Call Jealousy Mawarire what you like, but he did the unthinkable. He forced a national election to be held, legally. Yes, this might have played into the hands of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, but the fact remains, it was done by an individual or a private organisation.
I was thinking of Mawarire the other day and the issue of Gideon Gono becoming a senator. I have no qualms with that. Gono did his best in difficult times. But circumstances have changed.
Zimbabwe now has a new constitution. It also has a draft code of corporate governance, so we are told. So when we are looking for new leadership, let us look for a clean leadership. I am not saying Gono is not clean, but his image has been tainted.
I do not like the way his former advisor Munyaradzi Kereke went about his squabble with his former boss, but he has made some serious allegations against Gono. Indeed, a person is innocent until proven guilty, but should we elect leaders who have pending allegations when we are clamouring for zero-tolerance to corruption?
I guess not. Those that got away with it, did so under a different era. In this new era we must not allow anyone facing criminal or corrupt allegations to contest public office. They must be cleared by the courts first.
ZANU-PF is not likely do it. There have already been complaints that the party is bulldozing Gono to jump the queue to become senator for Buhera. They want him in, even if this means breaking their own ground rules. So we must do a Mawarire.
I have watched as the outrage that I witnessed when Happison Muchechetere’s salary, and then that of Cuthbert Dube, and then Tendai Mahachi and so on, were disclosed, slowly fading away and quietly being accepted.
Six months down the line, it looks like the issue is now dead. The mainline media has shifted to the hapless Baba Jukwa and I was asking myself, if they had pursued Muchechetere, Dube or Mahachi with the same zeal that they are pursuing Baba Jukwa, would things not have changed?
I have also read about non-governmental organisations like the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition lamenting that the debate on corruption is dying. Yes it is. But what is the organisation doing about it? Why not do a Mawarire and take one of the cases to court?
They could start with Gono. Take the case to court that he should not be appointed senator in view of the pending allegations and the code of conduct being drafted by government to curb corruption. They should insist he should not be appointed until he has been cleared of the charges. September is not that far and the term for the current parliament is still some four years to go.
It is foolhardy for anyone to ever think that politicians will or can end corruption. In most cases, they are the beneficiaries. They are employed to talk, and all they do is talk, and when they talk you think something will happen the following day.
It is the people that end corruption by saying enough is enough. It starts with an individual, but others have to join in.
I was quite impressed by what African Development Bank president Donald Kaberuka said about his country, Rwanda, which has opened its borders to any African. “The fears – of criminals, security threats, and massive waves of migrants – those often turn out to be paper fears, easily manageable by cooperation and technology.”
It is the fear that you cannot change anything in Zimbabwe that is killing our country. We can, and we have to start somewhere. We can start by insisting that Gono should not be appointed senator unless he is cleared of the allegations against him.
Yes, this will be grossly unfair on Gono. But we must start somewhere with someone, and who better than the high-profile former central bank governor?