I wish our new black leadership would understand the essence of what we seek as a people. That is upright leaders whose actions do not oppose what they espouse. Are we as a people to always cry and wish for white people to rule just because we fail to make the effort to rise to the task set before us. I challenge any black person in a position of leadership to show that they can throw off this mantle of being easily corrupted and instead show us sterner stuff of a people ready to do service for their country.

    The mistake must never be made that because people are passive they are stupid. Leaders need to respect their people and as such respond to their cries in ways show this.

  9. Comment by Edik:

    Maureen, I don’t think it has anything to do with his ethnicity. the guy is just is bereft of any sense of morality. See him for what he is. A corrupt individual!!!!

  10. Comment by Robert:

    Masunda is a reminder of what is wrong with the MDC, I am glad at this point I will say ” I told you so” I am one of the few people that saw through the MDC and didnt vote for them. I really felt and still feel that it is filled with opportunists. some of them are failures politically and some are rejects from Zanu Pf.

    Masunda shows the same mentality shown by the MPs who demand to have 4X4 cars imported from South Africa instead of buying from our own WMI to create Zimbabwean jobs. Why do our MPs need imported cars when they do not have a legislative agenda. there has not been any meaningful parliamentary business in this session and yet they demand cars… the ‘car’ is not the issue here but the opportunity cost of the US$30 000 per MP. How many Doctors and teachers can we pay from just 1 MPs loan. this government is broke and too big. the Harare city council is bloated, ineficient and broke!

    I personally do not like the arrogance shown by Mr Masunda and the MDC should know that I am and will not give them my vote come next election!

    WE will always get these characters as long as our politics is modelled around the Zanu Pf mentality of entittlement by “virtue” of the liberation struggle or the “struggle for democracy”

  11. Comment by Edik:

    MDC should be in position to nip in the bud these kind of untoward behaviours. Any failure will not resonate well with the electorate. Once people start saying ZANU iri nani or chasiyana chii? the party might as well forget about winning next elections.

  12. Comment by Tonderayi:

    It is really sad. Am glad Catherine has raised this issue. I read it on the Zimbabwe News and how left wondering where Tsvangirayi was, surely he has a duty to reign in his officials before it’s too late. Masunda went on to count to us the number of cars his wife and childern have. Utter rubbish and ignorance for someone who is supposed to be enlightened. I suppose the worst is yet to come. Its all very easy to oppose but more difficult to govern. These MDC guys are the new kids on the block. They saw how much wealth their seniors in ZANU PF made and I promise you they are fighting to match or even surpass them. How then do you explain their behaviour when it came to the car loans, the feasting and more recently, the retreat to Nyanga to take ‘stock’ of progress. As Zimbabweans we should keep the pressure on the MDC-the guys are used to being praised as saviours of Zimbabwe and if we are not careful we will soon create another sacred cow (as what happened with ZANU PF after independence). I would also urge donors to be careful when they dish out money to Tsvangirayi during his begging sprees around the globe. That money as we see now is for his MPs and Mayors first and foremost (Its our turn to eat-borrowing a leaf from Kenyans!!!)

  13. Comment by Joseph:

    As long as you sit down with ZANU PF you are going to be corrup. Thats why the bible clearly commands us to weed out any unholly person from our assemblies. As long as Morgan is eating with Mugabe without any clear and specific goals he is going to be enticed and lose focus.
    Look here guys, Masunda was enticed by the long serving and corrupt minister of local government, Chombo (Sekuru va Mabamba) to do anything that is deemed fit by the ZANU PF circles. He’s beend told that “mari yeKambani haina basa kana ukaitambisa”, “kunyange vanhu vakakuchemera nenzara, hazvina basa, chero zvoko iwe zvirikukika”. So sad.
    One thing the MDC should know is; very soon ZANU PF will expose all your wrong doings and your mistakes in the public. The same with Mutambara, he was their darling, but look what they are doing to him. He is being laoughed at and has nowhere to go, even his own have disowned him.
    Lets get rid of this now corrupt mayor of Harare before he is claiming every open space in the city like what Mabamba (Chombo’s nephew) has done in Chitungwiza.