Ex-ministers fall on hard times

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Dr Mai Joice Mujuru is her direct opposite: who is cool, calm, reserved, tolerant, objective and intelligently calculative of what is good or bad for Zimbabwe.

Former Cabinet ministers, mostly from the MDC-T, have allegedly fallen on hard times amid reports that they have started vacating government-rented houses which they used as their official residences.

BY MOSES MATENGA

Treasury has stopped paying rentals for former government officials who were living in rented houses in the capital.

Most of the affected former ministers and their deputies come from outside Harare and had needed government accommodation in the capital. The officials also had other benefits such as housemaids, personal aides and drivers withdrawn as were other perks like school fees.

Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Killian Mpingo said by law, those that were benefiting from State property for the discharge of State functions had them withdrawn once they left office.

“What it means is that all those who occupied government property did so while they were discharging State duties. After that, they can’t. That is the qualification for one to get State accommodation,” Mpingo said.

He would, however, not give the number of those who had been affected.

Former Higher and Tertiary Education deputy minister Lutho Tapela (MDC) confirmed to NewsDay that he had left the spacious Greenwood house where government was paying $1 000 a month in rentals and had since relocated to his Plumtree home.

“I moved out at the end of August and now I am at my house in Plumtree,” he said.

Former Water Resources minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo also confirmed that government had stopped paying for the State-rented house he occupied in Harare.

“We were renting the houses and government was paying. There is a period that you are allowed to wind up, but you can continue to stay there if you can afford the rentals, depending, of course, on your agreement with the landlord,” he said.

Sources yesterday said other ministers that had since left government-rented houses included former Deputy Prime Minister and MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe and former Local Government deputy minister Sesel Zvidzai.

A senior official in the MDC-T who was a minister in the inclusive government yesterday said some of his fellow former ministers had fallen on hard times after their departure from government.

He said such officials had failed to prepare for rainy days and were now near destitutes.

“I was surprised a former minister asked me for a laughable amount of money. The problem is that people don’t plan for life after politics or government. It’s back to reality for some of us,” the former minister, who declined to be named, said.

It is still not clear, however, what decision would stand as regards the Highlands house built for former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Senior government officials have, however, indicated the former Premier would be given the first offer to buy the house.

20 COMMENTS

    • Where on earth have you seen 60 year olds playing soccer for a living? The youngest of the former cabinet ministers (Chamisa) is 35 years old. 35 is the average retirement age for soccer players.

  1. I know were have a polarised political landscape. However, I would think it’s a good thing to have some sort of soft landing or pensions for MPs and Ministers when they leave work. Unlike most of us, their jobs are temporary. I think one reason why people end up not giving up posts, stealling elections and getting involved in corruption is the fact that there is nowhere out once in.

    If we have good pensions or soft landing, more talented people will want to be in politics and would also be happy to leave should they lose. I know my fellows will criticise me on this based on the cost to the government. I have not done the maths but I am sure accountants will confirm that the cost of corruption could be higher than keeping a former minister confortable for the rest of his life!

    • Your understanding of political office is really skewed up.Ideally one should seek political office for what one is prepared to give to the electorate and not what the electorate should folk out for you.Its not about talent but a commitment to serve.Therein lies the problem with African politics;the mafia politicians are in it for what they can get out of it i.e power,influence,kickbacks and untold,ill-gotten wealth.In the US for one to seek political office one should be a man or woman of means.The system will screen you to see if you are a self-made man eg.Have you managed to make a million dollars out of your own efforts?If the answer is NO then you are told how then can we entrust billions of public funds to you when your own coffers are empty;obviously you are prone to steal.We need to move away from a culture of politicians who are looking for a job as a politician.This is why MP’s and Councilors are always clamoring for better allowances because a good number of them left their measly jobs as juice card vendors to become career Local Government Councilors or Constituency MP’s.

  2. Government cannot use taxpayers’ money to build houses for sale for former ministers. That would be a bad precedent. Government officials should plan for life after cabinet. The former Prime Minister should join his folks and return to their roots. There shouldn’t be any special dispensation for him. After all akatiitira chii chatingamutenda nokumupa mansion?

  3. All out-of-Harare former Parliamentarians (including former Ministers and their deputies from the MDCs and ZANU(PF)) whose accommodation was being paid by the Government should return to their own houses/homes. Politics is for serving the people not serving your interests as in advanced democracies. It should not be a poverty-to-riches venture.

  4. I tend to agree with Zeno. The current scenario is that an MP should serve for 5 yrs. During he/her stint corruption should be practised in order to accumulate wealth that will enable the incumbent MP to survive after the expiration of the term. I think govt. should reconsider this. Even if it seems two months salary as severance pay I think its better. But these are the law makers of the country. Why then are they not moving a motion in the august house to safe guard their soft landing? May be when they are still enjoying the positions they think they are indispensable. Or else they know that this is only a change to loot – and why should looters be rewarded anywhere?

  5. Maiti chigwedere haazive zvaaita to be a lecture frm being a minister actually ndiye munhu ayiziva zvaaita givn the fact tht lectures earn over $2 000 n thts a permanant job

  6. This is a shallow attention seeking article without any detail. That one has moved out of govt house is that falling on hard times? Newsday tipeiwo zviri nane

  7. its good for the party if they move from those houses, coz they can now concentrate on campaigning in their respect constituency. they cost the party by being always in Harare. its a blessing in disguise for the party and Zimbabweans at large.

  8. People should use common sense mhani. The Highlands house dispite the double tippings is a government immovable property. At least $3 million was used to buy and refurbish this house. That’s expensive by my book. Tsangirayi lives in that house for less than two yrs. He claims he is entitled to have this house by whatever means. If the government needs accommodating for other senior officers, turf luck, they have to squeeze the taxpayers. No! no! no! no ndaramba. Everywhere, the worldover that’s the practice. “Move on succour!!!!”

    • True true. After all did Tsvangirai not defraud the state by claiming $1.5m from both RBZ and Finance ministry to build a $3m house instead of the approved $1.5m??? And then enjoyed the Presidents protection when Chihuri wanted to dig deeper. Move out succour!!!

  9. @REX….Yu have a point. The article reads rather sensationally, sad, but all government employees vacate institutional accommodation when they leave/retire/…The message seems to solicit sympathy in a subtle way by projecting erstwhile GNU manifestations of polarity…saka vari kukauriswa,see how inhumane a ZANU PF govt can be!. Vamwe vacho vanga vachinyanya ruvengo ku anything ZANU PF zvekuti haungavanzwiri tsitsi. Hon Madzore, for example, must learn to humble himself in public

  10. As an northern suburb property owner I am shocked at the price being attached to the Highlands house without journalists doing a due diligence. The previous owner bought that house for $500k and subsequently sold it to government for $1 million. How then was this outrageous $3 million figure arrived at?

  11. @ Landlord, you are right. Even though it was a pretty awesome house prior to renovations (in my opinion, it looked far better in its former state at the hands of the controversial rhodie who owned it), it makes no sense for the government to pay $1m for it. For that amount, they could have bought or built and furnished 2 pretty decent mansions!

  12. Valuation was based on claimed expenditure. Obviously not all of the amounts were spent on the house but 2 claims of $1.5m were made. The question now is what was actually spent and what happened to the rest of the money? This is were this whole issue is heading and a forensic audit is needed to justify the evaluation. I suspect this will be strongly resisted by some with not so clean hands. Tax payers have a right to know.

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