Bonus confusion exposes Mugabe

HARARE - The opposition and civil service unions yesterday rounded on President Robert Mugabe and his misfiring Zanu PF government, saying farcical developments around bonuses for State employees underlined the fact that the centre could no longer hold within the ruling party.

The criticism included claims that the bonus disaster showed that Mugabe was no longer in charge, that government was demonstrating how “hopelessly clueless” it was about fixing Zimbabwe, and that the State was now run as a “chaotic free-for-all”, with ministers working without supervision and doing as they wished.

This followed Mugabe’s often random speech at the Independence Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium, in Harare, on Saturday where he gave Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa a humiliating public shellacking, emphatically denying that the government had decided against awarding civil servants bonuses this year and next year.

“I want to make it clear that the report which was in the newspaper (presumably The Herald) that bonuses were being withdrawn is not government policy. The cabinet did not approve that at all. And the presidency never, never was consulted on the matter. We were never consulted the three of us, that is myself and the vice presidents.

“And we say that is disgusting to us, and it will never, never be implemented at all. So let the civil servants not be down-hearted. That will not happen,” Mugabe said.

The pragmatic Chinamasa, accompanied by his Information counterpart Jonathan Moyo, had announced at a media briefing in Harare last week that Mugabe’s broke government was suspending bonus payments until 2017.

“Government has decided to suspend bonus payments to the civil servants in 2015 and 2016, and the situation will be reviewed in 2017 in the event that we are able to build enough capacity,” Chinamasa said.

Reacting to the farce yesterday, Zapu spokesperson Mnjobisa Noko said the embarrassing discord smacked of a “hopelessly clueless and directionless” government.

“What we are seeing is a government that will not lead Zimbabweans to prosperity as what they are looking at is themselves and themselves only.

“It is a situation where we have a president who is always air-borne and who does not know what is on the ground, and where ministers are clueless about the suffering of the man on the street, including civil servants,” he said.

Noko added that Mugabe had contradicted Chinamasa in a desperate endeavour to “justify his own salary increment” after the nonagenarian recently claimed that he was one of the poorest presidents in the world.

“This is about his salary justification at a time that the people of Zimbabwe are sinking deeper into poverty. They are blinded by power and do not care about the welfare of the ordinary people,” he said.

The spokesperson of the Zanu PF “People First” formation, Rugare Gumbo, said that the current confusion around bonuses were not new in the ruling party and showed that Mugabe was losing his grip on power.

“There is a free-for-all that demonstrates that the centre can no longer hold. People are taking advantage of the president’s lack of grasp of what is happening in the party and country. People are also taking advantage of the old man’s age and making unilateral decisions.

“It’s now a question of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing,” Gumbo said, although he also doubted that Chinamasa had made his earlier announcement unilaterally.

“It’s a party of policy inconsistences which we have always witnessed and which we are now called upon to change. We were involved in some of these things, where decisions were made and changed. Some of us are not really surprised,” he said.

Writing on his Facebook page, MDC spokesman Obert Gutu also doubted that Chinamasa could have made the announcement unilaterally.

“Knowing Chinamasa as I do, I don’t believe that one bit. Someone is lying,” he said.

The Secretary General of the Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (RTUZ), Robson Chere, said his union -- which boasts more than 5 000 members -- was baffled by Mugabe’s statement.

“The wild proclamation by President Mugabe on Independence day to the effect that bonuses will be paid to civil servants, contrary to Chinamasa’s position is baffling to us as Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe,” Chere said.

He also claimed that the ongoing confusion allegedly showed that there was a plan “to make civil servants suffer”.

“Other Unions and individuals would claim that the centre has fallen and there is no more co-ordination and unity of purpose in government. Our union however believes that there is a coordinated approach to make us suffer.

“Mugabe is an accomplice to the suspension of bonuses. He might have been playing politics when he made the wild proclamation or might have forgotten what they agreed on in cabinet which is a natural symptom of old age,” Chere said.

RTUZ said it wanted the government to issue a positive cabinet resolution on bonuses, whereupon a failure to do that would “push us into the streets”.

Efforts to get a comment from Chinamasa and Moyo yesterday were fruitless as their mobile phones went unanswered.

But Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba defended the nonagenarian’s position and modus operandi yesterday.

“The boss has spoken,” he said.

Asked if this was not creating unnecessary confusion concerning the correct position on the issue, Charamba said Mugabe’s statement was the correct position.

“The minister has been corrected. There is a distinction between taking a position as a matter of principle and its implementation. So there is no discord. The president has spoken,” Charamba said.

Comments (20)

THERE WAS NO CONFUSION OVER THE BONUS. THIS IS MUGABE PLAYING GOOD-COP BAD-COP ON A GULLIBLE AND NAIVE ELECTORATE. HE NEEDED TO SAY SOMETHING NICE AND SINCE HE HAD NOTHING , HE CONTRIVED TO MANUFACTURE THE GOOD NEWS BY HAVING CHINAMASA SAY BAD NEWS AND THEN HE WILL CONTRADICT IT STRONGLY SO IT APPEARS AS GREAT NEWS. NOW SOME PEOPLE ARE SO HAPPY WITH MUGABE YOU WOULD THINK HE GRANTED A BONUS CHEQUE EVERY MONTH WHEN ALL HE DID IS GIVE THEM WHAT THEY ALREADY HAD!

Wilbert Mukori - 20 April 2015

Given the economical situation as it stands, between Chinasa and RG Mugabe, Chinamasa is correct in instituting austerity measures. This government is and indeed the country is broke. Many companies have rendered supplies and services to government institutions since mid 2014 and have not been paid. The center cannot hold. Chinamasa is just realistic that is all. RG Mugabe is definitely going to make the payment as he said, by using stashed away diamond revenues. RG Mugabe is fighting for Zanu-PF mafia's survival at all costs. Now the chips are down. The policies of Zim Asset stripping and looting are now at their fullest fruition. This country has slowly but sure been turned into a non productive settlement. By patronage default, all farms and parastatal companies belong to Zanu-PF. There is absolutely no productivity out of the estates and organizations. Banks have not been given the confidence to bring in cash from abroad, naturally, with no cash, the private sector is now dead. Where is cash to pay the civil servants going to come from? We are now a failed state. What else do we need to witness other than the poverty that is lurking in our society? Since Zanu-PF has presided rule over this beautiful country, for the past 35 years, the quality of life has steadily deteriorated. My country men, I have just vocalised what we all know. The question is, for how long can we go on sliding into deeper poverty?

Mbareboy - 20 April 2015

My grandfather grew to a very advanced age and he could not remember that he had taken his meal. It was agreed that civil servants would not get a bonus but somebody forgot about it. Double standards are at play in our beloved party.

Samaldo - 20 April 2015

My grandfather grew to a very advanced age and he could not remember that he had taken his meal. It was agreed that civil servants would not get a bonus but somebody forgot about it. Double standards are at play in our beloved party.

Samaldo - 20 April 2015

My grandfather grew to a very advanced age and he could not remember that he had taken his meal. It was agreed that civil servants would not get a bonus but somebody forgot about it. Double standards are at play in our beloved party.

Samaldo - 20 April 2015

Only fools will believe Mugabe and that will make them sick come end of year as they will not get bonus . Common sense tells me that any organisation would only pay its workers if itS bank account iS fat . How someone can agree to be lied to by a 91 year old forgetful granny and surely start budgeting for bonus makes me surprised . Where is Mugabe going to get the money ? WHERE /?

Diibulaanyika - 20 April 2015

Baloney!! There is no confusion here. Its a designed strategy. Sacrifice Chinamasa and make Mugabe a hero period.

Qiniso - 20 April 2015

I feel sorry for Mr Chinamasa. He is working with a very ungrateful man. He should instead be happy that at least Chinamasa is trying to be realistic about the cashflow. Some one once said Migabe is a political animal that knows no economics. Mugabe must also understand that his time is almost over now and he must give chance to the young ministers to try and employ practical solutions to the immense problems Zimbabwe is facing. Get real Mr Presiident time to backstabbing is over!!!!

Gzasukwa - 20 April 2015

As ungrateful as the South AFRICANS

PIUS - 21 April 2015

Maida kuti harawa iti kudii iwo masoja nemapurisa vaive vakamira pamberi pake, taura hako chokwadi Pari- trick Chinamasa hapana hapana

wadyegora - 21 April 2015

If the President read what is happening in the country in the newspaper and make decision at a rally then an one who thinks something positive will be achieved with Mugabe in power s[must have himself assessed by a psychiatrist.

ephraim - 21 April 2015

RGM must go! Wake up ZPF! Retire him yesterday!

TruthBTold - 21 April 2015

do we have streets in rural area where RTUZ will go if a position is not given by cabinet on bonus

chitova - 21 April 2015

Honda CR V for sale 1998 very good condition. $ 4.5 Neg call 0773 668 429

x company - 22 April 2015

Poor Hon Min Chinamasa. Here is how he can cut down on goverment expenditure. 1. There is rampant abuse of governement vehicles. Almost every civil servant with access to a government vehicle has free personal use of the vehicle. 2. Are all users of government vehicles being taxed for the deemed benefit of the personal use of the vehicles? 3. Some of the vehicles are battered ( E.g the green B18 Mazda pickups seen driven by Army officials). They obviusly cost a fortune to maintain. 3. These vehicles are public property, financed by the overburdend taxpayer. I once saw a new Mazda BT50 for the National Defence College overladen with farm inputs. The institution's logo reads Intergrity, Leadership, Wisdom. An unbefitting logo given the abuse the truck was being subjected to.

judgeq64 - 22 April 2015

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