EMERGING details on how heads of parastatals have been bleeding the institutions they have an obligation to steward through awarding themselves obscene salaries and perks have been disturbing.
But the fact that the government has remained tight-lipped on this worrisome turn of events at a time the country’s diligent and loyal workforce has had to contend with slave wages while continuing to serve the nation faithfully is even more worrisome.
It is indeed time for government to step in and bring a halt to this nonsense.
First it was former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) boss Happison Muchechetere taking home $40 000 a month when employees had gone for half a year without salaries. Soon after, it was Cuthbert Dube, the chief executive officer at Premier Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) and top management gobbling close to
$1 million monthly at the expense of cash-strapped civil servants struggling to make ends meet.
Now it is Harare Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi and his 18-member management team at Town House who are reportedly gobbling close to $500 000 in monthly salaries. The painful thing about this particular scandal is that the municipality has failed to up its game when it comes to dispensing their mandate as the city’s infrastructure continues to dilapidate.
Service delivery in the city has deteriorated for years, with some residents having long lost track when garbage was last collected in their neighbourhoods and running water has since stopped oozing from their taps, yet the city continues to charge for services that are never offered. But against this grim backdrop, city directors find “good” reasons to pamper themselves with hefty salaries.
The goings-on at parastatals and institutions funded by the public is worrying to say the least. But the question that begs an answer is: While all this mess is piling around us, where are the ministers who are supposed to superintend these parastatals? Are the parastatal bosses not accountable to the ministers who are supposed to be their principals? Is there no collusion somewhere along the way?
Our tragedy, it would appear, is that we use a reactive governance mode instead of a proactive one. By the time corrective measures are taken, that is if they are taken at all, irreparable damage would already have been done.
When all is said and done, surely the buck should stop with the line ministers who obviously have oversight onto whatever happens in their ministries. Ministers have in the past been accused of feeding from the trough of institutions under them. The extent of the symbiotic relationships between ministers and their CEOs should be unearthed with a view to establishing their complicity in the salaries scandal.