Why should we pay our electricity bills - we're politicians

As is so often the case, there is one rule for Zimbabweans and one for their politicians. Or rather - there is one rule but politicians can bend it or break it with impunity. The latest example is the well-established - and globally accepted - rule that people should actually pay for the electricity they use.

Richard Lee's picture

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Strategic communications for WWF

March 19th, 2012

As is so often the case, there is one rule for Zimbabweans and one for their politicians. Or rather - there is one rule but politicians can bend it or break it with impunity. The latest example is the well-established - and globally accepted - rule that people should actually pay for the electricity they use. While this definitely applies to ordinary Zimbabweans, apparently it is little more than a guideline for many of the country's political representatives, particularly members of President Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, who seem to think that electricity bills are something to ignore (like the will of the people).

But thanks to an expose in the Daily News, everyone can now read about the vast arrears that some leading politicians have wracked up with the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) - unless, of course, they're trying to read it at night during one of the country's frequent power-cuts. And that's the point - every unpaid bill of thousands of dollars further undermines the country's already fragile electricity network. All the MPs, Senators, retired Brigadiers and chiefs who don't pay their share are contributing to the power cuts that regularly leave ordinary bill-paying Zimbabweans in the dark - since (unlike the MPs, Senators, retired Brigadiers and chiefs) they don't have generators to fall back on.

Some will say that it's just a small issue, others that it's just media muckraking. But it is indicative of a ZANU-PF political class that siezes any opportunity to milk the system - and the country's coffers. And despite their contempt for the basic rules of society, the MPs involved are still - I bet - sticklers for protocol. But it's difficult to see how they can continue being refered to as 'honourable'. Indeed, there is a far more suitable word for people who takes things without paying for them....

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