REPORTS that Zimbabwe will for the first time in its history be paying salaries of President Robert Mugabe’s deputies — two Vice-Presidents and a pension equivalent to a sitting vice president for fired Vice-President Joice Mujuru — are a sad development indeed as it is a further strain to the taxpayers.
Mujuru will get a pension pegged at salary scales of new Vice-Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko.
Section 102 of the country’s Constitution stipulates that a person who ceases to be Vice-President earns a pension for life.
It reads in part: “A person who has ceased to be President or Vice President is entitled to receive a pension equivalent to the salary of a sitting President or Vice-President, as the case may be and such allowances and other benefits as may be prescribed under an Act of Parliament.”
This, coupled with thousands of ghost workers disguised as civil servants, shows that Zimbabwe is a long way to democratise State institutions.
While government has defended the move, it is clear that Mugabe is taking Zimbabwe through a black hole. The question is: Can Zimbabwe afford this given the economy is in a comatose state?
Given the economic situation, Zimbabwe can’t afford to pay salaries of more than $9 000 a month for two sitting Vice-Presidents and Mujuru for life.
It is this casual approach to issues of governance that have put Zimbabwe in this sorry state of affairs and is a sad development indeed.
The International Monetary Fund has over the past five years impressed on government to release over 10 000 ghost workers which are draining the fiscus, but nothing tangible has come out of it.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa also recently pointed to the drain in the fiscus when he indicated that the majority of so-called civil servants were being paid for sleeping at work?
How government is failing to rationalise its salary bill is anyone’s guess. But the fact of the matter is all that is playing is palatable to Zanu PF, as the ruling party has a penchant of recruiting militias for personal egos.
We have seen in the last few months the same militias being unleashed to a group reportedly accused of plotting to unseat Mugabe.
Whether it is true or false, the matter at hand is Zanu PF should be serious about matters of governance and the economy in particular.
People cannot afford ill-treatment where the ruling party subsidises its militia groups used to intimidate opponents by using State coffers.
It is time Mugabe stops this rot at least for him to salvage his tattered image.
There is no harming in warning that the people are tired and will no doubt fight back sooner rather than later.
For how does one explain their failing to put food on their table when the ruling class are simply abusing State resources for their selfish ends?
It is time Zanu PF lives up to the majority’s expectations, otherwise the end is nigh.