Cut foreign trips, Mugabe told

HARARE - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC says President Robert Mugabe must cut both his bloated Cabinet team and costly foreign travels before his government thinks about retrenching poor civil servants.

This advice yesterday came in the wake of the government, hit hard by the twin blows of a shrinking revenue base and an economy on the nosedive, recently mooted a restructuring exercise of its employees — with a view to retrenching tens of thousands of civil servants who are chewing up more than 80 percent of the national budget in salaries.

The MDC said it was wrong for the government to plan to retrench public servants without looking at other ways to curb its ballooning expenditure.

The party’s spokesperson, Obert Gutu, said it was lamentable that the government was now running around talking about its wage bill, despite having resisted the opposition’s proposal for an audit of the civil service during the era of the inclusive government.

He said instead of chopping off lowly civil servants, the exercise should start at the top.

“Downsizing must start with the freezing of open Cabinet posts and reducing Mugabe’s travel,” Gutu said.

The MDC has in the past accused the national youth service, commonly referred to as Green Bombers because of their green uniforms and penchant for unleashing violence against the opposition during, of bloating the public wage bill for partisan purposes.

The youths were alleged to be on government payroll at the behest of Environment minister Saviour Kasukuwere when he was Youth minister, to serve Zanu PF interests.

Surprisingly, this week saw the government planning the verification of civil service numbers through the Civil Service Commission (CSC) — which is already said to be visiting schools to conduct head counts of teachers.

The CSC officials are apparently requesting teachers to write down the number of lessons they have per week, as well as the number of learners they teach.

Gutu said Mugabe and his team were pretending that all was well when the country was in economic shambles, alleging further that Mugabe’s foreign travels had gobbled up close to $15 million from the fiscus this year alone.

The MDC also urged civil servants to resist being retrenched without being given their packages.

“Zimbabweans are now bracing for the final implosion. The centre can no longer hold. Government can no longer pay salaries. The economy is clearly on auto pilot. The results of a rigged election are bare for all of us to see,” Gutu said.

He added that the government was clueless about how to turn around the country’s dire economic fortunes as its revenue base had shrunk by 45 percent since July 2013, with the budget deficit now approaching the $1 billion mark.

He also warned that Mugabe’s government was on the verge of collapse, which would necessitate the holding of fresh elections, which his party would only participate in on condition that significant electoral reforms were implemented.

“Zanu PF is now playing sunset politics. Every day the people selling their goods on the pavement are sending clear signals that things cannot continue as they are.

“Everyone is itching for a final push which is not going to be very far. The regime will be overrun by the people. We are now in a countdown to the people’s victory. We are now bracing for a snap election which we will resist until there are genuine electoral reforms.

“The regime has been isolated and marooned on an enclave of a collapsing economy. Civil servants will not be the sacrificial lambs. We have started a big campaign: No retrenchment without packages; No elections without reforms,” Gutu said.

The MDC also said it was “ready to govern and pull the economy out of the morass”, adding that they had “the keys to unlock domestic and foreign investment and create one million jobs annually in the process”.

Comments (4)

Hear hear! That is indeed the right message but wrong messanger/vessel. Mugabe must cut both his bloated Cabinet team and costly foreign travels & concurrently slim down the size of government i.e. retrenchment of public servants especially army & find further efficiencies. Tsvangirai and Mugabe under the so called GNU had a bloated cabinet and they were told the same thing about their travel (all of them were guilty) and they didnt reform. This on its own disqualifies him from being taken seriously on this particular matter.

Galore 123 - 27 March 2015

Absolutely. We will no longer just go with the ZPF flow. this nation belongs to God and to the people under Him! We will no longer just accept the status quo! RGM must step down!

Freedom4Zim - 27 March 2015

LIKE ZANU WILL LISTEN...THE TYPICAL ZANU SUPPORTER WILL SAY HE IS GOING TO GET MONEY FOR ZIMASSET.......WHERE ARE THOSE JOBS......HOW CAN U PROMISE SOMETHING U KNOW YOU WONT DELIVER IN THE FIRST PLACE...........CRY MY BELOVED COUNTRY CRY......

defd - 28 March 2015

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