HARARE - The statement by Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo in which he reportedly said bonuses were not a right for government workers and that some civil servants did not deserve it because they are “drunkards and non-performers” is unfortunate and should not have been said by a Zanu PF minister and a politburo member.
Moyo made the remarks on Twitter last week and ever since, there has been disquiet among civil servants who feel let down by the government over its failure to pay salaries on fixed dates as well as its failure to deliver bonuses at the end of the year as expected.
The statement by the honourable minister has given a wrong impression that government has a callous unconcern for the civil servants who have for a long time endured economic hardships emanating from economic mismanagement and poor policies by government among other factors such as sanctions.
The failure to pay bonuses is just one symptom of failure on the part of government and if Moyo was an alert and hardworking minister, he should have argued for the reversal of the destructive policies that continue to harm the economy such as the indigenisation policy that is scaring away investors.
The fact that Moyo has kept quiet while such policies are ruining the economy unabated mean that he is actually the one who is non-performing together with some of his Cabinet colleagues and therefore does not deserve the hefty salary, expensive cars and other perks that he is getting from government.
Civil servants are not responsible for the government’s poor policies that continue to suffocate the economy of the much-needed foreign direct investment.
It would have been better if Moyo had actually apologised to the civil servants for government failure to pay bonus on time and also thank them for remaining loyal and hard working even under the difficult economic situation that is set to deepen due to the impending drought this year.
It does not portray any logic to pay civil servants religiously for 12 months and then start questioning their performance when it is time to pay bonus. The standard practice is that bonus must be paid to every worker who has been at work for the past 12 months regardless of performance.
It is therefore my view as a member of Zanu PF that the statements by Moyo are his own views and do not represent neither the views of Zanu PF nor those of the executive, particularly President Robert Mugabe who last year reiterated that government was committed to the payment of civil service bonuses.
The president said this following a hastily organised press conference in which again Moyo and Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa had announced that government would not pay bonuses owing to its cash flow challenges.
However, while the statement by Moyo describing civil servants as ‘‘boozers and undeserving of bonuses’’ should not be regarded as a Zanu PF view, it remains a position and opinion of his G40 (generation 40) faction which earlier has been on a crusade, describing war veterans as drunkards and taxi drivers much to the detriment of the party’s survival.
The G40 faction is composed of ambitious young Turks who are keen on succeeding Mugabe by isolating him from his support base until such a time he inevitably surrenders power to a younger leader preferably one of their own.
The president’s support base that has now been frustrated by the actions and statements of the G40 includes the war veterans and the civil servants, particularly the police and the CIO that has guaranteed the party’s success at the polls over the years.
*Mutodi is a PhD student at the University of Cape Town. He is a Zanu PF member.