HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsWhy single out Biti for Cabinet decisions?

Why single out Biti for Cabinet decisions?


The decision by civil servants to demonstrate, petition and strike against Finance minister Tendai Biti to intimidate him to increase their salaries and improve their conditions of service smacks of politicking and mischief-making.

That civil servants have a genuine case is beyond doubt, but they have, however, spoilt their cause by becoming political pawns in the unending tussle for authority in the inclusive government between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations.

Instead of examining the country’s economic performance and come up with an informed decision, we have unfortunately seen the public workers rather strangely resolving to lay the blame solely on Biti. They conveniently forget that Biti is part of a 41-member Cabinet led by President Robert Mugabe which meets regularly to discuss issues of national importance, civil servants’ salaries included, and make binding decisions.

They selectively forget that Biti executes Cabinet decisions and never makes personal decisions.

The minister was candid in Parliament last week: “Then we have the challenge of civil servants’ wages — we would want to pay our workers proper wages, but to have a situation where 73% of your budget is going to wages, it does not work in any part of the world. It is not possible, honourable Speaker. I am then sent here by government to collectively announce this to Zimbabwe then zvonzindezva Biti (some say it’s Biti’s sole decision).”

Therefore it is baffling that Tendai Chikowore and her troops in the Apex Council have turned their grievances, genuine as they may be, into a duel with Biti.

This is the same group that has had meetings with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Mugabe on their grievances with the latter promising that he would work towards increasing their salaries. Why have they not sent a petition to Mugabe challenging him to make good his promise made at State House? Why not petition the Head of State as the buck, after all, stops with him?

Biti has rightly bemoaned shortfalls in revenue and has repeatedly accused Chinese diamond mining company Anjin of not contributing to the fiscus, worsening the plight of the cash-strapped government.

To make it worse, Mines minister Obert Mpofu has vowed never to be accountable on the sale of the Chiadzwa diamonds. Home Affairs Co-minister Kembo Mohadi has declared that the police will not remit fines to the Treasury.

Yet, incredibly, the Apex Council continues to point a finger at Biti. This fuels the belief that the civil servants’ representatives have been turned into Zanu PF stooges. When you look at how the police who have hardly have manpower for a rally by the MDC-T, suddenly had enough manpower for a march by civil servants, one begins to see a third hand in whole shenanigan.

We hope that the new administration that is being ushered in at the council will genuinely work towards the welfare of civil servants and not as foot soldiers of Zanu PF.

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