Govt must resign in shame

Patrick Chinamasa

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa last week proposed drastic measures to kick-start the economy again by cutting 25 000 government jobs, stop bonuses for two years and cut allowances for senior government officials.

NewsDay Editor

Zimbabweans are waiting with bated breath on how President Robert Mugabe will respond. At least, this time, when Chinamasa made the pronouncements in his latest mid-term budget review, the President was not out of the country, as happened previously. Had Chinamasa been allowed to carry on with his proposals on his first attempt, the situation would have been different today.

Clearly, Mugabe’s cockiness and Zanu PF’s intransigence is self-destructive. No amount of politicking will be able to defeat the laws of economics. This is the reality that Mugabe should face. Government can no longer sustain its bloated workforce against an increasingly shrinking economic space.

That action alone shows that matters are coming to a head and all those who have been singing ZimAsset praises must now realise it is nothing, but just hot air and that unless Mugabe constructively engages all the stakeholders – including the opposition and the West — Zimbabwe is going downhill.

Mugabe must simply swallow his words after reversing the same proposals by Chinamasa last year. Understandably, so, civil servants have threatened a strike and that’s probably the only way out for them.

If Mugabe is sincere, he should cut the size of his Cabinet to at least 15, freeze all deputy ministerial positions, do away with the principal directors and probably reduce the size of Parliament. Government should also seriously consider a lifestyle audit for all top officials and impose other austerity measures on ministers, whose job is to serve the citizens rather than amass ill-gotten wealth.

Regrettably, the obstinate Zanu PF government continues to bury its head in the sand instead of accepting reality and doing the right thing. Indeed, it is time for the people to act and bring pressure to bear on this dismally performing government that has failed to use its power as a means to an end and transform the lives of its citizens.

It is a fact that a civil service wage bill that consumes nearly 97% of revenue is unsustainable, but government should have first looked at other alternatives to reduce its expenditure bill rather than going for the poor, suffering and hard-pressed citizen already paying a huge price for Mugabe’s failed economic policies.

Without a doubt the so-called blueprints government has crafted bear no solution and the only right thing to do would be to step down and give others a chance. Power should not be an end in itself, but it would appear that this is what Zanu PF believes. Yet, the striking reality is there for all to see. The writing is on the wall. Zanu PF has dismally failed.

Only a government led by people without shame will insist on remaining in power under such circumstances, riding roughshod over 14 million people with no hope for the future.

It is an open secret that parastatal bosses operating under the red line continue to draw tens of thousands in salaries and undeserved perks when the economy dithers and continues to bleed. This is unforgivable, and Mugabe must be ashamed of himself.