Ex-GNU ministers fall on hard times

THE lifestyles of several former ministers from the MDC-T, who had ministerial benefits and other trappings of power, have taken a dramatic plunge following the July 31 elections defeat.

WONGAI ZHANGAZHA

Highly placed official sources told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that some of the ministers have since approached the government for assistance regarding rentals for their homes in up-market suburbs where they were living during their stint in the inclusive government.

According to the sources, the MDC-T former ministers wrote to government before the general elections in July requesting that their rental arrears, some amounting to US$20 000, be covered as part of their exit packages while others were seeking relief on mortgages obligations.

Earlier this year the affected ministers demanded exit packages of houses in Harare’s affluent suburbs, residential stands and top-of-the-range vehicles they wanted delivered before the expiry of the unity government.

But the sources said some of the demands could not be met before elections.

However, vehicles used by the former ministers are currently being evaluated, it has been learnt. Some are taking home Mercedes Benzes, Prados, Jeep Cherokees and Range Rovers for paltry amounts such as $7 000 for two vehicles.

“Requests for residential stands were pushed initially by MDC-T ministers who asked for a special facility from Local Government minister (Ignatius) Chombo to be allocated stands,” said the source.

“This forced the matter to be re-tabled in one of the government meetings so the ministers would be able to deal with the matter immediately.”

Contacted for comment this week, Chombo confirmed receiving the request for residential stands but referred the issue to former Finance minister Tendai Biti.

“Biti was then tasked to facilitate a loan facility through CBZ for ministers to access,” Chombo said.

But Biti reportedly refused to do that. “He refused this last supper mentality,” a source close to Biti said yesterday. However, some former MDC-T ministers have been opting out of the issue of mortgages because they fear they would fail to meet the financial obligations.

The source said some former MDC-T ministers approached government after their party’s defeat asking if they would still receive rental allowances, which they claimed before polls.

“It shows how this defeat reduced some ministers to wretchedness. It’s bad enough to lose, worse when that translates to pauperisation. Life after a ministerial responsibility needs to be addressed,” said the source.