“PEOPLE get the government they deserve.”
This is often quoted to explain why some governments are generally pretty awful, all over the world. The inference is that if people were more careful who they voted for, and if more people took the trouble to vote in the first place, we would not have such mediocre people in government, and indeed politicians would have to clean up their act and work a lot harder than they do.
Well, seven weeks after the Zimbabwe elections, we have the former government still supposedly in power because of the delay in the presidential election result, and we have at least one part of the future government, the legislature and nearly all the local government, but they are not doing anything! Quite why this is so baffles me, because they went to great lengths to get elected.
Now that they are elected, you would think it might occur to perhaps one or two of them that they should do something â€” speak to their constituents, write us a letter, send us an SMS, call us, or maybe just stop over at a shopping centre one day so we know they are still around?
But no, it appears that they are all in hibernation (winter is certainly approaching), or else the MDC representatives have fled across the border to join Morgan Tsvangirai.
I do not want to believe the latter, because I would not like to think that the electorate chose candidates who were ready to abandon them as soon as they were elected. So it must be the former: the onset of winter has sent them all into hibernation.
Yet I do not recall the previous lot of MPs hibernating. On the contrary, a number of them were visible and holding meetings, writing articles, attending functions, chatting to their constituents over the weekend, etc, all year round.
What has happened? Is the new lot of MDC representatives so timid that they are afraid of their own constituents? Surely the odd threat from Chihuri or even Mugabe
cannot have frightened them all into silence and invisibility? So â€” what are they waiting for?
If they are waiting for the outcome of the run-off of the presidential election, that is madness, because that outcome might not be with us for several months yet. Anyway, do they really need to have to have a new president in power before they can start acting as peopleâ€™s representatives on the ground? Surely not!
The very lack of a new president in power is what gives them even more responsibility than they would normally have to talk to their constituents and start trying to deal with their issues?
Surely a group of 99 MDC MPs and several hundred councilors could between them think of something helpful to do to address at least one of these problems, even without a new president in place.
A bit of boldness, please, new government! Seven weeks is long enough to find your feet.
By Trudy Stevenson:A former MP for Harare North.