Performance-based contracts will foster good governance

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President Emmerson Mnangagwa

AN important development took place in Zimbabwe yesterday with Cabinet ministers and heads of State entities made to sign performance-based contracts to foster a high performance culture among government bureaucrats.

If well implemented, this new trajectory will go a long way in cultivating a culture of accountability  and good governance, thus exposing criminals and non-performers who have bled government coffers over the past four decades.

This is how it should be.

In spite of all his blunders, President Emmerson Mnangagwa appears to be on point this time.

These bigwigs must be rated, pushed into line or fired for incompetence. There is no better way of ensuring accountability than constantly monitoring performance and publicising the outcomes.

It should not be about purges, but a way of identifying the training needs of State employees and responding appropriately.

It is, therefore, a welcome development that ministers, heads of State-owned enterprises and parastatals were made to sign performance contracts in the capital, Harare, yesterday.

Mnangagwa first announced plans to introduce the performance contracts in October 2021 at the official opening of the fourth session of the Ninth Parliament saying this was to “guarantee that our citizens enjoy value for money.”

Corruption, mismanagement and looting have unmistakably been the Achille heel of parastatals and the economy in general.

Turnaround strategies have been crafted in the past but most of them have been gathering dust in bosses’ in-trays as the chefs viewed the new proposals as a way of denying them access to the feeding trough.

This is why in 2020, Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube highlighted that State firms’ contribution to the gross domestic product dropped to 12%, from a high of 40% in the mid-1990s.

What exacerbates these weaknesses is that senior appointments to these institutions are often premised on political grounds or cronyism at the expense of meritocracy.

This has contributed to the decay in government-run entities, with far-reaching consequences to the economy.

The rot was, and is still, a reflection of what Zimbabwe has become today.

The damage done to the Cold Storage Commission and National Railways of Zimbabwe among other State-run entities explains the mess Zimbabwe finds itself in.

Air Zimbabwe is one of the parastatals that have struggled for a long time, resulting in the cancellation of most international flights.

So, we hope the signing of performance-based contracts opens a new chapter in the way government business will be executed going forward.