Smiling at each other while holding knives behind their backs, the parties to the Inclusive Government are engaged in shocking dereliction of duty. While the country is burning, they are piddling. Not everything that must be done requires donor funds and that is where we need to start. Let the new blood show that it is indeed new, instead of giving the same politics as ZANU PF and The Solution.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 27 September 2009
It is now apparent to any thinking Zimbabwean that neither Robert Mugabe nor Morgan Tsvangirai are capable or even willing to bring real change to the people of Zimbabwe.
There is a stalemate as I write, between the two, over the so-called "outstanding issues." They are barely talking to each other now. Mugabe has set up his own guerilla cabinet whose sole purpose is to ensure that ZAU PF retains active control in all ministries and arms of government.
Which leaves the MDC ministers mere shadows, puppets on a string, like what is happening to a certain co-Minister who shall remain anonymous.
It is imperative to understand that Tsvangirai's Job Description for the post of Prime Minister does not state one of his Duties and Responsibilities as "fighting Mugabe".
That they will fight is inevitable, but let this be about real issues and not smokes and mirrors, feeding troughs and gravy trains.
We are all in a state of suspended animation because one side says it can not function without Governors and ambassadors and other cronies, while the other side says it also can not function unless it is allowed to fly to Britain at any time without let or hindrance.
Does this not sound insane?
The most urgent matter facing this country is civil service reform. Government needs to be trimmed heavily. Right now it is not a place of employment, but a huge welfare estate.
Three ministries dealing with Communications, all staffed to the gills.
Ministers of State in This and That Ones Office.
Border Gezi Youth Militia on Government payroll.
Retreats that fail to yield a single benefit to the people of Zimbabwe.
Speakers of Parliament spending US$6 000 per month staying in five-star hotels in Harare.
This is before we even start talking of the overstaffed and underemployed ministries themselves.
So it is a surprise that the Prime Minister and his President are not looking at this matter with the urgency it deserves.
Which in itself is proof that they are either unwilling or incapable. In which case we must ask why they should continue to hold those offices.
The benefits of rationalising the Civil Service are quite patent.
You shrink the government, which leaves a small pool of competent, professional and dedicated servants of the people in place. Government will then be able to afford competitive salaries in order to lure the best brains from the private sector into the public sector.
All the attendant costs for a huge civil service will also disappear - car hires, rentals, allowances.....
Let Mugabe block this and let the Prime Minister speak up publicly against that block. Let him show that he is concerned with addressing the immediate problems facing Zimbabwe, which problems do not need money to implement.
You do not need the IMF or the World Bank to cut staff and streamline the government. You need political will.
It is true that this country can be run efficiently with only eight ministries. The rest are an unnecessary burden on the people of Zimbabwe.
By shrinking government, the state will also be freeing up money for the private sector to borrow, expand and absorb those retrenched from the civil service.
A Land Audit need not cost the US$30 million that ZANU PF is demanding for the exercise. Both Flora Buka and Didymus Mutasa have done audits. These are currently locked in a cabinet behind the green high-back chair in Mugabe's study at the State House. Gathering dust.
Start with them.
Find out who is holding onto multiple farms, who is holding more than the stipulated hectrage in farmland.
This does not require US$30 million.
But we hear no noise about it, even as it emerges that we will be importing maize again next year.
Talk is cheap. You can express "outrage" at farm invasions and disruptions, but unless you are actually doing something about it, then you are content with the status quo.
This government needs to shift from being a government about power and control to a government focused on the people.
Then again, the MDC has never known how to galvanise the masses about issues, which is why all their marches and protests fail. They focus on the wrong thing. No one is prepared to die in the streets protesting about the MDC not getting a Resident Minister appointed for Harare.
There are issues that affect the people directly, which the MDC has never been able to grasp. Instead, they make mountains out of molehills, and then invite us all to bring our climbing gear to go up that mole-hill. No wonder no one bothers.