Govt splurges US$20m on ministers’ new cars

ZIMBABWE’s new government has splashed close to US$20 million on luxury cars, including Mercedes Benz and SUVs for 26 cabinet ministers, 13 ministers of state and 24 deputies at a time when more than two million people are reportedly facing starvation.

Faith Zaba

Investigations by the Zimbabwe Independent showed government bought top of the range Mercedes Benz E350 sedans and Toyota Land Cruisers VX200 for ministers and deputies who yesterday received either a Land Rover Discovery SUV, a Ford Ranger or Toyota Hilux 4×4 double cab each.

While it may be difficult to quantify the exact cost, a survey by the Independent shows that car dealers are selling 2012 models of the Mercedes Benz sedan at around US$130 000 each, Toyota Land Cruiser VX200 at an average US$138 000, Ford Rangers at an average US$55 000 while Toyota Hilux 4×4 double cabs cost between US$55 000 and US$60 000.

A senior minister said: “I received my two cars this week, a Mercedes Benz E350 and a Toyota Land Cruiser VX200.”

A deputy minister confirmed: “I am collecting my own (vehicles) this afternoon (yesterday). I have been told I am getting a Land Rover Discovery and a double cab –– a Ford Ranger or a Toyota 4×4.”

Ministers in the just-ended coalition government took home Mercedes Benzes, Prados, Jeep Cherokees and Range Rovers for paltry amounts such as US$7 000 for two vehicles. In addition to the US$20 million, the government is also expected to fork out close to US$11 million for MPs.

Last year, legislators were allocated US$30 000 each to purchase vehicles and assuming the figure remains the same, government will spend a total of US$10,65 million for the 275 National Assembly members. This will also include the five non-constituency members, and 80 senators.

The delivery of the vehicles comes hard on the heels of a recent report by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) which estimates 2,2 million people –– a quarter of the country’s rural population –– are in need of food aid due to a poor harvest realised in the last cropping season.

The millions being spent on vehicles, plus the civil servants salary rise which government has promised, are expected to further bleed the depleted fiscus.

Civil servants’ salaries were gobbling close to US2,6 billion in 2012, translating to 70% of the government’s total revenue collections.


11 Responses to Govt splurges US$20m on ministers’ new cars

  1. Neymar September 20, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    This is what people voted for overwhelmingly. And next week the President is off to New York for several days. No doubt the Gucci loving First Lady will be in tow to enjoy exclusive shopping in the decadent USA, which has imposed illegal sanctions which prevent her from getting her much loved Jimmy Choo shoes at Edgars in Harare.

  2. Gokwe September 20, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

    I still don’t undesrtand RG’s talk questioning how urban dwellers & civil servants survive on such low wages while claiming that he pays his farm workers $500? Why is he taunting them?
    He is the head of that government which sets those wages so ari kutii mudhara uyu?

  3. Lorna Munt September 21, 2013 at 10:51 am #

    i should seriously think about becoming a politician in zimbabwe, it pays well

  4. Rudadiso September 21, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    Not exactly news. Just a reminder that Mugabe and his cronies will continue to do what they do best – looting of national resources.

  5. Wait and see September 21, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

    No wonder why politicians do not want to retire even when they are old and spent ; they live large in the midst of a sea of poverty stricken povo. Tell me if someone has been a politician since I980 and getting such pecks how many cars does that individual now own? If they have the people at heart some luxurious cars other pecks that we are not privy are forgone and stick to utility vehicles they could change great deal poor peoples lives؛just thinking

  6. The Great Architect September 21, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

    Imagine if $20million was put into agriculture production this coming season. As Africans we just can’t prioritize our resources. We just love bling bling, at whatever level in life.

  7. thekaronga September 21, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

    Ndabatikana zvikuru nemashoko aya…are we really the most literate African state…. I beg to differ…Common sense is not common zveshuwa…apa magetsi hatina asi chinoagadzira tinocho but hapana mari yekuchi servisa….nhamo inhamo zvayo,amai havarwodzwi asi pakadai ndingavaendesa ini….

  8. Chinenguwo Murombo September 22, 2013 at 5:37 am #

    Indeed the Zanu pf gravy train is here to stay under the tutelage of Matibili,the murderous despot.

  9. mambo September 22, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

    where in the world have you seen ministers without cars i think the writer is confused its very obvious that minsters must have cars and the president must attendant meetings you have nothing to write about

    • Sirius September 25, 2013 at 8:08 am #

      It is about affordability not that they should not have them. Can the country afford $20mil on cars?

  10. Peter Levy September 26, 2013 at 5:44 am #

    Surely there are cheaper models than these and 2 cars at once. Why not just get the SUV which can be used in any all our potholed roads.

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