ZANU PF has dared the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to prove its recent claims that the party’s arm of government had sneaked in an additional 10 000 workers onto the public service payroll between March and September last year in breach of a standing job freeze introduced in 2011 to contain the high wage bill gobbling up 75% of the National Budget.
BY JOHN NYASHANU/BERNARD MPOFU
Zanu PF national secretary for administration told NewsDay yesterday that the alleged IMF exposé was without basis.
“If IMF could give us just two people they allege were employed during that period, then we can have a starting point,” Mutasa said.
“They should furnish us with their identities so that we can interrogate the issue accordingly.”
However, an official document in NewsDay’s possession indicates that, indeed, 10 000 additional workers were added to the civil service payroll between March and September last year.
Part of the document reads: “The Fund (IMF) noted that the number of civil servants had increased by 10 000 between March 2013 and September 2013 and questioned the government’s commitment to the policy of hiring freeze.”
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa hosted an IMF mission between November 6-20 last year to review progress on the implementation of the Staff-Monitored Programme (SMP) as well as discuss macroeconomic projections in preparation for the 2014 National Budget, which he presented on December 19.
The SMP is critical in mapping out a way to tackle the country’s external debt estimated at over $6 billion.
Opposition parties which were part of the unity government last year have claimed that the clandestine recruitment exercise was carried out without their consent.
The parties yesterday expressed outrage over revelations that government had clandestinely employed more than 10 000 civil servants in the run-up to last year’s harmonised elections, claiming that Zanu PF had used the new recruits to rig the July 31 polls.
In separate interviews, the opposition parties said the revelation by the IMF had all but confirmed allegations that the electoral process had been hijacked by partisan officials masquerading as genuine civil servants.
“It is very possible that they were employed to assist in the process of rigging,” MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said.
“They were employed so that they qualify as civil servants who could be employed as polling officers or rather election officials. This was definitely done by Zanu PF.”
Questioned on how this was possible considering that the Public Service ministry then fell under the MDC-T where Lucia Matibenga was in charge, Mwonzora said the minister had no powers, alleging that Public Service Commission chairperson Mariyawanda Nzuwa was running the show.
“The civil service recruitment was governed by Nzuwa. The minister did not have control over that process,” said Mwonzora, admitting that their ministers in the inclusive government had no powers.
Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa also alleged the new civil servants were recruited to help rig the elections, but blamed other opposition parties who were in government for failing to raise alarm over the suspected electoral fraud.
“We would have expected our colleagues (MDCs) in government to pick it up and bring it to the attention of everyone. As Zapu, there was no way we could have done so as we were not part of that administration,” Dabengwa said.
He added that their party would investigate the issue before taking a position.
“Now that it has been revealed, it is one of the issues we are going to discuss in our next executive meeting. We will also engage other parties and find the way forward,” he said.
MDC spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi said the extra 10 000 civil servants had played a special role in rigging the elections.
“It was part of their (Zanu PF) machinery. This is the reason why government is failing to come up with a package for civil servants. Those were ghost workers and they used various loopholes in the system to sneak them in,” Chihwayi said.