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‘Civil servants were right’

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KWEKWE — Civil servants were right in approaching President Robert Mugabe over salary increments because it is the Zanu PF side of government which is withholding critical diamond revenue which has the potential to transform their lives.

Public Service minister Lucia Matibenga told MDC-T supporters at a campaign rally in Kwekwe on Saturday that civil servants should confront Mines minister Obert Mpofu and Mugabe and demand for transparency in diamond revenue.

“I saw a cartoon in the State-controlled Herald which showed civil servants stepping on (Finance minister Tendai) Biti’s head and mine while going to Mugabe who was shown with a big belly and I said to myself, ‘yes please, go there because it is in that stomach where your money is, go and get it’,” she said.

Matibenga said the country was mining diamonds worth millions of dollars, but that money was not finding its way into the national fiscus, hence government’s failure to adjust civil servants’ salaries.

“We have diamonds, but our people have nothing to show for the millions of dollars which are supposedly coming from their extraction. If that money was to find its way to government we could have a budget review and change the lives of our people,” said Matibenga.

Civil servants leaders last month petitioned Mugabe after earlier attempts to force an increment through the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) hit a snag.

“I am also anxiously waiting for the highest office to respond because I am just be one minister who has no power to single-handedly change the law on government spending.

The decision on how to spend public money was made in Parliament last year and for people to expect Matibenga to change the law — the Blue book would be expecting too much,” she said.

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