Either the MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai have been corrupted by ZANU PF or they were always like this and never really represented the change and seismic shift in focus that Zimbabwe needs in order to rise and start working again.
We had interesting meeting with a western diplomat stationed in Harare today and what he had to say reveals just why the west, especially, is not going to come to the aid of the GNU with funds.
The western diplomat minutely detailed his country's concerns about the way the MDC is going about things and here are some of the things he says show that Morgan Tsvangirai has either been corrupted by ZANU PF or that the MDC was always a corrupted party and are now simply showing their true colours because opportunity has been granted them
- The MDC-controlled Harare City Council set the minimum wage for its workers at US$379. This means that the least paid municipal worker is getting this amount from the City Council.
- The same MDC council had allocated its councillors stands in low and high-density areas, which stands were being given virtually free, since the price was set in Zimbabwe dollars and were ridiculously low.
- The people who are being paid US$379 minimum wage above are MDC grassroots supporters whom the opposition gave jobs to in January this year, vastly expanding a staff complement that had already been bloated under ZANU patronage rules, where ZANU PF also offered jobs to supporters in order to buy support. The MDC simply followed this same example when they took control of the councils. In other words, there was no change of culture or mindset when the opposition took over.
- The same MDC controlled council has also set salaries for "supervisors at as high as US$3 000 per month
- While all this going on, City of Harare residents are still going without water, risking a resurgence of cholera.
- While the MDC Council pays these salaries, Harare's roads controlled by the council are still full of potholes and in a very bad state of disrepair.
- While The MDC does this, the water delivery infrastructure has collapsed, hence the absence of water from city home taps, meaning cholera continues to loom large.
- Rubbish is still piling up in the streets of Harare, uncollected, again breeding cholera.
- The Council is, therefore, simply hiking charges (yes they hiked, water charges where they are not delivering water, rubbish collection fees when they are not collecting any rubbish etc) in order to pay inflated salaries to their army of underemployed supporters, NOT in order to improve the lives of citizens
- At the National level, within the GNU itself, the MDC has rushed to collect Mercedes Benzes for its ministers, to pay hefty salaries for the same ministers and their staff and to claim expenses for "work" when none can be seen being done.
- The Prime Minister now spends his time fighting over the appointment of Permanent Secretaries, Ambassadors and Governors (in order to give jobs "to his boys" - is how the western diplomat put it.
- The government of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is spending precious foreign currency buying new furniture, from leather sofas to glossy coffee tables for ministerial offices, while paying civil servants US$100 per month, which, as of this month, the same civil servants are failing to access. This is why you hear Biti warning of "civil unrest" if aid is not delivered.
- The western diplomat also pointed to the one ministry in particular, the failure by Nelson Chamisa to bring TelOne and the Internet service of Zimbabwe to heel as evidence that the MDC's priorities in the ministries they control is all wrong.....
- The continued prosecution of Jestina Mukoko, Roy Bennett, Ghandi Mudzingwa and many others, seem to have been accepted as inevitable by the MDC, and it appears that they have now shifted their focus to the trappings of power as opposed to the deliverance of the rule of law, respect for human rights and other democratic ideals. They are, the diplomat said, "abandoning the very principles upon which they staked their reputation."
- Farms continue to be invaded, destroying food security yet again, but it appears the Prime Minister has also decided that there is anything he can do about this.
"I am absolutely certain that if we gave any money to this government, it would disappear down a black hole before it can get to the people. I have told my government that the best option is to give money to aid agencies like UNICEF and USAID, who will use it to benefit people directly."
However, the statement that gave me cause for concern was when he said he had such high hopes for Morgan Tsvangirai that he was "personally wounded by this corruption of the Prime Minister."
He did not mean that the Prime Minister is now corrupt, but that he has been corrupted, he said. I just wondered whether there is a difference between the two. Much as Mugabe was considered "not corrupt, but he tolerates corruption", the same appears to now be said of Morgan Tsvangirai.
Surprisingly, this western diplomat says he believes that the only reason the MDC are not getting even more corrupt and greedy at national level is because of the presence of ZANU PF. He believes that the two parties at that level are watching each other closely and the MDC is unlikely to suggest any moves that could be seen as corruption or greedy.
But he also points out that where the greediness is institutionalised, like with the offering of new Mercedes Benzes to ministers, the MDC will actually give in, since it can always justify itself by saying these are established benefits that they found in place.
It was a long meeting, indeed and it served to show me personally just how closely this government is being watched.
As this diplomat explains minutely what it is that is wrong with this arrangement (and why Mugabe and Tsvangirai appear happy with it), it becomes clear what the MDC are doing at the moment is pursuing power. Everything they are focusing on (appointments of governors, ammbassadors, permanent secretaries etc) has no impact on the suffering of the people.
Instead, it is all designed to concentrate as much power as possible in the hands of the MDC.
And yes, it is the people who suffer in the end.
As a footnote, let me end by telling you that Zimbabwe, for most of today, was again cut off from the Internet. Yes, the whole country "disappeared from the Internet" as the people at Utande, an ISP here, put it. It simply confirms what I told you a couple of weeks back when we were also cut off from the world as a country: as long as this GNU is in place, our Internet services will continue to be like this.
As a result of the shutdown of national Internet, I was unable to fulfil an interview request with BadGals Radio, based in America, who wanted an interview on the Internet with me today.