via NewsDay Editorial: Will Zanu PF sacrifice its own? February 6, 2014
In the past few weeks the nation has seen a miracle in the ruling Zanu PF party and its agencies. The public Press, which in the past saw no evil, heard no evil and spoke no evil about the revolutionary party, has come out guns blazing with exposé after exposé of corruption and impropriety in State-linked institutions.
First, it was the disaster at the national broadcaster that hit the headlines. Although this story had been published almost a year earlier in a privately-owned newspaper, it did not excite the national debate it did when published in the official Press.
Second came the PSMAS medical insurance story. Similar to the ZBC scandal where the top leadership awarded themselves obscene salaries while their juniors went for innumerable months without pay, the PSMAS debacle showed the depth to which greed can sink. While poor members of its clients were denied cheap medical attention because there were alleged shortfalls in their medical aid contributions, the chief executive was awarding himself a salary big enough to pay 700 schoolteachers every month.
The public Press went into overdrive, venturing into places where only a few months back, it feared to tread. Looting at nationals carrier, Air Zimbabwe, was exposed; the goings-on at Town House were also broached.
And surprise, surprise, Zanu PF parliamentarians have woken up. They have come alive in both Houses criticising their own ministers and their leaders are not whipping them into line as they have done in the past three decades.
This week, irked by the exorbitant salaries their counterparts in State-owned enterprises award themselves, they went to the core of the problem. They rightly pointed out that ministers appointed their relatives into leadership positions in these organisations where they behaved like a law unto themselves, looting with impunity whatever they could lay their hands on.
It is a system of patronage and entitlement that rules supreme in parastatals and the system is superintended by none other than the ministers themselves.
This self-criticism seen in Zanu PF recently has raised eyebrows. Some analysts aver that it’s factional fighting exhibiting itself in a different mode. Others argue it’s a new way of doing business in Zanu PF where accountability has become a must if the party has to succeed to move the country forward.
Sceptics are already beginning to watch with keen interest how far Zanu PF is willing to go in exposing its own errant children. They suspect it will, like in the past, be only the small fish that will be netted while the big ones will once again escape unscathed.
The nation waits with bated breath to see if any action will be taken against those on the wrong side of the law.