’Elected officials not your bosses’

CHURCH and Civic Society Joint Forum (CSCJF) has urged Zimbabweans to stop calling elected officials “bosses”, indicating that this has ruined the nation as the all-too-powerful and invincible politicians neglect to implement development programmes.

BY SILAS NKALA

Speaking during CSCJF’s inaugural indaba in Bulawayo on Saturday, national chairperson Anglistone Sibanda told delegates, most of them youths, that citizens had destroyed the nation by failing to make councillors, legislators and the Head of State accountable for their actions.

He said the formation of the CSCJF was meant to enlighten citizens on their role as employers of politicians through their vote, and that they should demand accountability from politicians.

“Please, stop calling your councillors and MPs bosses. You employed these people to work for you, but not for them to be your bosses,” Sibanda said.

“They (politicians) must not be our problem. Those people are receiving money from the government and you are the ones who have the money as you pay tax. Zimbabwean citizens have relegated themselves to be servants of the elected politicians, instead of the elected officials to be their servants.”

Sibanda said as a combined force, citizens have more power than President Emmerson Mnangagwa, MDC leader Nelson Chamisa or mayors. He said without citizens electing them, these officials would not be in power.

“Demand accountability from them. As citizens, you have the power to tell councillors to do what you want, not the other way round,” he said.

Sibanda said Matabeleland was underdeveloped because people in the region were under-represented in government due to few constituencies and the election of the wrong people into office.

“We always vote for political parties, not people. To me, the best MPs from this region I know are only two. These are the late Doctor Sikhanyiso Ndlovu of Zanu PF, and if you go and read the Hansard for his time you will know what I mean,” he said.

“Ndlovu always stood his ground for us in Parliament against majority MPs from other provinces. Also, the late Sydney Malunga (Zanu PF) was the best MP we ever had from this side. Single handedly, he was the whole of Matabeleland in Parliament by standing his ground on issues affecting the region.”

Sibanda said Zanu PF MPs from the region were not representing citizens, but themselves. He said Bulawayo industry closed down under their watch, and they have done nothing to date. He said what they are concerned with was getting their money and vehicles from government.

Sibanda said citizens must desist from engaging in partisan politics and demand delivery from elected officials.

CSCJF Bulawayo youth co-ordinator Mthokozisi Ncube said all Zimbabweans were currently being controlled by two people, Mnangagwa and Chamisa, and the agenda of the organisation was to decentralise power to citizens.

He said when people went to vote on July 30, the idea was to have bread on their table, but the sad part of it was that both Mnangagwa and Chamisa are already eating lavishly.

“We are sick and tired of these people. As youths, what we want is to get education and get employed, and if not then we have no future,” he said.

CSCJF war veterans representative, Max Mkandla said if the politicians failed to deliver on their promises, the organisation would doorstep them at their offices to petition them to deliver or ship out.

CSCJF national co-ordinator Abigail Mupambi said the power of governance lied with the people and youths in the country must know that power is gained through confronting those at the helm. She said during the liberation struggle, many youth did not consult their parents on going to war but went on their volition, adding it is time the youth took responsibility and demand control of their destiny.

“The one who employs is the one who has the power to dismiss, and if not so, there is something wrong. We employed the politicians on July 30, and we must be able to tell them to pack and go if they are failing to deliver,” she said.

Mupambi said those elected into office have turned hospitals into bedrooms, as hospitals were reeling under crippling drug and staff shortages.

“The hospitals are now as good as bedrooms. Hospitals are hospitals when they have drugs. If they do not have drugs they are just bedrooms where people sleep,” she said.