AFTER the release of Zanu PF’s list of aspiring candidates for parliament, we can now confirm that a record of fraud, crime and general crookedness is not a hurdle to one’s political ambitions in the ruling party. It is in fact a required qualification.
Reading through the list of over a thousand aspiring candidates was like reading a cheap crime novel, so dominated by dozens of shady characters one can easily lose the plot.
The candidate list for Zanu PF primaries is packed with mafia-type goons, a wide variety of them.
From characters with alleged tax fraud convictions, to those who have destroyed our sports with their mismanagement and theft. From those who have defrauded the state through dodgy maize deals to those who have bled one or two banks dry.
There are land barons and people who siphoned money from parastatals.
The pool from which Zanu PF supporters can choose the best criminal is pretty wide this year.
It does seem within Zanu PF politics crime does indeed pay. Talk about fighting corruption. It’s a just joke which is not funny at all.
Looking at the Zanu PF list some questions that often come to our mind are:-
Why does Zanu PF prefer candidates with criminal records?;
Why do criminals in general want to join politics?; and
Why people want criminals as their representatives?
Well, someone in India once wrote that political parties want criminals because they come up with a lot of money and individuals who could finance their campaigning themselves are embraced by the political parties.
In 1969, Indira Gandhi banned the corporate donations to political parties. This was in a bid to manage the troublesome phenomenon of crime-politics nexus.
But it seems Zanu PF does not care about crooks and campaigning shelling out black money.
Moreover people vote for such candidates who have a criminal background.
Such candidates convey a message among the voters that they are willing to do whatever it takes to represent them either by hook or by crook.
Read Milan Vaishnav’s book titled When crime pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics and you will understand why Zanu PF prefers dodgy characters as candidates. Zanu PF wants to win the next general elections at all costs using criminals.
Muckraker is reminded of the late maverick Eddison Zvobgo, way back in 2003, mourning about how this once great revolutionary party had become a den of “opportunists, corrupt and incompetent” schemers, none of whom cared much for, or even knew of, the party’s founding ideology.
Some among us were beginning to be taken in by the new dispensation’s rhetoric against corruption seriously. Even within Zanu PF, it was all becoming confusing for those who have come to know the party as the shelter that protects them from the law. Now, thankfully, Zanu PF has swiftly moved in to remind everyone that it remains the first choice refuge for all the country’s deplorables and scoundrels.
One can hardly tell whether this a list of candidates for public office, or a crime suspects’ line-up. Anyway, our voters will have a taste of black money during campaigns. At least the ill-gotten wealth will be spread to the people, for a few weeks. The most generous criminal will undoubtedly win.
Speaking of our rich leaders, what ever happened to the lifestyle audit that we were promised?
In January, still in the heady early days of the new dispensation, Cabinet Secretary Misheck Sibanda wrote to all ministers demanding that they declare their assets within a month. We even saw declaration forms flying about. The chefs were to declare any business interests, what they owned or anything they had any part in running. They were to declare assets and any movable property whose value exceeded US$100 000.
“The President expects the full and urgent co-operation of all affected office bearers in responding to this directive,” Sibanda said in his letter.
Now, almost four months after all that noise, we are still to see our leaders’ assets.
Surely the people deserve to see a list of those assets, which we suspect are also known to our leaders as the gains of the liberation struggle. We know they think they did not fight or suffer to be poor. Typical mercenary mentality. Muckraker can only guess the whole exercise has taken this long because the lists of assets are too long for some.
Surely how does one expect our more enterprising leaders like Obert Mpofu to list all their gains on a mere, single sheet of paper? One needs at least a year, and many reams of paper, to complete such a task.
It looks like progress is really slow for our new owners of the country – the stockholders – in their attempts to pass themselves off as civilian leaders.
First, it was Vice-President retired General Constantino Chiwenga. When the nurses went to him to discuss unpaid wages and to negotiate a salary hike, he treated them as best as he knew how. He fired them all on the spot. That is the new dispensation.
In fact, according to an affidavit filed in court by the nurses’ union, this was after he had issued threats against them.
“On April 17, 2018, we met with the respondents (Health Services Board, Health and Child Care minister Parirenyatwa, and Chiwenga) at the third respondent’s (Chiwenga) offices. Instead of engaging us, the third respondent threatened the leadership of the first applicant (Zina) with violence and ejected the first applicant’s president and secretary-general from the meeting.”
If only Chiwenga could use his threats and orders to commandeer drugs and equipment to suddenly appear by some magic in the hospitals, he would be the best leader we have ever had.
Another army man working hard to shed off the camouflage is Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo. Busy man or busybody? Over the past three weeks, he has dined with rich fund managers on Wall Street in New York, had tea with Boris Johnson in London, and is enjoying mussels and waffles with EU diplomats over there in Brussels. At an event at Chatham House in London, the audience was amused as Moyo could not resist using terms such as “discipline” and “frogmarch”.
You can take a soldier out of the barracks, but you can’t take the barracks out of them! That’s your new dispensation.