HARARE – Last week, there was furore in the National Assembly after Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa pulled a shocker — highly esteemed auditor-general (AG) Mildred Chiri was stepping down.
The Treasury chief, to the dismay of legislators across the political divide, went on to announce that Chiri was to be succeeded by long-serving Industrial Development Corporation’s chief executive, Mike Ndudzo.
The lawmakers — from both MDC and Zanu PF — argued that Ndudzo was not the right man for the job, and demanded that Chinamasa rescinds his appointment.
In his explanation, the FinMin said he had tried to persuade Chiri to stay, but she refused.
“I went to her last year and said we need her to continue as the auditor-general; she refused and I went to the president. The president said you must persuade her, but she refused.
“I had a meeting with her for two hours this year and she agreed to extend her term by six months but just after that she texted me saying she needed to rest,” Chinamasa said.
“After she refused, I said to her, I want you to be the head of the internal audit committee (and) she agreed and we are in a process of setting (up) that internal audit committee,” he added.
Chiri fought a good fight. During her tenure, she did a tremendous job, and that should be upheld.
Without fear or favour, she exposed massive financial irregularities, endemic corruption, gross mismanagement and poor corporate governance in government departments, even in the President’s office.
Surely, that was no easy task. It required immense courage.
Commendably, Chinamasa listened to the legislators’ concerns, despite their political affiliation.
“I think after listening to the sentiments from both sides of the house, I think I need to carry out further consultations on the matter,” he humbly acknowledged.
While the members of the National Assembly are right that Chiri’s successor must be a person capable of keeping up her splendid work, that whole development was full of lessons for our politicians.
It was a rare show of unity, in defence of reason and logic, from the politicians who often, if not always, haggle over political differences, not logic.
Rather than dwell on petty political differences, our leaders must listen to the voice of reason, no matter where it is emanating from.
Leaders must not always see things from a political lens.
They need to lend an ear to everyone, without politically judging them.
The culture in Zimbabwean politics is that no matter how good, the opposition will never acknowledge the good done by the ruling party and vice versa.
Politics must not be enmity.
Apart from promoting democracy, the existence of various parties in the political sphere must serve a progressive purpose; that of interrogating and refining policies and decisions for the progress of the nation.
But that has not been the case in our politics.
The approach is who said it rather than what did they say?
And to his credit, Chinamasa did not resist criticism because it was from opposition.
We hope his final position that he will consult further was because he saw sense in the legislators’ concerns.
Politicians must embrace each other for the sake of progress.