Irresponsible, shocking, total rubbish, insult to injury, unbridled greed: are some of the words that could be used to describe the outrageous salary increment demand of parliamentarians.
Who in their normal senses would think that, at a time when parliament is all but a dead and boring talk shop, a total package in excess of two thousand dollars would be considered peanuts. At what level of insanity must one be to imagine that they deserve a total salary of a whopping ten thousand dollars for doing nothing. This is grotesque!
By Pride Mkono
For a parliament that has failed the people of Zimbabwe like no other in history, their demand is as shameful as it is disgusting. The all-important task of aligning laws to the constitution remains unattended almost five years into the new constitution.
Critical laws to set up institutions and systems of national importance are hanging in limbo. This is in respect of operationalisation of devolution of power provisions set out in Chapter 14 of the constitution as well as commissions like the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC).
This current parliament has failed to hold the executive arm of government to account on its promises under its policy Blue-print, ZimASSET as well as the subsequent daylight dreams of the so called ’10 point plan.’ This very parliament has failed to push for policies that ensure job creation and pass legislation that protect the working class. It has instead preoccupied itself with the role of being a praise singer of the old and dying Mugabe while the rights of workers and other ordinary people are under siege.
At this very present moment, hundreds of families in Mberengwa, Tsholotsho and other districts in the southern parts of the country are living in open air, facing the full wrath of the natural elements after their homes were washed away by cyclone Dineo.
Dozens of schools and hospitals have been destroyed thus making access to education and health services impossible for the thousands of poor people in the affected areas. Whole communities have been left hopeless and in dire need of urgent assistance.
In other spheres, unemployment is at a high of 91%, cash shortages continue to make life unbearable for ordinary people. Towns and cities are plagued by a typhoid outbreak that has infected more than 2 000 people to date.
Over 3 million children are failing to pay fees after government allocated a paltry US$10 million for the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) programme in the 2017 budget. 83% of ordinary people live on less than 30 cents a day and maternity mortality rate stands at over 500 out of every 1 000 births.
Hospitals have become death traps while our formerly celebrated education system is being rendered useless by a lunatic minister who is prepared to defy logic in implementing his set to fail new curriculum.
The problem inventory is endless and these parliamentarians have done nothing to address all these challenges. Now in all their failure, they lack shame and go on to open their lying mouths and declare that they deserve ludicrous salaries.
They go on and burn the midnight candle researching about other parliaments in the region as to how much they pay their members. Yes, these failures dare give comparison with others, a noble initiative in itself, only that they compare money not delivery. What a mockery to suffering Zimbabweans!
However had this been said by a ZANU PF parliamentarian, it would have been understandable as part of the rot which that party represents, but alas it came from the whole Vice President of a party that claims to be social democratic, Nelson Chamisa.
I will not go on about the party he comes from but will instead focus on the man and his conduct.
History will remember that in 2013 he led his party the MDC-T as Organising Secretary to its biggest and most humiliating electoral loss since its formation in 1999. Chamisa had torn up the party structures much by his arrogance and greed for power as by his total ignorance of the importance of ideology in building a party that is strong.
He is clueless of even the most rudimentary of social democratic tenets. All he has mastered is that art of seeking power at all costs, at the material point in time this blogger pointed out what position individuals of Chamisa’s character would best occupy in a political organisation.
On 17 July 2015, history will remember it as a dark day for Zimbabwean workers. On this day the farmer judges and private capital colluded and twisted the law to suit their interest and made it lawful to dismiss workers on 3 month notice. The subsequent catastrophe which struck Zimbabwean workers is now recorded in the annals of history, being the case of over 40 000 workers being dismissed with nothing.
Again Chamisa was there on that bench, less to contribute to any jurisprudence but perhaps to be part of the celebrations of this callous act of class injustice.
The sins of the Cobra, as he is affectionately known is his political circles, are many and would take acres of space to herald. It is his unrepentant attitude which is a cause for concern.
After having become a parliamentarian at a very tender age because of the support the party he represented obtained from the working people of Zimbabwe, the least he would have done is to show gratitude. Some of his sins could be forgiven for immaturity but now it becomes very difficult to use that excuse.
He is now well close to 40 years, is a Vice President, an advocate and a pastor of sorts. To say he is immature at that age would be to miss the point by a wide margin. So what is it?
His is the classic case of being an opportunist; he seeks to continue to ride on the problems of the working people of this country for his political fame and glory while having nothing tangible to offer to them by way of transformation. A visit to his constituency in Kuwadzana will tell the story of a forgotten people.
In all this it had to take Chamisa, in full shamelessness, to say that he and his worthless colleagues in the 8thparliament deserve a hefty salary of a ten thousand dollars in the midst of heartrending poverty. This is disgusting and shows his true character, to even dream such a person occupying the Office of the President in a country which needs rebuilding like ours is a frightening prospect.
One can already see jamborees of Mugabe’s proportions on birthdays and a huge budget for the Office of the President. This is unacceptable for Chamisa and his crews, it is apparent that for three transgressions and for four, they can no longer be forgiven.
In the final analysis however, it show the nature of our politics. The elites will cooperate and agree to further their interests and believe in the exceptionalism hence their dreams of having candy and chocolate for only them and their families. We need people power to rid ourselves of these greedy financial bandits who know nothing about leadership and governance!
Pride Mkono is a social justice activist and writes here in his own capacity. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or @pridemkono.