Can the MDC-T be trusted?

WHEN the inclusive government was formed in February 2009, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai promised civil servants that he would pay them in hard currency of their choice.

He criticised the idea of paying government workers in vouchers.

To some of us who had worked closely with Tsvangirai from his time in the labour movement up to the formation of the MDC in 1999, were never convinced; we knew his limitations. Come month end, the workers were given allowances of US$100 instead of real salaries.

To be frank, the workers were patient enough and continued to work although the Zesa, TelOne and water tariffs were gobbling all their allowances.

To make matters worse, although Tsvangirai has executive powers as enshrined in the global political agreement and is in charge of all ministers and policy formulation in the country, nothing was done to force Zesa, TelOne and “city fathers” to reduce the tariffs to affordable levels.

Instead at a political rally, dubbed “The Lecture Series” at Small City hall in Bulawayo in December 2009, Tsvangirai rudely told his audience that there is nothing for “mahala”. He said, in Shona: “Hapana chemahara, chamahara kudziya mushana chete.”

This was after Nust students and residents had complained about the high tuition fees at institutes of higher learning and high tariff charges. He explained that the fees were firstly pegged at US$9 000 and then reduced to about US$3 000. Truly speaking, can a civil servant earning roughly US$180 pay US$3 000 fees for his / her child? It is really ridiculous.

Earlier on last year Tsvangirai’s proxy spokesman Professor John Makumbe told another gathering at Rainbow Hotel — organised by MDC-T’s sister organisation, Bulawayo Agenda  — that come June 2009 all civil servants would get decent salaries, courtesy of his MDC-T party. Is US$180 a decent salary?

What is also surprising is the fact that the ministers of the Public Service (Eliphas  Mukonoweshuro), Energy (Elias Mudzuri),  Information Communication Technology  (Nelson Chamisa), and Labour (Paurina Mpariwa) all come from the prime minister’s party.

Again the MDC-T won council election in most urban centres in the country, and their 20 to 30 year-old “city fathers” feel that gold has been found in local authorities and are now scrambling to fleece them of their meagre resources. What a shame.

They do not know that being a councillor is a part-time job not full employment. Even their ceremonial mayors think that they are full-time employees, yet theirs is part-time work.

They now start work at 7.30am and dismiss at 4.30pm to get more allowances. It is really embarrassing to say the least. Tribalism is also the order of the day. They are openly saying that it is time for them to eat with their tribesmen!

I shudder to think what would be of Zimbabwe today had MDC-T won the 2008 harmonised elections.

It is only one year of the inclusive government, but the level of corruption, nepotism and tribalism shown by the MDC-T is already scary.

Imagine a government minister employing a son and his father into the same ministry. Is that not nepotism, if not corruption? Were those jobs advertised, especially the father’s job which is critical to the people of Matabeleland’s lives?

The prime minister embarks on a party political tour and pretends it’s a government tour to assess food security in Matabeleland and the Midlands. He thinks that we are intellectual dwarfs.

We saw him going around Lupane with one of his henchmen, Njabuliso Mguni, the ex-MP who was fired by the MDC-T’s rival formation led by Arthur Mutambara for indiscipline.

Is Tsvangirai telling us that Mguni is now the governor of Matabeleland North, or provincial/ district administrator? My understanding is that when on government business, the prime minister should be accompanied by the governor, provincial administrator, an elected MP or a senator for the area.

It is a shame that the prime minister of the country embarks on selfish party business masquerading as a government premier.

Whilst we accept that there should be change, the MDC-T is not the change the country wants. It’s like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

Madluphuthu Khumalo is a political analyst based in Bulawayo.

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