My problem with US$40 000 ‘bribes’ for MPs

Lazarus Nyathi, my grandfather, may his soul rest in peace, was a well-known panel beater, if not the only one at some point in our community.

So great were his works that even insurance companies contracted him to do restoration works of some of the expensive vehicles of the time.

He told me one day after a long day in the fields that during his heydays while employed by a white man in one of the leading panel beating shops of the time, there was a stand-off between workers and management which was white over canteen provisions for management and the general workers.

Instead of management resolving the issue, they attempted to recruit the vocal leaders into their canteens with the promise of some promotions and better perks.

He laughed as he told me that some of his co-workers had even the time to consider the offer. Two of his colleagues took it and he obviously rejected it with contempt.

My grandfather and his other progressive colleagues, seems they understood at that time that one of the enemy’s’ tactics that works well is to use the divide and rule tactics against your opponents.

They would recruit the ring leaders to their table so that they deny the masses a voice and this will render the masses despondent and accept that there can’t be anyone worthy in their midst to fight for them and that they are perhaps better off with the status quo.

In politics in Zimbabwe, we saw that during the government of national unity, Morgan Tsvangirai in his new power office as prime minister became the chief spokesperson and went to the extent of being Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson.

Tsvangirai would tell the world how Mugabe loved banana cake and his tea.

There were stories even on how Nelson Chamisa, a minister at the time, heaped praises on Mugabe.

I am giving examples of how these two men that had been sent to spearhead the voice of the opposition got overwhelmed and comfortable in the trappings of power.

The 2013 general elections results prove what the general public thought of the performance of their leaders in government.

The opposition was beaten in a  way they can’t explain and it’s interesting that Chamisa was the organising secretary at the time and in charge of mobilisation towards that election. He must know better.

Now fast forward to last week where we learnt of a very sad development that the opposition are  now part of grand looting and that they are part of legitimising the millions of dollars that cabinet ministers are going to give themselves.

This is happening in a dying economy where the poverty levels are not only something to be read about but can even be seen even from the comfort of their air conditioned vehicles they were given by the government.

Now before the end of their terms, they are being given loans worth thousands of dollars with no form of collateral or pay back plan.

The loans are structured in a way that will even shock the financial illiterates and this is very sad.

I knew like anyone else that a party can have a minority that could be politically immoral not the majority.

What time to be alive, where we can witness a purchase of the conscience of the opposition leaders.

I submit that this is the purchase for a number of reasons.

This is the worst parliament in terms of holding the ruling party to account.

There are of course isolated efforts by Tendai Biti to speak truth to power.

The Bills that Zanu Pf has passed and some that have gone in to the reading stages with the silence or absence of opposition now speak of their complicity.

The people of Zimbabwe have been sold out and the price tag for each Member of Parliament is US40 000.

Each and every voter who expected that the opposition in parliament will be a voice of reason and speak of their need for better life, good roads, equipped hospitals, equal employment opportunities, compensation for Gukurahundi victims has been let down by their elected representatives.

Your Member of Parliament has evaluated and agreed that your vote together with others is worth US$40 000.

People of Zimbabwe you are on your own.

The opposition has just sold its moral authority to condemn looting.

How will they condemn what the regime has done when they are part of the looting.

Now as they defend their loot, how will they justify it to be politically moral against the looting and corruption associated with Zanu  PF?

Finally one last lesson I learnt from my late old man was that if you suffer and run losses in the fields due to a mouse, make a snare capture as many alive put them in a drum, close the top to starve them until they start eating each other.

The one that will survive the ordeal will no longer be eating any of your crops but other rats and that way the problem is solved.

Let those with ears hear and let’s watch while the opposition defends Zanu PF looting.  In 2023 we must be wiser.

*Gifford Mehluli Siabnda writes from Matabeleland North’s Bubi district in Inyathi.

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