THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has denied reports that it has not paid its workers and commissioners for the past three months due to cashflow problems.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Zec chairperson Justice Rita Mkarau told NewsDay that allegations by the commission’s employees that they had not been paid were false.
“It is a lie and I would have screamed if that was the case,” Makarau said.
“I would agree if someone had told you that we have been delaying paying salaries in the past three months. Treasury has explained to us the problems that they are facing and these are not new to all of us.
“We have understood and in the process at times taken a lot more time than normal to pay salaries. However, we are up to date.”
The workers had told NewsDay on condition of anonymity that delayed salaries had demoralised Zec staff who are preparing for 16 parliamentary by-elections countrywide on June 10.
The by-elections will be held to fill seats left vacant following the recall of former MDC-T legislators who defected to MDC Renewal Team.
As the liquidity crunch continues to squeeze, government departments have suffered the strain.
Early this year, government issued a circular announcing changes in salary deposit days for civil servants.
Matters came to a head last month when Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa with Information minister Jonathan Moyo in tow told a hastily-arranged Press briefing that government had made a decision to scrap annual bonuses that have become a tradition to State workers.
The announcement was greeted with a rancour of disapproval before President Robert Mugabe made a public volte-face during celebrations to mark the country’s Independence Day on April 18.
He accused Chinamasa of announcing the plan before its approval by Cabinet.
Mugabe then assured the country’s restive civil servants that they would get their 13th cheques.