Government robbing Peter to pay Paul
By Dr James Madzimure
The phrase “Rob Peter to Pay Paul” is used to refer to a situation where someone takes something of value from one person in order to pay off a debt that is owed to another person.
This is exactly what the government of Zimbabwe is doing by robbing the struggling masses to finance salaries which I understand are being run on a shoe string budget.
The evil practice was witnessed with increase in toll gate fees and reaping off desperate home seekers of their hard earned cash by the Manyame Rural District Council.
The recent case of 100% hike in toll gate fees is very alarming. The Honourable Minister (hope what he did is honourable) of transport was talking about comparing with regional toll fees. What we need to remind the authorities is that Zimbabwe is a unique case; it might be the only country where professionals are underpaid.
How do you expect people whose salaries are below the poverty datum line to finance government coffers? It is very disturbing when people substitute innovation and critical thinking with quick fix methods.
The same person who is being patriotic by coming to work for peanuts is being penalised heavily at toll gates. You say the minister used his own discretion hence public opinion was irrelevant? Or is it? We could have told our government to put the money to good use first. We are hitting pot holes now and again and our cars are always in the garages.
Of what value is this toll fees increase to the general public? Ladies and gentlemen, I propose that everyone should pay at the toll gates so that others have a feeling of what the poor are going through. Ministers should pay and claim at their respective ministries so that they also account for their trips.
The problem is that some Bourgeoisies are not hearing and experiencing our poverty song. Every Zimbabwean is very patriotic; no wonder they have endured the economic hardships. How can we cry for the Diasporas to come back and build the nation when they witness their sisters and brothers exposed to such harsh treatment?
We should focus on improving agricultural productivity which is the backbone of the economy. Our industry will continue in the doldrums as long as there is no improvement in agricultural output. Poor performers must be weeded out and the land given to black people who want to see Zimbabwe being restored to being the bread basket of Africa.
I welcome the government’s initiative to introduce land tax, if implementation takes place, it might force productivity. My only worry is that the same politicians introducing this might be expecting the poor small scale farmers to pay this fee while they default. Thanks to the Ministry of Agriculture’s initiative to give people certificates, maybe it may serve also to account for payments since they now have an updated database.
The economy needs Zimbabweans to cooperate and work as a team. Parasites are not welcome, as is the case with most politicians. They think only of stomachs no wonder most good policies fail at implementation. Why is corruption so difficult to stump out? It gives me the impression that everyone else is corrupt so we can’t lock up our comrades.
The government recognised that there are serious loopholes regarding accounting for the Marange diamonds and they recommended leaving one company at the end of the year. We will live to see if this will ever take place. I like what the president of Brazil said, she indicated that Zimbabwe is not a beggar but very rich by all standards.
Comrades, we need to account for our wealth and build our nation. The truth is; our diamonds are able to turn around our fortunes, despite the sanctions. Professionals could be paid a minimum of $1000 per month net salary, and we will pay the toll gates fees smiling because it will be change from our shopping sprees even in China where some MPs got lost.
Imagine a teacher who drives through a toll gate going to teach our lovely kids has to leave about 17% of his paltry salary at tollgates. This is after paying 40% tax, 15% VAT saka tosara nei nhai varume?
This problem is also found in areas of housing. I wonder why the government is turning a blind eye when the poor people are being extorted by government officials. These are the weevils that the president talked about. People who reverse government efforts for personal gain are dangerous.
I visited my relatives in Seke Communal lands; I was dumbfounded about what I heard. Manyame Rural District Council is charging a penalty fee of $1000 for the desperate home seekers who were declared to be illegal settlers. For argument sake, where in rural areas can you get land costing that much even if it was buying those small stands from Council? Do you see my point of extortion at its worst?
My question is, was it Dr Chombo’s recommendation when they were talking of regularisation instead of demolition? People were given short deadlines to pay the fee and I suspect the Councillors hatched a plan to loot before their term of office expires. Next time the desperate home seekers will still be told his was a penalty it has nothing to do with regularisation, apply the normal way you are still an illegal settler.
What is not known by those we have put in higher offices is that the poor widow sold all she had had or borrowed money to pay the Council in the hope of owning a house. Alas, the Council caught them off guard and tricked them.
I wonder if Minister Chombo and his Deputy know this and what are they saying? Comrades, we are all Zimbabweans, let us not punish others through abusing public offices. We need a clear cut policy on these issues so that the country stops bleeding because of the cancerous cells of corruption.
From a Progressive Zimbabwean