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'It is not from the benevolence of corrupt and vote-rigging politicians we expect our dinner' to paraphrase A Smith

25 Feb 2021 at 13:11hrs | Views
"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest (profit). We address ourselves not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages." Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature & Causes of the Wealth of Nations 1776.

What Adam Smith said about the butcher and the brewer can be said about politicians.

"It is not from the benevolence of the politician that we expect good roads, public security, justice, good governance and all the things society pays for through taxes and other forms of self-sacrifices. Left to their own devices, the politicians take full advantage of power and authority we have entrusted them and spent every last penny of our taxes securing their luxury and comfort. Politicians are public servants with a propensity to make the public their slaves. Watch out!"

 Zimbabwe is in a serious economic and political mess and I lay the blame for it all on our political leaders and not the butcher and the brewer. The butcher, brewer, teachers, doctors, engineers, etc. are all feeling the consequences of the country's economic meltdown and political paralysis just as much as the street vendors and the rural peasants.

There is no denying that in Zimbabwe we, the people, have left the politicians, from both sides of the political divide, to do as their pleased. And they did just that!

When Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF cronies campaigned in the 1980 elections on the basis that if they lost the elections the bush war would continue, that should have set alarm bells ringing in every thinking Zimbabwean. Zanu PF was discarding the "One man! One vote!" clarion call at the very heart of the nation's fight for independence.

Without "One man! One vote!" the ordinary Zimbabwean was powerless. Without a meaningful vote the people cannot hold the politician to account. Without a meaningful vote the politician is the master and the people the slaves!

In 1980, the people voted to end the bush war and once in power Zanu PF has worked to consolidate its strangle hold on power. The people lost their power over Zanu PF in 1980 and have never regained it as the party has rigged all the elections that followed to this day.

As for the politicians creaming off the nation's wealth to feather their own nest nothing captures the epitome of politician greed at public expense than Mugabe's Blue Roof mansion. Mugabe built his four-storey US$2 billion Blue Roof mansion whilst Parerenyatwa Hospital, the nation's number one referral hospital, was left to rot and decay. The hospital has so starved of funds it is common to hear it has run out of something as basic as pain killers.

A collapse health service did not bother Mugabe and his fellow Zanu PF cronies, they had their health care needs in SA, India, Singapore, etc. In 2012 Mugabe made no fewer than 8 health care trips @ US$3 million!

The people of Zimbabwe have risked life and limb to elect the now late Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends into power on the understanding the party will deliver democratic changes necessary to restore the individual freedoms and rights Zanu PF had usurped from the people.

MDC leaders have been on the political stage for 20 years, 5 years of which they were in the GNU, and have failed to bring about even one democratic change, reform.

"Mazivanhu eMDC adzidza kudya anyerere!" (MDC leaders have learned to enjoy the spoils of power, they never rock the boat!) boasted Zanu PF cronies during the GNU when asked why MDC leaders were not implementing the democratic reforms.

Ever since their betrayal during the GNU, MDC leaders have really gone rogue, they have continued participating in the flawed and illegal elections giving the vote rigging Zanu PF legitimacy and thus perpetuate the dictatorship.

MDC leaders have given up the fight for free, fair and credible elections. They are now content with letting Zanu PF rig the elections and claim the presidency and 2/3 majority and get the remaining 1/3 of the gravy train seats plus the portion of the annual Political Party Finance Act payout.  

Some people have argued that Zimbabweans did not appreciate the critical importance of "One man! One vote!" and their role as citizen in holding the country's political leaders to democratic account. There is some truth in that; the people should have been taught all these things at the "Pungwe", the regular all night rallies hosted by Zanu PF operatives held before independence. People in the rural areas were forced to attend the rallies.

President Mnangagwa promised to hold free, fair and credible elections when he took over the leadership of Zanu PF following the November 2017 military coup. He stubbornly reformed to implement any democratic reforms and blatantly rigged the July 2018 elections.

After 41 years of independence plus all the wealth of historic experience dated to the founding of democracy by the Greeks, 2 500 years ago, there is no excuse why Zimbabweans are failing to articulate what constitute free, fair and credible elections and to hold Zanu PF to account for denying them this basic right.

Free, fair and credible elections is more than a basic human right; it is the essence of good and accountable government.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been wittering about Zimbabwe's economy rising from the ashes, like the phenix, to middle income status by 2030. This is rich coming from the regime that inherited a middle income economy and in 40 years reduced it to ruins.

The decades of misrule have forced many Zimbabweans to leave the country and quality of education has dropped through the floor. The country has 10% or less of the skilled manpower in such key sectors as engineering, agriculture, health and education.

He has failed to stamp out such chronic problems as corruption and mismanagement because he and his fellow Zanu PF cronies are the Godfathers of corruption and mismanagement.

So the President is expecting to reverse Zimbabwe's economic fortunes from the ruins to back to middle income in 10 ten years with 10% of skilled manpower and regardless of the criminal waste of resource due to corruption. A tall order only the naive and gullible will be expected to believe!

50% of the Zimbabweans now live in abject poverty, i.e. they cannot afford one decent meal a day let alone other basic necessities such as education for their children and health care. The coronavirus outbreak has make the health and economic situation much worse.

Zimbabweans must now think how they are going to get out of this economic and political mess with increased sense of urgency! Zanu PF and the present political system is not going to get the nation out of the hell-on-earth we are in.

It is certainly not from Mnangagwa's empty promises economic prosperity and free and fair elections that Zimbabweans can expect their daily bread and a bright future from the grinding poverty and despair of the last 40 years. If we want that bright future then we must wrestle our from Mnangagwa and his fellow politician our freedoms and rights including the right to hold all politicians to account in free, fair and credible elections.

Source - Wilbert Mukori
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