Ngomakurira – Accountable

I asked a man just back from Ghana, 'how's their constitution?' 'Biased,' he said. I asked another who lives in Zambia. 'It's a struggle.' Why is accountability such a threat? You'd imagine being accountable would be one way of getting the job done better. A report in one of the papers tells us

the government has built houses in Bulawayo under Operation Garikai. They were warned to service the area first with water and a sewer system. But they just went ahead anyway. The mayor commented, ‘they did not take heed of our warning and it is sad that it has come to this and they cannot blast the rock since the houses are now complete. There are two options left in this scenario, either government blasts the rocks and destroys the houses or they raze the houses and start afresh.’

So the people’s taxes are used in such ways and no one is answerable. No one will face sanctions. Questions and complaints get nowhere. And so we go on. We are getting used to our situation. Lack of accountability is contagious. Even in Borrowdale, one of the poshest places to live, you see heaps of uncollected garbage by the gates of protected housing estates. On New Year’s day a paper reported a store owner as saying, ‘things have never been this bad before’ and yet the same article makes the point that there has been ‘no political fallout’ for the president. In other words the government has inured itself against accountability and we are all getting used to it. It is the way they want it and we are all complying.

To insist on accountability in a climate where it does not exist is difficult. You may find yourself alone and vulnerable. When people become accessories in their own oppression, and when opposition politicians bicker among themselves rather than face the issues of the day, we are on a short road to tyranny.

To enter a New Year without hope is a soulless experience. Yet we can create our own hope. Hope too is contagious. In our own small way we can make demands of each other to be accountable. It is a good habit. It could even be a New Year resolution. If everyone did, it might even grow into an unstoppable tsunami.

Post published in: Opinions

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