WHEN President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is also the ruling Zanu PF leader, deployed 15 senior party officials, including former ministers dropped his cabinet in September, to the party headquarters where they took up full-time jobs, many people celebrated the move thinking it meant less expenditure on a bloated executive, as well as reduced influence on state affairs by the old guard.
They were badly mistaken.
It has since emerged that the bigwigs are earning huge monthly salaries, which have more than doubled the ruling party’s monthly wage bill. And a substantial amount of that comes from the government grant, which means they are still feeding off taxpayers’ money.
Those deployed to work fulltime at the national headquarters, a gigantic concrete structure located on the edge of Harare’s Central Business District include former cabinet ministers Simon Khaya Moyo, Obert Mpofu, Patrick Chinamasa, Chris Mushohwe, Munyaradzi Mangwana and Simbarashe Mumbengengwi, among others.
The others include youth league deputy secretary Lewis Matutu, national political commissar Engelbert Rugeje and war veterans spokesman Douglas Mahiya. The women’s league also seconded two officials to be stationed there.
According to the party’s central committee report for 2018, Zanu PF’s annual salary bill jumped by US$3 431 000 from US$2 169 000 to US$5 600 000 since the arrival of the bigwigs in September, representing a 61,2% increase.
“The salary bill for 2018 increased to US$5 573 329 from US$2 168 309. This is a result of increases in the emolument of staff and remuneration to full time secretaries of departments and deputy secretaries. The monthly salary bill is now US$735 831 as from September 2018,” the report, which was presented at last week’s annual conference in Esigodini, reads.
Zanu PF got US$5 122 633 from the government grant, awarded to political parties annually based on their performances in the most recent elections. The grant was the second biggest contributor to the party’s income after donations, which raked in US$US$23,5 million in 2018. Zanu PF is even asking for more money from the state coffers to fund its programmes from 2019 onward.
“The department (of finance) wrote to the minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs as the minister responsible for the administration of the Political Parties Finances Act asking him to make a case to treasury for an increase of the grant in the 2019 national budget,” the central committee report reads.
Only US$420 000 came from membership fees and subscriptions, while nothing came from its investments as the companies failed to declare any dividends for the year.
Some of the money was used to finance an extravagant jamboree staged at Esigodini in the outlying Mzingwane district in Matabeleland South province last week, where senior officials treated themselves to a four-day feast.
At the conference, several ministers were asked to present reports about their ministries’ performances, true to Zanu PF’s dictate that the party is superior to government and reports thereto.