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Parliamentary Monitor: Issue 14
Parliamentary Monitoring Trust (Zimbabwe)
November 28, 2011

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Mere Anarchy

Turning and turning into the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer
Mere anarchy has been loosened upon the world
Things fall apart
- WB Yeats, Second Coming

The budget statement presented to Parliament last week had its own merits and demerits. Lie all budgets, it takes time before the full thrust settles in. Usually there are gaps between initial reactions and final reactions. During a time when the people digest the contents, it is important that the media, intellectuals, interest groups, the academia, think tanks ad of course give guidance, give interpretations as to what the consequences of the budget are. At a time when the nation awaits such a guidance, the Members of Parliament have once again shown that they are prepared to relegate issues of national interest to the bottom drawer as they pursue personal ends, in this case, as has always been, they want their allowances and cars.

It was reported that the MPs, in their collective wisdom, or absence of servant leadership, have connived to throw spanner into works and hold the finance minister at ransom, refusing to pass the finance bill and the attendant pieces of legislation which will make the 2012 budget into effect. There is nothing new in this as the mercenaries have been using such terrorist / kidnapper type of negotiating skills. What this shows is that the MP, as we have always argued, are there to line thier pockets and any development that takes place in their respective constituencies is an accident or a byproduct of their endeavours to get rich. The Parliamentary Welfare Committee Chairperson Paddy Zhanda (Zanu-PF) was quoted in the Daily News saying: “Do a survey in the Sadc region and find out how much MPs are paid compared to us. It is very unfortunate that people can perceive that we are trying to arm twist the government when the truth is that government is not looking at our welfare issues.” This is a very valid observation by the Honourable MP. However, the same survey should also be made to ascertain, within the region, how much the civil servants get, the ordinary worker and the pensioner. Looking at the earnings of the legislators only would not give a good picture. It can also be further argued that the earnings of the legislators is reflective of the health of the economy. Not the sick looking and fragile Zim economy. To a certain extent, the legislators themselves are following a cue from what the executive has been doing since the inception of the unity government in March 2009. They have been buying top of the range vehicles. The mentality shown by taking this as cue is that the MPs are not worried about what the demands would do to the economy. A delay in passing the Finance Bill may come at a cost. This causes unnecessary panic in an already fragile economy.

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