THE ongoing raging debate over the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Debt Assumption Bill that has stolen the limelight in Parliament is quite interesting given that it involves a very important matter that cannot be swept under the carpet.
The Standard Editorial
Supporters of the Bill claim there is sense in writing off debts amounting to millions of dollars that were accrued by citizens, most of them well-to-do and influential individuals who got farming equipment and inputs during the height of the RBZ’s quasi-fiscal operations.
Their opposite number says there is no logic in forcing the tax payer to shoulder this burden while beneficiaries of these huge sums of money are still alive, are prosperous and still possess the farming equipment which they continue to benefit from.
Last week MDC-T’s Nelson Chamisa proposed that if the House got to voting stage, MPs who benefited from the scheme should not be allowed to vote for the clear reason of conflict of interest.
The MDC-T legislator also proposed that the voting should be by secret ballot to allow everybody to express their genuine feelings without fear of reprisals.
We laud the MPs who are fighting tooth and nail in Parliament to stop government from assuming the debts of politicians as that would be the height of irresponsibility.
It is public knowledge that most beneficiaries of this RBZ benevolence were top politicians, mostly from the ruling Zanu PF party. MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese said some of the money could have been used to pay lobola for second wives or to build houses for “small houses”.
Why therefore, would we want to have ordinary poor Zimbabweans help rich politicians finance their obscene expenses?
It is immoral to seek to have poor ordinary Zimbabweans to pay for First Lady, Grace Mugabe’s personal investment, the multi-million dollar Alpha and Omega Dairy project.
Equally, there’s absolutely no reason why hard-up tax-payers should be made to pay a loan given to former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to enable him to live in luxury. It does not make sense at all and for MPs to even consider giving rich politicians such free rides would be the folly of sick minds.
While we do not want to believe any MP of a sound mind would support such a Bill, there is real fear that Parliament, which is going to make the final decision on this very crucial matter, may be arm-twisted by political parties into passing the bill.
It is because of this that we strongly support Chamisa’s proposal that the names of beneficiaries of this billion-dollar loan be made public and any Parliamentarian that is included on this list should not be allowed to vote for or against this Bill because they would be heavily compromised parties.
The vote must also be secret.