Donors Dump Corruption-ridden Constitutional Process

Buttock-waving Mugabe women supporters and youths disrupted a Constitutional Conference in Harare last July 14 (above), leading to police being called in to restore order and guard the meetings. Now, ZANU PF, Mugabe's party, and MDC-Tsvangirai have joined hands to loots funds allocated to the process by donors. The donors have responded by refusing to pay for lavish bar bills, room service and US$40 daily "allowances"for almost a thousand delegates, including gatecrashers and street kids who were allowed to attend the last workshop earlier this month. The organisers from ZANU PF and MDC responded by looting US$4 million given to them by Finance Minister and Tsvangirai confidante Tendai Biti

Harare, Zimbabwe, 24 January 2010

Donors like the United Nations Development Fund have dumped the corruption-ridden Zimbabwe Constitution-making process amid claims by ZANU PF that the move is informed by the failure of Western governments to craft a Constitution on behalf of Zimbabwe.

Germany, the United Kingdom's DFID, Sweden, European Union, USAID and the French government had pledged to fund the Zimbabwe constitution-making process, especially the so-called "outreach"programme, to the tune of US$16 million but have now refused to have anything to do with the chaotic and half-hearted process.

The donors took the decision after a workshop for representatives of political parties and civil society in Harare, where, instead of the originally planned 600 "rapporteurs", a thousand people showed up at the workshop. The number was inflated by ZANU PF War Veterans and Youth League members who saw an opportunity "to eat"in the process.

I first broke the story on this blog in the article: Zimbabwe Constitutional Process Suspended As Funds Are Looted

The donors responded by refusing to pay for the hotel bill and also refused to fund the US$40 daily allowances given to these people who had attended the workshop.

But it gets worse.

Amidst revelations that parliament has decided to hire the very cars that it purchased for MPs at a rate of US$1 per kilometer instead of the US$.60 cents charged by reputable car rental firms in Harare like Hertz, the donors decided that this was now just a chance for the politicians from both MDC and ZANU PF to loot the funds and that they would not spend their government's taxpayers' money lining the pockets of these crooks.

When organisations like the NCA cottoned on to the gravy train, the Parliamentary Select Committee co-chairman from ZANU PF decided to play the partisan politics game. Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana told the media that those complaining about the US$40 daily allowance when civil servants were being paid slave wages of US$150 per month should "should go and ask Tendai Biti (Zimbabwe's Finance Minister and MDC-Tsvangirai Secretary-General) why he is underpaying them.”

There is no doubt that, with poverty remaining a big problem in Zimbabwe, with this useless and moribund Inclusive Government failing to formulate, let alone implement, a single job-creating policy, the politicians are now bent on using aid and donor funds to buy the loyalty of their supporters.

The MDC-T did it when it hired loads of people into city and town councils they control in order to ensure that they get voted back in next time round.

Now, both ZANU PF and MDC think that the nationally significant process of crafting a new constitution for Zimbabwe is an opportunity to nominate even more of its own people to stick their snouts in the feeding trough.

No wonder the process is moribund. The government itself has no money. Which means they can not proceed unless they do so in a manner that satisfies the standards of transparency and good governance insisted on by their Pied Pipers.

As I mentioned in the article I refer to above, the looting of the funds for the Zimbabwe Constitution process had to be based on the US$4 million availed to the process by Finance Minister Tendai Biti.

This money was used to pay the US$40 daily allowances for the one thousand delegates, including the gatecrashers who had neither been invited nor nominated officially by ZANU PF.

The rest was used to pay for hotel bills, including lavish bar bills and room service.

All this while sewage continues to flow in the streets, while Zimbabwe's schools record zero percent pass rates, while cholera rears its head, while unemployment in Zimbabwe is still the highest in the world.

These people are supposed to run the country?

These are people that certain apologists on both the MDC and ZANU PF sides insist must not be criticised or taken to task?

These are the people who say they want to deliver change to the way Zimbabwe is run and governed.

It must be the joke of the century.

The donors must be commended for this. They must not take any nonsense from these people who are growing fat from eating the sewage of a broken down nation, thieves and robbers who believe that being elected is a licence to line their own pockets while those who elected them rummage around at rubbish dumps for scraps from their lavish five-star hotel dinners.



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