Move seen as a gimmick to woo voters in 2018
GOVERNMENT has embarked on a massive recruitment exercise despite committing to a freeze on new public service employment in a bid to woo voters ahead of the 2018 general elections.
By Wongai Zhangazha
Treasury is operating in constrained fiscal space characterised by staggered civil service salary dates and little capital and social spending. Official figures show that salaries account for 93% of government revenues.
The Zimbabwe Independent has learnt this week that government, which wants to give the impression it was fulfilling an election promise announced in the run-up to the 2013 polls, is on a drive to recruit police officers, soldiers, nurses and teachers in an attempt to save face.
This came after the ruling Zanu PF undertook to create 2,2 million jobs after being voted into power in 2013.
The Independent understands that government is on a drive to recruit up to 10 000 police officers before the polls.
The proposed recruitment is in line with the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s request to the Police Service Commission for an upward review of its human resource requirement from the existing 50 000 to 75 000.
The ZRP argued the recruitment of 25 000 officers would address the “manpower deficit emanating from the dynamic police environment and increased demand of police service in the country”.
Government officials say the proposal has been forwarded to cabinet for approval.
Government has also unfrozen over 2 000 nurses and 250 doctors’ posts while next month it will be recruiting 2 300 teachers who are going to be the first batch of the “urgently required” personnel to offset a 7 000-vacancy deficit.
Minister of Public Service Prisca Mupfumira yesterday said she could not comment on any issues as she was outside the country on government business.
However, in a in a recent interview with state media Mupfumira said the 2 300 teachers will be recruited ahead of the opening of schools for second term to enable the full implementation of the new curriculum recently introduced by the Education ministry.
In June last year, Education minister Lazarus Dokora, indicated that about 10 000 teachers and headmasters could be recruited as a move to address the shortage of educators in schools.
While independent estimates show that over 80% of the population is unemployed, critics say this plan could hamper Treasury’s plan to comply with recommendations from the International Monetary Fund.
Sources said this was a counter-strategy to a ploy by the opposition MDC to widely criticise government’s failure to deliver jobs ahead of next year’s general elections.
Thousands of workers have been thrown onto the streets after several firms closed shop while many others became jobless after companies scaled down operations following the July 17 2015 Supreme Court ruling which allowed employers to dismiss workers on three-month notice.
Trade unions have estimated that around 30 000 workers were dismissed using the ruling while employers armed with a survey have argued that 9 115 workers were affected.