“Mnangagwa’s media people and state media hacks obviously thought this was clever. Well done, they said to themselves.How happy Zimbabweans in bank queues must be to learn that their President is ready to join bank queues, and not to solve them.”
PEOPLE across the nation are in a jealous rage that a civil servant who slept through his job is getting a hefty pension.
MUCKRAKER Twitter: @MuckrakerZim
Life is unfair, isn’t it? The rest of us can’t catch even a mere 10 minute nap in the office without these cruel bosses making a fuss for no reason.
Now here is crafty old former President Robert Mugabe, not only getting a us470 000 lump sum pay out, but also demanding that his hefty US$13 000 monthly pension be delivered to his mansion in hard cash.
And, make no mistake, he probably does not want it in bond notes either. Who takes those at the Dubai Mall? Can bond notes pay for a deep-tissue back massage in a Singapore spa?
Can people stop being so jealous. The man got a great employment deal. For doing a part-time job for almost 40 years, the man walks away with half a million dollars and a fat monthly bag of cash. Which one of us would not want that contract?
The man barely did any work. It was only on his occasional visits to the country that he would take time off his busy travel-and-sleep schedule to butcher opponents and steal a few elections.
Then he would go back to his day job; travelling the world and excoriating imperialists at far flung summits, from Cancun to Fiji. He spent US$53 million on foreign travel in 2016. By the time the tanks rolled into town last November, Mugabe had already spent US$32 million on foreign travel. The man had racked up 20 000 air miles between 2016 and early 2017.
In all that, his hangers-on were getting daily allowances of up to US$1 500 each.
Heaven knows what the head traveller himself was paying himself. Muckraker remembers a tale he heard from one old hack, who used to accompany Mugabe on his trips in the 1980s and 1990s.
Mugabe used to return what remained from his allowances after each foreign trip, as is required. Until one of his ministers one day asked him: “But President, why are you returning the money? Who will ask you?”
It was then that Mugabe realised how silly he had been all along, giving back taxpayers’ money for no reason.
All those pensioners queuing for their US$80 pensions outside banks were simply too lazy to negotiate for better perks at their former workplaces.
As the saying goes, “When you are accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression”.
Excellency in queue
Speaking of queues, Muckraker was heartened to learn of the lengths to which President Emmerson Mnangagwa will go to share in his people’s misery.
The Sunday Mail helpfully told us a story about a CBZ Bank staffer showing up at the President’s office at Munhumutapa with a bag full of cash. Mugabe had been getting his salary in cash, we are told, so she thought this was to continue. But Mnangagwa sent her away. Unlike his predecessor, we are told, Mnangagwa refused to use his privilege to take his salary in scarce cash.
The article was going rather well so far. The whole point of its propaganda, to make us all go “ah, look at that selfish man, Mugabe, and look at this selfless man, ED”, is on point so far.
Until this: “His Excellency gave her his bank account number and told her to do a transfer as is done for everyone else, and told her that if he needed cash he would queue for it like everyone else because the cash shortages affected all Zimbabweans and he would demand no such preferential and irregular treatment.”
Mnangagwa’s media people and state media hacks obviously thought this was clever. Well done, they said to themselves.
How happy Zimbabweans in bank queues must be to learn that their President is ready to join bank queues, and not to solve them.
Muckraker was unhappy to see ungrateful doctors at public hospitals go on strike, for no reason. The doctors are striking over non-important issues, things like basic medicines and equipment to help them do their work. They also want unpaid wages and allowances, for some reason.
It was good to see Health minister David Parirenyatwa swooping in to break the impasse. That he did so months after doctors started warning of the strike, and that he failed to act during a whole 21-day ultimatum issued by the doctors, is no reason for us to start doubting his competence as the head of a critical ministry. We instead call upon the doctors to be more patriotic, stop demanding bandages, pain killers and salaries, and learn from their counterparts in Canada, who have signed a petition protesting against plans to raise their pay, arguing that the funds would be better elsewhere.
Shocking revelations in Parliament by Zesa Holdings over various cash donations the power utility made to the ruling Zanu PF at a time the company was incurring huge losses shows how rampant the abuse of parasatals is by the moribund ruling party. Josh Chifamba, the group’s chief executive officer, told the Paurina Mpariwa-led Public Accounts Committee he had no choice but to donate to Zanu PF as the ruling party.
According to Auditor-General Mildred Chiri’s 2016 audit report, Zesa had budgeted to use US$300 000 for donations, but ended up spending US$1,1 million, mostly in unauthorised donations. That the parastatal complains about low tariffs when it splurges millions towards Zanu PF activities is hypocrisy writ large and an indication of just how deeply entrenched the scourge of corruption is within state entities.
That Zesa at one time took space in the state media to congratulate Mugabe for holding a successful party conference before it had even been held shows its propensity for wasting money which could have contributed to reducing its huge debt. Not to be outdone, the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, another state entity donated US$2,9 million to Zanu PF.
MMCZ acting general manager Masimba Chandavengerwa told the Parliamentary Public Accounts portfolio committee recently that the donation was above the US$250 000 budget. Asked if the company was arm-twisted into doling out the donations the MMCZ boss said the company acted on instruction.“I would not say that. We were instructed. We receive instructions that may you donate something to this function and we acted accordingly.”
It is such appalling lack of corporate governance that explains why the country is an economic backwater.
Grace obsession resurrects in Auxillia
The adage the more things change the more they remain the same rings true in the case of the First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa.
State media has advertised that it will hold a supplement to mark the First Lady’ birthday, reminiscent of the horrid voluminous supplements for former First Lady Grace Mugabe and her husband, that contained birthday messages bordering on blasphemy.
Most of these hagiographical messages in the supplement are placed by parastatals which are struggling to keep their heads above water, miserably failing to deliver and are bleeding the fiscus.
Mnangagwa is on record criticising the deifying of politicians. It seems the message has not reached the state media. Coupled with Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga’s wife Marry using the title second lady on a letterhead in her correspondence, it goes to show that the dispensation is only new in name. The bootlicking virus is well and truly alive — the only difference being that the recipient is not Grace, but Auxilia.