He was referring to people who are very particular over petty issues and yet are grossly careless about matters of devastating consequences.
This verse, found in the book of Mathew Chapter 23 aptly depicts Zanu PF’s reaction to allegations of corruption involving officials from the MDC party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
While conveniently ignoring blatant cases of corruption and outright plunder of national assets by its own officials, Zanu PF has chosen to go to town with the allegations of graft in local authorities controlled by the MDC.
Councillors from the MDC party in cities and towns across the country stand accused of self-enrichment through underhand dealings.
They are accused of, among other things, receiving “hefty” sitting allowances, wresting council-owned houses in the high density suburbs from poor residents and creating jobs for the boys in the local authorities under their control.
Chitungwiza former mayor Israel Marange (MDC) was convicted and sentenced to one-year imprisonment for corruption emanating from criminal abuse of office. He has since been fired from the MDC. He has been granted bail pending appeal against conviction and sentence.
Evidently embarrassed by all this, the MDC responded by setting up a committee to unravel cases of corruption involving its officials in public offices.
The committee, led by Tapiwa Mashakada, is crisscrossing the country investigating the alleged cases of corruption.
The MDC has wasted no time in wielding the axe on those found on the wrong side of the party’s code of conduct. Councillors from Chitungwiza were the first casualties. More councillors from other local authorities are set to fall by the wayside as investigations widen.
Reports have also linked top officials in the MDC to corruption although no specific incidents have been publicly revealed or proved.
But in a curious development, Zanu PF has reportedly begun publishing and distributing a newsletter — free of charge — openly accusing top MDC officials as if they were already convicted. The state media does the same: embarking on a crusade to smear MDC councils as house-grabbers and thieves.
The newsletter is apparently meant to spruce up the image of Zanu PF ahead of elections expected to be held after the life of the inclusive government due to end next February.
The newsletter this week carried a lead story titled MDC paying lip service to corruption.
While corruption must be condemned and crushed wherever it rears its ugly head, I find it amusing that Zanu PF has the temerity to point a finger at the MDC while it ignores the mud that soils its leadership. The MDC has at least demonstrated its desire to rid corruption within its ranks.
Cases of high level and shameless corruption which has brought Zimbabwe to its knees has top candidates residing nowhere else but right in the heart of the former ruling party. Other than vague references, nothing has been said or done about them.
Although it is fast becoming a public secret, the nation still waits to be told the names of those behind the plunder of Chiadzwa.
Top Zanu PF officials and government ministers, who in 1980 emerged from the bush with nothing save for their AK rifles and combat gear, became wealthy overnight. The source of the wealth that many of them have accumulated remains a mystery until today.
Certain senior officials in Zanu PF and government have set tongues wagging over the bundles of greenbacks that have suddenly become synonymous with their names.
Others have gone on a property-acquiring spree of obscene proportions.
Zanu PF has said and done nothing. The party leadership code was long ago shredded.
The Harare City Council has compiled a damning report detailing how senior Zanu PF officials were irregularly allocated prime land in the capital city.
The report has now been adopted by council. Strangely, the police have been questioning journalists, demanding to know how they got hold of the damning report.
The land reform programme has seen some of the worst corrupt activities. Inputs, equipment, fuel and bank loans have disappeared without trace. Scores of Zanu PF officials now own multiple farms.
President Robert Mugabe occasionally complains but no action has been taken or is likely to be taken at all. The list is long.
The gnat-sized corruption blamed on MDC councillors could never in any way be equated to Zanu PF’s camel-load of vice. Let’s see some consistency here.