Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo’s statement that some workers — including civil servants — seeking bonuses do not deserve the 13th cheque as they were non-performers and drunkards, has stirred debate with some people saying the remarks were spot-on, while others said they were misplaced.
by SILENCE CHARUMBIRA/NQOBANI NDLOVU
Most NewsDay online readers said Moyo’s statement that bonuses were not an entitlement made sense, but others, including analysts, accused him of trying to cause disharmony within the civil service.
“Well said Prof, but this performance based must start at ministerial level. I wonder how many will get anything. Zero!,” wrote Taurai Zvese.
Another reader with the name Bonz remarked: “Well said, Prof, we need to make it known through your committees in Parliament and then debated. There must be criteria on which performance is measured and the scale of the awards.”
Obnub wrote: “First time I have ever seen this man make any sense. The very definition of a bonus is that it is given in appreciation of good work done — not an automatic thing. Given the level of laziness and absenteeism among (un)civil servants, there should be very few of them given bonuses.”
But one Jonathiel Moyowaonda said he suspected that Moyo was high on marijuana.
“A normal person cannot go on insulting people like that. He forgets that he is no longer the information minister. Does he imply that all people are drunkards? Here is a man who should be taken to a breathalyser to check why he always utters words not expected to be from a person who claims to be educated.”
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou said teachers were trying their best to give the education sector a semblance of order and credibility.
“It was out of such realisation that President Robert Mugabe promised civil servants bonuses for 2015. Professor Moyo’s attempt to throw through the window such legitimate expectation is an attempt to move the clock backwards to the colonial Master and Servant Act,” he said.
Zhou said it was clear that Moyo was operating in unfamiliar terrain and urged him to concentrate on his mandate in the Higher Education ministry to bring normalcy to improve the plight of the students, lecturers and the institutions.
“Such reckless utterances are exacerbating civil servants’ anger and apprehension, and we should not be held responsible if teachers embark on industrial action when schools open next week,” he said.
Former Bulawayo deputy mayor Amen Mpofu said civil servants were justified to demand bonuses after government promised to pay them.
“The situation at the moment is tense, and needs order. Whether a bonus is a right or not that is not an issue. The issue and the truth is that people want what they were promised. They should be paid the 13th cheque, full-stop,” Mpofu said, adding that such insensitive comments to a “hungry and angry worker” could easily stoke chaos.