Legislators an embarrassment

REVELATIONS that legislators who made headlines last week after they missed their flight back home after a shopping jaunt in China used tickets for disabled people has added another dimension to the scandal.

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Zanu PF MP Mandi Chimene, the brains behind the trip of shame was quoted yesterday confirming that she organised the MPs’ tickets for the disabled in order to get cheaper fares because they had indicated that they had no money.

The MPs paid $260 each for the $1 225 tickets.

Some of the 18 MPs who returned home on Friday after spending a couple of nights at the Beijing Airport said they were shocked when they were provided with wheelchairs at the airport.

The episode was not only an embarrassment to the MPs, but certainly sent wrong signals about Zimbabwe as a country.

If Zimbabwe was another country, the dishonest MPs would be forced to resign in shame. The legislators who are supposed to lead by example masqueraded as disabled people to get certain privileges they did not deserve. It is likely that the legislators would escape without censure because in Zimbabwe such behaviour is often tolerated.

Corruption is so endemic that some now accept it as a way of life.

However, the political parties where these MPs belong – Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC – need to do something to show that they still uphold good morals. The least the parties could do is to issue public statements distancing themselves from the conduct of these MPs or risk being seen as endorsing this moral perversion.

Chimene also has to stop defending her role in this deplorable act.

That legislators are not being paid their allowances on time is a matter that is in the public domain.

However, this can never be a licence to embark on foreign jaunts that end up embarrassing the country.

It is no excuse for honourable MPs to misrepresent themselves to get certain privileges.

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