‘We are a selfish people’

Our Senior Reporter Lincoln Towindo last week spoke to Vice-President President Phelekezela Mphoko about his work in Government and Zanu-PF. Below is VP Mphoko in his own words

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VP Phelekezela Mphoko

Zanu-PF has a programme which is people-oriented and the results have shown.

MDC is not talking on behalf of the people, they are emphasising on personal attacks. They have nothing to offer except to criticise.

When Government proposes programmes, they criticise because they want to benefit out of failures.

Take the example of sanctions. How can you call for sanctions, the punishment of your own people, and you want to benefit out of the suffering of your own people?

What they should do is, on certain policies we can talk and agree to say yes go ahead as a people of Zimbabwe, and where you don’t agree that is where you put up your own policies.

But you must be supporting your country.

To call for sanctions and enjoy the suffering of your people is wrong and that will make them (the opposition) fail.

They think they have an upper hand but they do not have an upper hand because Government has proved it can deliver.

People are benefiting from Zanu-PF; that is what it is going to prove during the elections, that people will vote for what they see, what they have benefited.

You cannot, if you are a beneficiary, work against your success; you can’t do that.

Our strategy is to win the election and continue helping people because we went to war to assist people.

Factionalism

Factionalism first and foremost the President has said it and repeated it several times what he and his co-leader in the Patriotic Front Dr Joshua Nkomo agreed on.

They agreed on unity, they agreed on the land. Unity means the people of Zimbabwe are united.

Factionalists are not a product of Zanu-PF. If you see anybody promoting factionalism, he is a Rhodesian. A Zanu-PF person or a Zapu person can never talk against unity.

If you see somebody promoting factionalism that person is a Rhodesian, he has no support and is appealing to people with a different posture ndionei, ndiboneni mina.

Factionalism will not help anybody, instead it will destroy you.

You see, what happens is that you cannot anoint yourself; you can’t do that. You have to be anointed not by some.

Go to the Bible and look at how King Solomon was appointed.

David was very sick, he was very frail and one of his sons, Adonijah, slaughtered over 50 beasts and anointed himself, assisted by Joab, who was a general in the army.

Joab and Adonijah were working together. In the meanwhile the reality happened and David installed Solomon and those who had anointed themselves failed completely.

Those are lessons you must learn.

You must learn what also happened to others during the Mzilikazi era. People decided to install Nkulumane before they had established that Mzilikazi was dead, and as a result of that it failed.

So I think it is very important that people learn from history; don’t learn from yourself because you are nothing. You can portray yourself or believe in yourself which is not correct.

Corruption

I always say tribalism is the mother of corruption and I believe very strongly that the majority of our people are very greedy.

In the liberation struggle when we were in Zambia, people’s properties we never touched.

You were obliged to take care of party property. If it is was a car, you would rather die and leave party property because it belonged to the people. The same thing when we went to Mozambique.

I tell you there was something very unique there.

It was a time of starvation hunger and so forth, but people would, if a bag of mangai, umumbu comes in, it would be distributed accordingly and nobody would unduly benefit.

That culture you have now, I don’t understand where it is coming from.

Because even the food that was there, those who were senior commanders would eat and remember the others.

But what is happening now is something I don’t understand. People want everything for themselves.

That is what breeds corruption and I can assure you, I wish we were like the Chinese or the Muslims who say if you steal they will cut your hand off; the Chinese would take you to the firing squad straight away.

But here, people have no feelings for other people.

The solution we keep on talking and have stiff penalties. But stiff penalties also are questionable. Stiff penalty, you take a man to prison and in prison he lives like a king because he has money.

We need to move away from this and the truths is that you have 76 years to live as a human being and the truth is that there is no single human being who has taken those riches into his grave.

The day you die, that moment, a lot of your things are gone, taken by others simple as that. So you would rather start doing things for your people rather than amassing everything.

The only way corruption can end is that first and foremost let us declare our assets, let us declare assets as leaders.

Those who have crossed the line, all that they have stolen, must be taken and given to the people.

Arresting alone doesn’t help that izinto linike abantu back just take the things and give them to the people because it’s not yours you are now stealing from the people.

Going to jail does not help anybody, tora zvinhu udzose kune vanhu. This applies to everybody including political leaders. Even myself, of course!

He (President Mugabe) has registered an anti-corruption body, look at the structures he has created to end corruption.

Now the anti-corruption itself is now corrupt. The instrument that is supposed to take care of this problem is now corrupted.

What we should do is declare assets everybody and see what our people have.

What has happened is that a number of ministries have been personalised; personalised in the sense that when you move into a ministry you remove everybody in that ministry including (parastatal) board members and put your own people. Why?

If you are going into a ministry and you want continuity, you will need those people.

For checks and balances, in the 1980s there was what was called an inter-ministerial committee. I remember very well we were about 15 in that committee. What happened was no ministry could make big decisions on its own, it was monitored by the committee.

Until such a time, I don’t know how they made it that ministries now just do things on their own.

I would suggest that to monitor some of these things and close down these holes we have Parliamentary Portfolio Committees, they can also be used for instance whenever there is a tender in any ministry; let the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee be involved.

If there is something which involves the Ministry of Transport, let the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport be involved.

I think that will help us a lot by putting checks and balances. Otherwise if we don’t do that people will continue doing the wrong things.

Investment

We are picking up very slowly. Don’t forget again that we are working against very powerful people who have their ideas against Zimbabwe.

The West is very powerful and unfortunately our people here, the opposition, is anti-Zimbabwe and anti- investment because they think they are going to benefit from our faults or the suffering of our people.

Now people are gradually coming, they have been saying they don’t want to invest in Zimbabwe.

But now South Africans are coming, Chinese are coming, Russians are coming, Iranians are coming, Indians are coming to invest in the country.

And then everybody including the West is realising that they are being left behind. Everybody is now coming, investment people are now really coming.

They have been living on a lie for a very long time and when you live on a lie at one time people realise that it is a lie.

Command agriculture

There is no contradiction (on command agriculture).

Those people (who seem to contradict) have their own interests, they are guided by their own interests.

In Zimbabwe there is everything here; you tell them not to invest but they want milk, they want fish they want gold, they want platinum they want the minerals that we have here.

Whether its agriculture or what the ministers say, those people are governed by their interests.

What happens is that there is a Presidential Agricultural Inputs (Scheme); the Presidential agricultural input is directed to our people: the ordinary Zimbabweans.

The President always, every year, he makes sure that his people receive fertilisers, all the inputs necessary. That is the most important thing because those are the people we want to be satisfied.

Now there is an element which is different from that; an element where we want to avoid importing food from outside, that is where we are trying to make sure that everything, all the resources we have are used.

Like for instance you have this, the Brazilian Mechanisation, the Brazilian tractors which came which are being given to the people to plough and realise the best harvest, to stop importing food from other countries.

Honestly you will be promoting anti-President Mugabe stance when you go import maize from Zambia.

Zambians, all the whites there came from here they will be saying see this is what we have done, now Zimbabwe is failing, go and buy your maize from Malawi.

That programme in actual fact is there to address the shortages we have in the country. I don’t know how you want to put it.

The (Command Agriculture) programme, I don’t want to put some of these words you are talking because I have never agreed with them.

I have trained in the Soviet Union and I know what a planned economy is, but I am saying and we must be very careful not to distort our programmes. Because if you give a headline on a particular subject or a title to a book stick to the title, don’t distort it.

So, what I am saying is that agricultural programmes which we have are aimed at correcting the situation it aims eradicating poverty, importing food and giving up money to some other people when we can do it.

We have one of the best climates in the world and best soils.

For instance, if you take our grapes and compare them with South African they are better because we have better sunshine than South Africa.

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  • Zvobgo

    Komhanhi haishandi komured as you saw in USSR!