STATEMENT BY SIMBA MAKONI
GRACE MUGABE PARALYSES GOVERNMENT
For the past two months, Mrs Grace Mugabe has been the headline story every day.
In this period, she has summoned different groups of leaders to her farm in Mazowe, and in the last ten days, she has criss-crossed the country, “meeting the people”.
Large numbers of government ministers, senior civil servants and other state functionaries are on her tow. We have counted at least 8 ministers present at her every meeting. And all the ZANU-PF leaders from each province are present when she visits their province.
Substantial state logistical, security, communications and other resources have been deployed in her service. Yet, besides being the wife of the Head of State and Government, Mrs Grace Mugabe is not a state functionary. And the position and functions of “wife of the Head of State and Government” do not attract the focus and limelight that have attended to her over the past two months, nor demand the resources being deployed to her. In all the years that she has been married to President Robert Mugabe, she has not enjoyed the prominence and eminence currently visiting upon her.
We understand that Mrs Grace Mugabe has been nominated to a high position in ZANU-PF.
The purpose of her current activities is not national, but party political. Her messages are not those of “the Mother of the Nation”, but partisan, divisive, combative and self-centred.
Her recent activities have been disruptive of government, and prejudicial to the nation of Zimbabwe.
First, we affirm the right of every citizen to political freedom and choice.
Second, we remind President Mugabe and his government colleagues, that they took oaths to serve the whole nation of Zimbabwe.
We also remind leaders and other members of the civil service and the security services that they are obliged by the Constitution of Zimbabwe, to serve the nation as a whole. The Constitution specifically forbids these members of state institutions from engaging in party politics.
The Constitution also clearly provides for separation of responsibilities between various arms of state, and particularly distinguishes between a party forming the government of the day, and the government itself. Conflation of the party and state has been a hallmark of ZANU-PF throughout all the years it has formed the government in this country. But the levels exhibited in the last month are, even by ZANU-PF standards, obscene and grotesque.
The resources deployed to a private, party political venture could have been used to alleviate some of the hardships encountered every day by millions of Zimbabweans. How many bandages and pain killers could have been put in primary health centres?
How many boxes of chalk and exercise books could have been put in primary schools? How many bags of maize meal and bundles of vegetables could have been served in military barracks or police camps or prisons or hospitals?
Imagine also the man/woman hours that are spent by high level public officials on tour with Mrs Grace Mugabe. Who is doing their work? What benefits do the people of Zimbabwe gain, while these officials are playing truant?
Among her constant messages, Mrs Grace Mugabe is making negative assessments of the competence and performance of ministers, and threatening them with dismissal. According to her apologists, she is also re-defining the attributes, functions and roles of the Vice Presidency of Zimbabwe.
Where does she get the authority to stray into the territory of the Head of State and Government of Zimbabwe?
Another of her constant messages has been condemnation of corruption and `buying the people’. And yet, at all her gatherings, she is dishing out seeds, fertilisers and even food. If this isn’t buying the people, then what is? If it is charity, why hasn’t she felt this charitable in all past years? Besides, can Mrs Grace Mugabe show proof that these materials are not procured using state resources?
At each rally, the prelude to Mrs Grace Mugabe’s ranting tirades, is a catalogue of `zvichemo’, presented by `provincial governors’ and ZANU-PF provincial leaders. `Kwedu kuno Amai, hatina migwagwa, tinodawo makiriniki, nemvura yakachena, uye hakuna mabasa emayouth’. Who is she, to be presented with all these `national grievances’? What is she going to do to solve them, using which institutions, and what resources?
One conclusion we can draw from this, is that these party and government operatives have lost faith and confidence in both the party and its government. They now place hope in an individual who has no legitimate claim to national leadership or responsibility.
For all thirty-four years of our independence, the swansong of some ZANU-PF leaders, other Party activists, and some veterans of the liberation struggle, has been that those without struggle credentials are not eligible to occupy high office, either in the party or in its government.
May those who are fuelling Mrs Grace Mugabe’s ambition to high national office, please chronicle her struggle credentials.
Where are the back–bench MPs?
The abuse and misuse of state resources in support of Mrs Grace Mugabe, should not pass unchallenged. Parliament as an institution, and individual parliamentarians, are custodians of the collective national interest. Members of parliament should debate issues that bear on the welfare of citizens and the nation as a whole. They should table questions for written replies to each minister whose portfolio has been affected by the Mrs Grace Mugabe saga. Theyshould start by asking each minister who has been in Mrs Grace Mugabe’s entourage, to explain the national business they were doing there, and show the results they achieved. Then, they should also ask the Ministers of Defence, Home affairs, State Security, Information, etc., to give detailed breakdowns of the expenses incurred by their ministries, departments and agencies, during the whirlwind tour of the country by Mrs Grace Mugabe.
They should explain to which votes in their ministry budgets, these expenses will be debited. These ministers should also explain why, in their cash-strapped circumstances, and in the face of many pressing needs, these `Amai tours’ expenditures are national priorities.
Where is President Robert Mugabe?
Since Mrs Grace Mugabe started her campaign, President Mugabe has gone underground, surfacing only once to cap graduates at a state university, and now to travel to the Vatican. Does he approve of all the statements being made by Mrs Grace Mugabe, on matters of state and government? Has he abdicated his responsibilities to the people of Zimbabwe, in deference to his wife? Is he condoning the disparaging remarks she is making about ministers he appointed, and who he supervises?
IS HE ACQUIESCING TO, AIDING AND/OR ABETING THE PARALYSIS OF GOVERNMENT BY MRS GRACE MUGABE?
We state here, even though it is apparent, that ZIMBABWE IS NOT A DYNASTY, and we call on the people of Zimbabwe, especially the leaders and other members of ZANU-PF, to RESIST THE DYNASTISATION of our country.
HARARE, 21 OCTOBER 2014