Time to deal with MDC-T corruption
By Psychology Maziwisa
EACH time someone one has cared to point to the sickening levels of corruption within the MDC-T establishment, they have been dismissed either as outright liars or functionaries of Zanu PF.
That would be OK if it was just politics and if the accusations were mere suppositions. The reality of the matter, though, is that evidence of corruption and dishonesty within the MDC-T keeps on piling up. Daily, new standards are being set in dishonesty, fraudulence and moral decadence.
Whatever sphere of life you wish to mention; private personal behavior, public service, honesty, courtesy the MDC-T has set some very worrying standards with the consequent disastrous decline in the morality of our politics.
If it’s not Bindura Mayor Tinashe Madamombe under investigation for serious corruption charges, it’s Warship Dumba and Casper Takura answering to questions of mismanagement, dishonesty and fraud. Or it’s some rogue councilors in Chitungwiza or Victoria Falls taking advantage of public office to feather their own nests. In every instance, the modus operandi is the same.
Right now, Mutare Mayor Brian James (an MDC-T bureaucrat) has rightly been asked by Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister, Ignatius Chombo, to step aside while an investigation into claims of mismanagement of funds is conducted. James is alleged to have used huge sums of public money for private purposes.
But it would be naïve to lay the blame entirely on these councilors. The rot started not at the bottom but at the top of the MDC-T establishment. To a greater and lesser extent, they are merely following in the footsteps of their leaders who have not done much of a job to lead by example.
Councilors draw most of their inspiration from the behavior of those who lead them. Yet, regrettably, those at the helm of the MDC-T enterprise are just as corrupt and rotten, if not much, much worse. What happened to leading by example? What happened to the party of excellence?
There was a period, not so long ago, when our politicians were admired throughout the region for their outstanding ethical standards; their desire to serve and their general moral decency. But, with the coming of the MDC-T and the formation of the inclusive government in 2009, our politicians have become more disposed to lying, cheating and deceiving. This is not what we are and it’s certainly not who we are.
It is the duty of a Prime Minister and leader of any party to set the tone. In both these capacities, Tsvangirai has a great opportunity not just to set the record straight but to set some fine examples. It’s a now or never sort of thing. Yet, as the evidence clearly indicates, it’s more likely to be never because Tsvangirai himself is a man of dubious character.
If Morgan Tsvangirai can lie about his use of a $1, 5 million facility, a sum wholly funded by the tax-payer, and can proceed to use that colossal sum of money in less-than-clear circumstances, often enjoying it with relatives and friends as alleged and as plainly shown by a preliminary report in the ongoing investigation, why would a councilor feel the need to be transparent or to act responsibly when handling public funds?
Indeed, if Tsvangirai can effortlessly spend $36, 000 in one day on lobola; enough money to pay more than 10 teachers for a whole year, why on earth should a councilor feel restrained and compassionate about being extravagant in the use of municipal cash?
Meanwhile, Tendai Biti is under examination for the $500 million facility received from the IMF in 2009. Suspicions are that a huge chunk of that money was used in rather questionable circumstances. It raises all sorts of questions including whether the MDC-T is really what everyone thought it was and if Zimbabweans aren’t better off sticking with the devil they know.
For a party that has spent its entire life making a lot of noise about transparency and accountability, this is a very frightening, despicable and unforgivable situation. It underscores MDC-T’s hypocrisy and demonstrates quite amply that they are incapable of governing a society whose people are renowned for their outstanding principles.
Meanwhile, instead of thinking more about the welfare of the people, MDC-T Members of Parliament have been demanding ridiculous salary increases in stark contrast with their party’s purported position of putting responsibility ahead of greed, nation ahead of self. They have insisted on getting brand new cars and Biti has answered their lavish calls with great pleasure, pouring tens of millions of dollars towards the project and sidelining, in the process, more important matters like civil servants salaries.
At some point, somebody has got to put a stop to this. It would be wrong and amoral if we permitted selfish and corrupt public servants to get away with murder particularly in a country where millions struggle just to keep body and soul together.
An example needs to be set that abusers of public office, Zanu PF or MDC-T, have no place in our society and that morality in politics is not optional, it is mandatory. Indeed, if the possible charges against Tsvangirai and Biti are made official, both should instantly be made to resign. Under normal circumstances, they should already have done so of their own free will.
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