Can they stem rising anger?

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Has the dam finally burst? Information minister Jonathan Moyo might have started something good after he decisively moved to stop the rot at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) where the chief executive officer (CEO) was paying himself a fortune of $40 000 a month while workers went without salaries for months.

ECHOES BY CONWAY TUTANI

Now, management at Air Zimbabwe has been caught in a multi-million dollar fraud scam and all the while workers were suffering because the airline had been declared technically insolvent.

More is sure to unfold because corruption has become systemic in this country. But could anything beat the $230 000 monthly salary Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) CEO Cuthbert Dube — who has since been fired — was paying himself while doctors turned away ill members because of unpaid services? So, for someone to say “Don’t judge Dube harshly” (as one journalist wrote this week) is to belittle the issue and an insult to all right-thinking Zimbabweans.

People are not blind or stupid. Even when Dube was funding the national football team from his pocket, discerning people were asking questions and PSMAS members couldn’t have been impressed.

Even if we were to accept that Dube has done some good, this is completely nullified by the salary revelations. His “generosity” pales into insignificance in comparison to his greed. What other word can be used except “greed”? It may be further asked: Was it genuine altruism on his part to fund the national football team from his own pocket or the money had become too much he didn’t know what to do with it except throw it around in conspicuous consumption?

There is something about easy money that makes people show off.

Dube was also ZBC board chairman when the CEO pay scandal broke and Moyo pointedly criticised him for presiding over the rot. Dube is still Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) chairman where he had raised the nomination fee for board member elections to $10 000, effectively shutting out those not moneyed. Now, if an individual can straddle across all those different, strategic organisations, it points to one thing: He has attained Godfather status, calling the shots left, right and centre. Two of Dube’s team at PSMAS — Mavis Gumbo and Nick Munyonga — are also at Zifa with him. Not exactly a nosa costra?

But it must be asked: Who enabled these executives because this grand corruption did not take root overnight, but over time?

Now, Zimbabwe ranks among the most corrupt states in the world and the settling-in of the vice can be traced to that period.

Has the liberation movement lost its way? Liberation was not born out of an extraordinary act of enlightenment, but — as the late former South African President Nelson Mandela politely but firmly reminded those who wanted to monopolise the struggle as being synonymous with or dependent on them — was a basic human yearning. And so is fairness in the workplace a basic human yearning where people must not feel that they are slaves at the mercy of the repressive and exploitative master. A job is not just a pay cheque; it should give people a dignified livelihood. But is there dignity in people struggling daily for basics? Because of this, people are now outliving their life savings and pensions have become mere pittances.

But Moyo’s new value to Zimbabwe has not made his position as secure as one might have supposed. His attempts to change Zanu PF’s thinking and ways of doing things could lead to his new marginalisation. That is how the system works. Anyone seen as threatening to the system is met with stiff resistance and swift retribution.

That said, there are now moves to cut the outrageous salaries. But the reduced pay is still too high vis-à-vis most company balance sheets and the wage of the least paid worker and should be further slashed. Zimbabwe should cut its economic cloth according to its size. A standard should be established between the highest and least paid worker in a firm.

Outraged by the greed he saw in the 1980s when those at the top worshipped mammon — material wealth regarded as a source of evil and corruption — and virtually lived by the credo “greed is good”, American management guru Peter Drucker proposed that the CEO’s salary should at the most only be 20 times higher than that of the lowest-paid employee. For instance, if a CEO is getting

$40 000, the office sweeper should earn $2 000. In Zimbabwe, where there is low capacity utilisation with productivity at a standstill or plummeting, the ratio should be even less, say, 10:1.

If we had such an arrangement in place, it would serve as a self-financing, sustainable economic stimulus package because the majority of workers would have disposable income to spend. Money would circulate like lifeblood, not this anaemic state of affairs where a tiny, tiny minority holds about 90% of the wealth and spend this on imported luxuries to the detriment of local industry and jobs.

That said, executives must feel the error of their deeds in the hardest way possible. Besides instituting criminal charges against them, all the money must be recovered — and for whatever long it takes, they must not get paid a cent until the difference between their obscene previous salaries and the new, reduced pay is deducted.

There is a rising tide of anger against corruption — which could burst.

21 COMMENTS

  1. To hell with reckless opinions! Where is the proof that Happison Muchechetere paid himself!? He was paid by the employer after agreeing on a package with board! Why are we this dumb on simple Corporate Governance issues!?

    I am so disappointed in these Newday guys of late. Let’s be factual, please!

    • Mhofu chaiyo you either wrote this under the influence of a befuddling cough mixture or you are Happison Muchechetere using a nom du plume lashing out at your critics.All the same the fact still remains that the so-called employer in this case was Cuthbert Dube who was acting solely without any board approval.The same gang of four at ZBC also connived to award themselves illegal corporate insider loans to buy themselves lavish houses with Happison’s mansion being fully funded by “the employer.”All this whilst the entire workforce was languishing without basic salaries yet these same gangsters continued to also draw lavish allowances monthly whilst the corporation was technically insolvent.Is this what you want us to believe is good corporate governance?

    • @Mhofu- Ok fine it is Friday and thank god it is but does this give licence for one to be drunk this early in the morning. The Minister was everywhere telling anybody who cares to listen that the board last approved salaries in 2010..so which board are you going on about?

    • Even if his salary was negotiated why did he allow a state of affairs in which most workers at ZBC went for months without being paid?. The fact that ZBC could not pay workers was an indication of the poor financial position of the corporation. The CEO was supposed to be aware of this and not accept this outrageous salary.

  2. wrong.
    only deafening pity is on display here in this ring and a smattering show of disrespect by the kids from the street you know.
    intelligent citizens do not burden themselves with anger but look up to the government to do that for them in these cases of nuts !!

  3. Mr Mhofu, what kind of proof do you need? Muchechetere was very greedy and there was gross incompetence on his part, how can someone go on to earn $40k whilst others go for months without pay? Even in the colonial period that would never happen saka pfutsek wako newake Muchetere.

  4. @ mhofu chaiyo. Why not use another pseudonym. Kushoresa vana mhofu shuwa ne such a high level of ignorance. Muchecheteres salary is not being speculated sir its actually a fact. Jonathan Moyo Muchecheteres boss is the one who revealed it. He also said it was unprocedurally approved by one Cuthbert Dube the then board Chairmen. So what facts do you want sir employer vacho varivo varikutaura.

  5. As far as I know Prof Moyo Zimbabweans are in for a ride.That guy is too smart he would never start dismantling corruption of this nature in public enterprises without counting the cost which can be his very existence.This gentleman is “the guy” & best strategist in Zanu Pf he was hired & was fired & was rehired at the moment nobody can out smart him of cause except the Chief strategist RG who hired him.This corruptio thing in state entities has always been known by the intelligence community as always reports are always submitted to the President.Now RG would wait & consult Prof Moyo & the most convenient time to window dress the issue was after elections. So that the damage done by a flawed election could be corrected ,Zanu Pf now improves its image home & abroad to be a genuine political party tackling the rot.All the commotion happening in media circles on corruption is calculated reaction watch 1)why up to now none of the CEOs have been arrested 2)why is the govt giving us information thru the media instead of just arresting ppl.
    Remember what happened to the likes of Mangoma as minister of Energy (GNU).As far as I know news papers are going to increase sales but it will be all sound & fury while industries are shutting down & our beloved Zimbabwe sinks deeper & deeper in poverty.Its a Hoax!!!

    • Good observation Look East. Whilst the exposing of the rot is welcome, this is just being stage managed to look holy by the gvt. Why continue making eloquent statements thru the press, than jus hand them over for prosecution. Where is our firebrand AG. Arent these press briefing comproming the state case if any.During the GNU Ministers deemed to have commited offenses , like the example of Mangoma above, were speedily arrested and locked up in remand. But nothing concrete has been done so far. Happison was suspended with FULL benefits meaning he was sent on holiday with his $40k intact. We are being told Cuthbert wont be prosecuted for his hand at the mess at ZBC as his sacking as board chair is enaf punishment. Remember the Masimirembwa case, that even got the attetion of the Apex office, what happened to him. Actaully who has been prosecuted in all these instances. Recently there was the case of some Deputy Commisioners of Police being implicated in shoddy deals, what happened, They were just retired. So Prof Jona, if you and you colleages are really genuine in eradicating the rot, lets see Action, action, and more Action and not press propaganda. My bet is that the powers that be are afraid to move swiftly because they also have got their own skeletons in their closets. So who shall police the police.

  6. This Zimbabwean system is a vampire, sucking on the blood of its children day by day, its appaling to say the least….one is left to wonder the bonuses they awarded themselves.

  7. The corruption and obscene salaries are a result of the politicisation of these public entities. Management realised that they could get away with their corrupt activities if they chant ZANU PF hymns such as the sanctions mantra. For example Muchechetere claimed that his management skills at ZBC were hampered by sanctions, the MDC and the imperialist ‘machinations’. They also donated handsomely to ZANU PF sponsored events such as the 21st February Movement and offered acres of media spaces for condolences and congratulations to ZANU PF cadres dead and alive to cover up their nefarious looting in the public entities. After all has been said and done management in public entities (profit making) should NOT earn more than $5000. These are mere service providers and not producers. Envelope journalism is now common in Zimbabwe such that we are not surprised to see some journalists like Matthew Takaona and other bloggers exonerating fat cats such as Cashbert Dube and Happyson Muchechetere.

  8. Until the BEATRICE thieves ,CUTH/CASHBETH DUBE gets prosecuted for their offences then will l really believe that our government is doing something.Vanhu ngavasungwe kwete kuswero taura taura.we want action not empty vogues.

  9. When all is said and done..lets have the whole enchilada..The media should use their scale to expose the whole rot in all the parastatals not just a select few this is ‘extractive mania’ or ‘para train robbery’ is not funny at all. Many people have died because of these express excesses by these para bosses is the biggest thing since Willowgate. Whatever the government of the day decides, please NO COMMISSIONS OF INQUIRY..Our past experience with these commissions is adding insult to injury with the unnecessary added costs to have their findings buried ten feet deep. Lets set independent auditors on these firms..I think the slogan should be ‘No commissions of inqiury we are Zimbabweans’.. I can see some idiot thieves rubbing their hands with the hope of being appointed to this useless commission so that they can extract their own pound of flesh and in the process rob the accused, they cant wait…Please spare us the NONSENSE.

  10. When I last checked (which was this morning), marijuana had not been legalised, and honest Zimbabweans were heading for their domicilums of work to try and earn an honest living. So it baffles the mind when this Mhofu idiot talks corporate governance in the sense that its OK to pay the CEO of an enterprise that does not actually generate profit (the job of a medical insurance scheme is to manage a pool fund for the health benefits of its subscribers and seek potential investment activities with its excess funds…) a salary of half a million united states dollars. Anyway Mhofu as useless to this forum as Cuthbert is to PSMAS, so good riddens both are gone. I await with joyful hope the news that Cuthbert has gone to jail. Alternatively, PSMAS subscribers could sue him for misuse of funds. And thanks to Mt Conway Tutani for a great article!

  11. Chase all the blood vampires in all sectors, who also is approving these perks must catch the bus, zim lets rise against these greedy vampires. Justice derailed is denied.

  12. Thanks Conway…this debate will rage on but besides a little smack on the hand dont hold your breath for sterner action from anyone including Johno wacho. However, least we forget its about the environment labour must exist in. The mistrust that is being created for management and teams ichaita ku macompany will not find it easy to create good working relationships. The lower grades will be looking at the executives and seeing a greddy heartless lot. Try getting decent performance with that environment prevailing….Johno long term there has to be a lot of workshops to create trust amongst us. Nyaya haisi kuperera ipapa.

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