While sentiments by Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo in this paper yesterday that some workers, including those in the civil service, did not deserve bonuses rather appear insensitive, the issue must be publicly debated across the social strata.
It would be interesting to establish who else among the Zanu PF elite agree or even disagree with Moyo’s thinking on this matter. Failure to defend their opinions publicly shows that many Zanu PF ministers are political cowards fearing a backlash at the next election.
Indeed, it does not make sense for government to pay just about everybody a bonus as an entitlement yet they would have left its employ for years. A case in point is where a former civil servant was paid a bonus when he has been staying somewhere in Australasia for more than five years and spewing vitriol against the people of this country. So Moyo’s argument comes in handy in cases like these — that bonuses must be performance-based and not a right.
At the same time, it is not a secret that the majority of workers — particularly civil servants — are paid a pittance that cannot stretch from the beginning to the end of each month and it’s probably a miracle that they have been able to go to work and sustain their families against this grim backdrop.
Zanu PF, whose chefs continue to enjoy extravagant perks, has run down the economy — never mind the sanctions ruse — and the buck stops with them when it comes to the penury in which the majority of their employees are living. Surely, would it be so wrong to pay the 13th cheque to employees that had held on throughout the year under such punishing circumstances?
To describe these people that are paid a pittance as “non-performers and drunkards” is rather unfortunate and Moyo — being the academic that he is — must know better. We understand Moyo’s thinking on the matter, hence the need to probe the subject further given that President Robert Mugabe declared earlier last year that bonuses were an entitlement.
It is not debatable that a bonus is not an entitlement, but the socio-economic crisis spawned by the Zanu PF government’s misgovernance has reduced the majority of workers into paupers yet they continue to hold the fort with the hope that their employer would be sensitive to their plight throughout the year and just say, “thank you”.
We believe it is this government that pays workers a pittance and therefore responsible for employees who leave their jackets in their offices so they can go out and scrounge for money for their family’s upkeep while Moyo himself is able to afford enrolling his children at foreign universities.
In any case, if a bonus is not a right, does it mean that none of the nearly 190 000-strong workforce deserved a bonus in 2015? Does this imply that no one performed enough to earn a 13th cheque?
There is no doubt that the government is no longer able to pay its own employees. Treasury should just admit there is no money and that they have dismally failed to discharge their mandate as a government.
The failure to pay the 13th cheque is just a microcosm of the Zanu PF government’s failure to manage the economy. Is it not true that the country is now on auto-pilot after two decades of economic mismanagement and political intransigence?