The opposition Front for Economic Emancipation in Zimbabwe (FEEZ) party led by Godfrey Tsenengamu has condemned the move by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to give out loans to Cabinet Ministers, their Deputies, and Members of Parliament (MPs) a few months before general elections.
The government has offered a US$40 000 housing loan to each sitting MP, US$500 000 for individual ministers, and US$350 000 for their deputies.
In a statement, FEEZ argued that the loans are not meant for the purchase of residential homes but meant to provide ZANU-PF MPs with resources to campaign for general elections scheduled for 2023 so that the party retains a two-thirds parliamentary majority. Reads the statement:
The Front for Economic Emancipation in Zimbabwe (FEEZ) castigates and condemns in the strongest terms the lack of compassion by the ED-led ZANU-PF regime to the suffering masses of Zimbabwe as shown by its move to fork out millions of scarce foreign currency to Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Members of Parliament in the guise of providing residential stands loans.
The FEEZ party does not take lightly this insensitive move by the ZANU-PF government which is being done at the expense of the poor taxpayers including civil servants whose salaries are way below the poverty datum line and the poor masses who can’t access basic social services like health as they are living on less than $1 a day.
As FEEZ, we know that these monies being parcelled out are not meant for the purchase of residential homes but meant to provide ZANU-PF MPs4ED with ready resources to use in their 2023 campaigns in order for ZANU-PF to maintain its two-thirds majority in Parliament.
This is so because there is no way a government can provide repayable loans to people who have less than a year in office when vehicle loans of the same magnitude are spread over a five-year period.
There is no way these loans are going to be repaid because they are never meant to be repaid.
While some might have wanted us to capitalize on this opportunity to score cheap political points over our colleagues in the opposition, we have chosen to be realistic and objective.
From a principle and moral point of view, we may have wanted to challenge all opposition Members of Parliament especially those from CCC to stop and reflect before taking up these loans as this is not only going to reflect badly on them but also leave them compromised and tainted such that they won’t be able to hold the government to account and will largely be seen as being selfish.
However, on another thought, we noted that it will be unwise to encourage them to do so given that their ZANU-PF and MDC colleagues will still take the money and fund their 2023 campaigns.
It is tricky for the CCC legislators to do so also given the fact that both ZANU-PF and MDC parties have always had a share of Political Parties Finance given by the government and the CCC has been struggling to get funding and only relying on handouts from well-wishers.
Besides these monies, that the ED-led ZANU-PF government is giving out to its MPs4ED under the guise of housing loans when in reality these are campaign funds, the opposition will have to face a well-oiled ZANUPF campaign machinery being bankrolled to the tune of USD150 million.
In a normal set up we would have asked our colleagues in the opposition to turn down the loans but doing so will leave them financially crippled ahead of a crucial election.
We urge Zimbabweans to be able to read between the lines. Here we are dealing with a cunning government that has for the first time in history given out a budget to fund activities of the ZANU-PF Secretary for Environment and Tourism (Mai Auxillia Mnangagwa) under the guise of supporting the First Lady’s cultural and tourism programmes. That is ZANU-PF for you.
We, therefore, urge our comrades in the CCC to look at this matter objectively and find a better way to handle the issue before it causes disharmony in their movement ahead of 2023.
More importantly, we feel that it may also be unfair if we also don’t point out and condemn the bad habits of the electorate that we believe contribute to what we are condemning today.
We make an issue out of the common but bad practice by the electorate of demanding to be bribed and bought out through soliciting for goodies and handouts from those they seek to vote into office to serve and represent them as this practice leads to incidences where those elected after having pumped out their hard-earned resources to win an election would naturally then seek to recover costs incurred during campaigns when they get in office.
For as long as our people continue to commodify their vote and demand to be bribed to vote for a leader, it will be difficult to demand selfless and servant leadership from those who would have bought their way into public office.
This practice breeds corruption and must be discouraged and stopped going forward.
The FEEZ Party as led by Chief Commandant Godfrey Tsenengamu, being a partner in the 3rd Way Movement pledges a principled, selfless, compassionate, people-centered, servant, and God-fearing leadership if elected into office.