We were surprised last week to learn that Zimbabwe had sent a delegation of over 30 people to attend the Kimberly Process plenary in Belgium at a time when government is talking about austerity and the need for citizens to ‘take the pain necessary to revitalise the economy’. To make matters worse, one of the delegates from the country was Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) boss, Tafadzwa Musarara whose job has got nothing to do with the diamond mining, polishing or trading unless there is something we do not know. We also heard how countries with far much higher diamond output or those with a bigger stake in the polishing and trade of the precious stones had sent just two delegates or three to that meeting. So here is broke Zimbabwe again, ruled by a profligate elite with an insatiable appetite for patronage, perks and expensive foreign travel sending dozens of delegates to do nothing in Brussels. All that not at the elite’s cost, but at the painful cost to the poorest of the poor in this wretched country. We wonder then if President Emmerson Mangagwa’s call for belt-tightening only applies to ordinary citizens because it seems members of the elite are still travelling wherever they want, eating whatever they want and leaving the country whenever they want or, at least, when the slightest opportunity presents itself. Zimbabwe earns around US$300 million in diamond revenue per annum but it sent all those people to Brussels, with the likes of Israel, India and UAE - countries that earn billions from diamond business per year - reportedly sending less than four delegates each. This is the parasitic culture created by the great destroyer Robert Mugabe and his henchmen for 37 years whose remnants are still festering sore a year after his disgraceful departure despite claims of a new dispensation by his successor. What new dispensation really if the police get a fleet of quality cars when hospitals have no ambulances and drugs? What new dispensation when the State-controlled media never reports such issues in an objective manner that satisfies the public interest? Old habits have proved yet again that they do die, but hardly. Mnangagwa is indebted to too many interests that supported his fervent bid for power and it will therefore be very difficult if not impossible for him to inculcate a new incorruptible culture of responsibility and service without compromising his interests.