PUBLIC officials in Zimbabwe appear to have increasingly grown a sense of entitlement where they feel, because of their positions, they must have free access to certain amenities and other luxury perks.
This has even cascaded down even to the civil service where teachers, doctors and nurses, for instance, are now demanding to be paid in United States dollars rather than the readily available bond note.
Just recently, rural and urban councillors in the Midlands met Local Government minister July Moyo and demanded motor vehicles and an upward review of their allowances when they travel away from their stations on work commitments, so that their working conditions are at par with those of legislators.
Now, these people are still new in office and have not even done much work, but they are already looking at personally benefitting from the system.
What has become of their sworn pledge to servant leadership?
This creates the impression that when they decided to contest for political office, it was not so much about serving their communities, but were after deriving certain benefits courtesy of their new-found positions. This is a culture we feel needs to be nipped in the bud because it creates “cartels” within public institutions.
It is quite shocking that councillors, for instance, are already positioning themselves at par with legislators — because legislators are given vehicles, they now want vehicles too! No doubt they are elected public office bearers, but what have they done so far for the people that voted them into office? Were they voted in to help themselves to the available perks or to represent community needs?
Councillors in Harare also recently demanded iPads. It is not a secret that the majority of the country’s local authorities have been struggling to provide basic services to ratepayers, with the majority of cities still drowning in sewage, and uncollected garbage while failing to provide clean potable water.
Since these are the issues they would have used in their campaigns to secure the ticket to public office, it follows that dealing with those issues should take precedence.
We feel it would be ideal for these public office bearers to first deal with the problems facing residents before they start thinking of some handsome rewards. There are instances, however, when certain interventions are required, like in the case of rural councillors who have to walk long distances on council business.