Govt must abolish superfluous posts

HARARE - Reports that government intends to retrench 13 000 teachers come as a surprising last ditch attempt by the governing Zanu PF to reverse an expedient of its own creation which has backfired.

One wonders whether it is really the teachers that have swollen the civil servants’ numbers when some schools are in  dire need of teachers or it is actually the ghost workers occupying superfluous positions in the civil services that needed weeding out.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa hit the nail on the head during his budget presentation when he identified the source of government’s problem: “….of this budget $3,32 billion which represents 81 percent of total expenditures will be on account of employment costs, leaving a balance of $798 million for operations, debt service and capital development programmes.

“What it means basically is that we are paying people to sit in their offices and not to undertake operations, and this is a major challenge that we have to address.”

No one but the ruling party is to blame for the current state of affairs where government is grappling with sourcing funds to pay an overstaffed civil service and no amount of excuses can exonerate it from the foolhardiness of deliberately piling numbers on its pay-sheet.

During the tenure of the GNU, attempts to rationalise the civil service workforce and purge it of phantom workers were thwarted purely on the basis of self-serving interests among politicians who sought to ring-fence their chances of getting elected.

One of the poignant, vote-catching promises contained in the ZimAsset economic blueprint plagiarised from Zanu PF’s 2013 election manifesto is the creation of more than two million jobs in the remaining three-and-a-half years.

But as it stands, the promise looks a hard act to follow.

Given the massive retrenchment owing to factory closures and judging by a restive public service workforce that is threatening to down tools to press home justified demands for better pay and working conditions, the governing Zanu PF party cannot help but thrash its hands about in search of a solution.

Cash-short as the government is, it is time for officials that fostered this untenable position to own-up and remedy the crisis they invented.

The governing Zanu PF party has been hurling its workers and ordinary Zimbabweans from one crisis to another by ignoring to undo the damage it fashioned for immediate gratification without foreseeing the consequences.

An urgent task now is to undertake a diligent audit of superfluous posts and to weed out ghost workers stuffed on government payroll to boost Zanu PF’s electoral chances.

Other than that, there is no solution in sight for the agitated but hapless civil servant.

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