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ERIC Bloch’s revelation that the 42 embassies are costing us US$20 million per month is staggering. 

This equates to two thirds of our fuel requirements in normal conditions.  Looking at the traffic now it is probably nearly double our fuel bill.  

What does Zesa need to keep the country on full power — probably not as much as this US$20 million?  This all begs the question how can embassies around the world on average spend US$500 000 (R4 million) per month?  An average budget could be, say, office rent US$15 000, 10 staff wages US$20 000 (tax free), 10 house rents US$10 000, vehicles US$10 000, running expenses US$15 000.  So where does the other US$430 000 per month go?

Our TelOne telephone charges are the highest in the world at 42c per minute.  Marange diamonds are reported to be earning someone US$200 million per month.  When the ministries were being divided (or should I say grabbed) I wondered why Zanu PF was so determined to hang onto mines, telecoms and foreign affairs ahead of other ministries.  On face value it seemed that they had motives of political and security control but now it seems they were hanging onto the cash cows.  

The government should investigate closely where this massive foreign expenditure on the embassies is going — surely into the pockets of Zanu PF chefs.  Is this also the reason that Gideon Gono has to be retained in power at all costs? 

Nothing to do with what the country’s needs — just to safeguard the cash cows and distribution of their wealth to keep the party financed in the face of total political collapse?

Bloch also makes the point that we do not need a large army, three spy agencies, a senate, governors and so many ministers and deputy ministers when the social service ministries like health and education are so understaffed and underpaid. 

The Minister of Finance in his next budget should look at reducing or eliminating expenditure on bloated or irrelevant ministries and not budget around what the existing bloated structures are asking for.  Education and health should, in all fairness, be given the biggest slice of the cake, the army the smallest. 

It is time for Zanu PF to get real and start working with the MDC factions to create a better future for all Zimbabweans and not devote all the time to entrenching themselves politically or lining their pockets.  If they want to safeguard what they have looted they better wake up and smell the roses.

They will never win a free election, the world will not accept another rigged one, so give up gracefully while you are ahead and start thinking of the citizens of the country for a change.
A McCormick,

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