THE ruling Zanu PF party has failed to pay its workers countrywide for the month of April, as political parties continue to struggle in Zimbabwe’s harsh economic climate.
Senior party sources this week told the Zimbabwe Independent that the party’s financial situation is so bad that it may also fail to pay May salaries.
The party owes workers more than US$130 000 in salary arrears.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo professed ignorance over the matter and referred questions to the party’s secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, and the finance department. Mutasa however refused to comment, saying he was no longer speaking to the press.
“I am no longer speaking to you media people,” Mutasa said in a telephone conversation on Wednesday morning.
Zanu PF has a well-documented history of financial problems with workers sometimes going unpaid. The party however often vigorously fundraises from companies, organisations and ordinary workers towards party functions and President Robert Mugabe’s birthday bashes.
Earlier this year, struggling Bulawayo firms were allegedly forced to donate nearly US$20 000 towards President Robert Mugabe’s opulent 90th birthday celebrations in Marondera, Mashonaland East Province, while Zanu PF activists also forced poorly remunerated teachers in the province to contribute US$2 each for the bash estimated to cost US$1 million.
Zanu PF’s MDC-T rivals are in a similar financial predicament amid indications that the opposition party’s workers last received their salaries four months ago.
The workers’ plight has been worsened by the in-fighting that has seen the party divided into two factions after suspensions, expulsions and counter-suspensions pitting party president Morgan Tsvangirai against secretary general Tendai Biti.
So serious is the situation in the MDC-T that in March, the party’s supreme decision-making body, the national council decided that sitting MPs would be required to make a once-off payment of US$100 while National Executive members would contribute US$50 each to help bail out the party, as donor flight takes its toll.
Councillors are required to pay US$10 each while every ordinary member should contribute US$1.
MDC-T acting secretary general, Tapiwa Mashakada this week admitted his party was in financial dire straits.
“We are not an employer.we are a political party and all the people who render their services do that on the basis of service and sacrifice,” Mashakada said.