By Taku Mundenga
We all know that in a democracy, power in vested in the representatives that are chosen by the people in a periodic free and fair election, I then wonder when do those representatives become specialists in betraying their employers (voters). If democracy be the government of the people, by the people, for the people as Abraham Lincoln aptly puts it then government officials ought to respect public interest more than their own interests.
The ways by which power tussles and the struggle for space has taken centre stage of our national round-table debate in place of the major economic concern really saddens the heart. Every minute, hour and day, Zimbabweans both local and abroad log in to Facebook, Twitter and other social networks just to while the day, discussing factionalism, polarization and the succession puzzle. Very little attention is given to the transformation of the gloomy economic climate that we are living in.
The outbreak of and focus on Gamatox and Zvipfukuto has nurtured a blame culture which perpetuates an intra-ZANU PF conflict that has left us with a suspicion of who to associate with and until when? The MDC-Ts and MDC Renewals have ravaged the strongest oppositional force in Zimbabwe to some extent that they now think they have no economic role to play other than just being power-hungry wolves. The tunnel-vision has subjected many Zimbabweans to a political feud of fighting characters whilst neglecting pertinent bread and butter issues.
The media has been diverted from the broad gamut that is being the voice of the voiceless to mere partisan mouthpieces that only represent the ideological interests of a few elites at the expense of the ordinary citizens. The Herald and its sister papers has confirmed to be more ZANU PF-aligned whilst the Newsday and its subsidiaries have proven to be more oppositional. This nature of politics has narrowed Zimbabwe to a nation of 10 millionaires and 10 million beggars.
It is now a commonly agreed perception among Africans that our legislators appear during an election campaign, disappear during the term of office and reappear after 5 years seeking for a re-election. Some people have even made a gag out of it saying, the same way there is no virgin prostitute, then there is no honest politician. This unbecoming attitude is not peculiar to dominant or revolutionary parties, however a common error in spite of partisan alignment.
The Buhera South legislator, Joseph Chinotimba is caricatured by many people for his poor educational credentials and all sorts of name-callings has been levelled against him in this era of smartphones and digital waves. However the truth reveals it, most of those jokes we hear about him are not true and they do not even frustrate or upset him. Instead Chinotimba has done a lot of developments in his constituency than any highbrow in the Parliament of Zimbabwe.
In 2008, the majority of Members of Parliament from MDC who won their seats in rural constituencies were very much anticipated to bring such a banging democratic change as the name of the party implies, however before even spending one year in office, most of them had relocated to Harare. For 5 years they were enjoying the ambience of the unity government in the Sunshine City and they were even senseless enough to believe that the electorate had no right to dishonour them with a vote of no confidence in July 2013.
Likewise the crybabies screamed foul play, mentioning that ZANU PF used incredible rigging machinations ranging from a magic ballot paper to more than a million assisted voters in this 97% literate nation. Such bizarre facts do not hold water in a judicial court. It is for that reason the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirayi dropped the case. I just guess this time around he has spared his time to learn something better from the recent UK election.
They never blamed their arrogance and inefficacies like five MPs involved in a maize seed corruption scam in Masvingo Province just rarely a year in office. No one mentioned the underperformance and abuse of taxpayer’s money in MDC-led city councils and municipalities.
It is one variable to promise the people and another to honour the promises. This is why it is equally dangerous to promise the glory of heaven in an election manifesto because if it fails to materialize, then there will be mass grumbling. Usually social unrest will be inevitable and political instability stirred by the mushrooming of too many political parties.
Surely it is a silver-tongued verdict to say, our politicians have taken the electorate for granted by restructuring the objectives in which they were voted for. Well, I remember when President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda said to a journalist, “Don’t call me a politician. Politicians have a very bad reputation in Africa.”
There is a need to be exemplary to the future generations. Our leaders must put politics of the belly aside and start serving the people who elected them into power. The gulf between ordinary citizens and their leaders must be bridged then we can talk about politics of serving and participatory development.
Takudzwanashe Mundenga is a resident political, social and business analyst. He runs this column weekly. He is an undergraduate at Midlands State University reading for a Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies Honours Degree. For feedback and comments please feel free to write him on [email protected] or follow him on Facebook or use the Twitter handle: @mundenga.