MPs yesterday castigated the “deplorable” working conditions of civil servants even at Parliament Building where legislators join them in queuing to use toilets.
The issues came out during debate on a motion calling for non-monetary incentives for civil servants which was introduced in the National Assembly by Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and was seconded by fellow MDC (Welshman Ncube) legislator Jasmine Toffa.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said since government was unable to raise civil servants’ salaries, it was imperative to introduce non-monetary incentives such as issuing out mining claims and farms to civil servants who had skills in those areas.
“Civil servants should be given incentives such as allowing them to import vehicles duty-free,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.
Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) said another incentive that civil servants should be given was promotion. He said this could be done by retiring civil servants that had “overstayed” like Registrar-General (RG) Tobaiwa Mudede and Civil Service Commission chairperson Mariyawanda Nzuwah so that younger civil servants could get those senior positions.
“There is no better non-monetary incentive than for government to be responsive to issues bedevilling civil servants, and we need to make sure that those civil servants who are too old for the profession are retired so that we allow for mobility upwards,” Chamisa said.
“RG Mudede and Nzuwah should be retired so that we give incentives and promote junior civil servants to serve at a higher level.”
Chamisa said the Rhodesian regime led by Ian Smith left a legacy of having a well-paid civil service, adding current civil service structures had reduced headmasters to the extent they were drinking highly toxic alcoholic spirits like ZED as proper beer was now beyond their reach.
“Offices of civil servants are squalid and there is no air-conditioning. The toilets are not working and they have to queue to use them. Even here at Parliament, toilets are not working and MPs have to queue to use them,” he said.
Hurungwe West MP Temba Mliswa (Zanu PF) said it was an injustice to allow ministers to drive expensive Land Rovers when civil servants were suffering.
“Ministers’ cars are expensive in terms of maintenance and that money could be saved to go towards paying better salaries for civil servants,” Mliswa said.
Makoni South MP Mandi Chimene (Zanu PF) said it was disturbing that some civil servants who were drivers for ministers were underpaid, but sent to their bosses’ “small houses (mistresses)” to deliver lots of money.