MPs spending should mirror reality

Parliament will meet for a pre-budget seminar, in Victoria Falls. With hotel accommodation costing $145 per night, bedding alone will amount to $300,000. Flights and per diem will cost the taxpayers another $200,000. Going forward, government should construct a low-cost parliamentary accommodation centre, supplying only the basics – a bed, desk and television and, for meals, a humble canteen. Parliamentarians are representatives of the people. If they represent an impoverished population t

Big Words Small Pockets

The grapevine says Welshman Ncube – the devolution of power guy – and his MDC faction, are broke. Party spokesperson Nhlahla Dube denied these rumours, saying that the reason for the party’s apparent silence is that they have adopted a strategy of ‘stealth.’ Apart from finances, the problem with the MDC is communication. On 31 July, they went against a party full of Chinotimbas (to quote Professor Madhuku) and employed jawbreakers like ‘devolution’ and now a new one, ‘stealth,’ causing the reasonable man to wonder if the party will at some point bring itself to speak the same language as the proletariat.

Welshman Ncube
Welshman Ncube

Crime Does Pay

Sandra Nhau of the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission has hinted that the commission, funded by government, is powerless to pursue corruption cases linked to bigwigs. Nhau said ZACC cannot bite the hand that feeds it. One wonders if it is just a cost centre set up for mere appearances. If the commission admits to being powerless, perhaps it should either obtain funding from elsewhere or disband altogether. Meanwhile, Nhau’s utterances will have triggered the lighting of celebratory cigars and spilling of champagne from gilded goblets as fat cats rejoiced another escape – ‘a toast to looting comrades, crime does pay.’

The Lazarus Effect

Many of the country’s schools are in ICU, if not already dead. A glance at the once gleaming halls of education shows peeling paint, collapsing fences, underpaid teachers and pupils whose studies will definitely be affected by constant electricity cuts. Minister Dokora is tasked with doing a Lazarus: the resurrection of the corpse of our schools. Lazarus Dokora has said schools are not permitted to bar any child from attending lessons for non-payment of fees. We are regressing into anarchy. Just like the cancellation of Zesa and city council bills permits ratepayers to neglect responsibility, Dokora’s announcement gives license for parents to abdicate their duty of paying school fees and absolves the state of its role of creating employment. One thing affects another. Without employment, parents cannot pay school fees. Without school fees, headmasters cannot properly run schools.

Who is fooling who?

The sun rises in the east. Looking east clashes with my grandmother’s teachings. She always told me not to stare at the sun. On one newspaper banner a headline screams that a Chinese man was discovered audaciously attempting to fly out with 100kg of ivory. In a separate report we read that education minister Lazarus Dokora is headed to China – flying towards the sun, like Icarus – to appeal for funding for the repair of infrastructure at several satellite schools. Those who extol the government’s look East policy speak of China as an ‘all weather friend.’ Those who shout ‘we will never be a colony again’ continually give away, inch by inch, our land. This raises that age old question – who is fooling who?

It is amazing how one mistake affects the country in several ways. At its peak, Kondozi Estate of Odzi employed a permanent workforce of no less than 3,000 and ran three primary schools, unfunded by China. Now the once productive farms are bordered by wireless fence posts – the barbed wire holds the rotting carcasses of bush buck caught in poacher snares – and the schools are in disrepair. China’s ambassador said his country would encourage Chinese visitors to ‘learn more about our laws so they won’t be caught on the wrong side of them, which is strange, because one does not need a lesson in law to understand that attempting to walk past the check-in desk with a bagful of elephant tusks is illegal, in any part of the world. I cling to the lesson from my grandmother. Don’t stare at the sun, it will make you blind.

Jambanja in Manicaland

The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board has failed to fulfil its pledge to provide farming inputs to new farmers. If it was necessary to rectify land ownership imbalances, we should have insisted on giving arable land to those with the means to farm, rather than giving a finite resource to ‘farmers’ who, every October, beg for help. There should have been a smooth transition of ownership, from one productive farmer to another, to ensure continuity. In related news, Zanu (PF) and MDC-T supporters clashed in Mutasa where government was distributing agricultural inputs. MDC-T parliamentarian for Mutasa Central, Trevor Saruwaka accused Zanu (PF) of attempting to bar MDC-T supporters from receiving farming inputs. As tension mounted, the distribution was stopped. This is what is wrong with our country. We lack the political maturity to co-exist with people of differing opinions. While the party leaders are off somewhere – either receiving treatment in Malaysia or having tea with Bishop TB Joshua – people who should really concern themselves with feeding their families are engaged in fisticuffs. We may as well tie pieces of sharpened flint onto sticks, to make bows and arrows and return to the Stone Age where such savagery belongs.

Zimbabwe Burning

The nation is burning. Right before our eyes. Gift Chimanikire, MP for Southerton, has said the country consumes 6M tonnes of firewood yearly. To put this into perspective, we burn enough wood to fill 176,000 gonyeti lorries per year. It is amazing how one thing affects another, even when they are seemingly unrelated. Before 2000, townsfolk only needed firewood for the occasional braai. Then all hell broke loose and the cities went dark, like some post apocalyptic society. Trees fell – TIMBER! – and woodlands are fast becoming grassy clearings. Soon the grass too will go, as farmers with amnesia – too forgetful to remember we are Africa’s bread basket – constantly dig for gold.

Free Like OJ

Dudu Manhenga is out on bail, pending her appeal hearing. Manhenga was convicted of manslaughter and given an 18 month effective jail term. Sweetness of voice does have its benefits. Boxing promoter, Stalin Mau Mau also walked free like OJ Simpson. The repetitively named Mau Mau has been given a 15 month jail sentence, wholly suspended, after being found guilty of driving without a valid license. Mau Mau knocked down a cyclist who survived but with two broken teeth. Not the sort of knock-out that boxing fans will applaud. – Till next week, my pen is capped. [email protected]

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