What have they done?

HARARE - Another bite of the cake? or, Hand on the baton? These are the two straightforward questions facing every senator, MP, mayor and local councillor right across Zimbabwe.

Questions that require the individuals concerned to look themselves in the mirror and ask what they’ve done since they’ve been in office and what they’ve still got to give.

Ever since the functional commencement of the GNU in February 2009, MDC officials, from MP’s to local councillors, have found themselves virtually paralysed, unable to effect any real changes in their areas of operation.

There have been very few exceptions to this situation, education perhaps being the only sector that has made consistent, visible, significant gains.  

Sadly, after just four years in positions of authority, some MDC officials are resorting to the very same tactics that they complained their Zanu PF counterparts were using in previous elections — vote- buying, intimidation, bribery and even threats of violence and death to people opposed to them.  

The ugly scenario last week concerning aspiring MDC candidate Geoff Nyarota was a sickening display.

This wasn’t candidates from opposing political parties against each other, but two men representing the same party. Nyarota said he received an anonymous call from someone whose voice and pure dialect he recognised to be that of the MDC sitting MP of Makoni South.

“You are going to die,” the caller said, “I am going to kill you. I am a killer. Those who know me are aware that I am a killer.”

Vote-buying and bribery is also being used by sitting MDC officials seeking the mandate to face the electorate.  

It might not be as crude as handing out bags of food or free farms but after thirty three years of skewed democracy Zimbabweans are not fools and understand very well what’s going on.

Last week the MDC mayor of Marondera said ratepayers who were over 65 would receive a 30 percent reduction in their monthly municipality accounts.

The mayor said the council had decided to slash the bills of senior citizens:  “as a gesture of honouring them by reducing the money they pay in taxes to the council”.

The irony of the timing of this “gesture of honour” coming just months before MDC local council officials seek re-election, is not lost on young or old residents of Marondera.

Ever since the present MDC-run council took office in 2009 they have been under a continuous barrage of attack from ratepayers over the shocking state of the town which has got steadily worse as the years have passed.

Collapsing roads, no clearance of storm drains or verges, no grass cutting, no street lights, sporadic garbage collection, uncollected piles of dumped refuse and car wrecks, vendors crowding every pavement and a council stuffed with fully paid ghost workers.

Across Marondera there is widespread discontent amongst residents about the shocking state of this once beautiful little town.

Offering older residents a 30 percent discount is nothing more than vote-buying and definitely not something the council can afford to do.

While such crude tactics play out in the press ordinary Zimbabweans are left wondering who, if anyone, is deserving of their vote or if they should even bother to vote if this is the calibre of candidates seeking office.

After twenty nine years of Zanu PF and four years of paralysed GNU, voters deserve far better.

All aspiring candidates need to get out of their vehicles, walk around pot-holed, litter strewn neighbourhoods, meet the thousands  of unemployed people, hear the daily problems and tell us what they intend to do to serve us rather than enrich themselves. - Cathy Buckle


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