WASHINGTON DC —
A senior Zanu PF member says the appointment of board members of parastatals and state entities should not be the sole responsibility of ministers as this has shown that it’s not workable following revelations that executives were awarded hefty salaries while workers were wallowing in poverty.
Party parliamentary chief whip, Joram Gumbo, told Studio 7 on Thursday now that the president’s office is investigating the salary pecks, there will be swift action by the government in addressing the anormally.
Gumbo said parastatals were initially run through ministries “and we thought the bureaucracy was causing delays in implementing decisions and therefore we decided that they should be run by professionals under boards and this is what has caused these problems. The government has stepped in to say let us stop the rot. We have to expose those that are corrupt and let us deal with them.”
One of the chief executive officers, Curthbert Dube of the Premier Service Medical Aid Society, was getting more than $230,000 a month while Harare City Council executives have been earning high salaries compared to workers.
At least eight council executive members earn about $37,000, excluding allowances.
Meanwhile, the Harare City Council on Thursday suspended Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi to pave way for investigations into his conduct and the local authority’s finances following revelations this week that top city managers were being paid hefty salaries and perks at the expense of service delivery.
Announcing the three month suspension, city mayor Bernard Manyenyeni, who said he personally delivered the suspension letter, said Mahachi had failed or refused to furnish him and the full council with the salary and benefits schedule for council executives despite repeated requests.
He said residents and ratepayers want to know how their money is being spent, adding there is need for council to improve disclosures on how council finances are spent.
Manyenyeni, who came into office on an MDC-T ticket, said Mahachi would retain his salary and benefits while on suspension, adding he had advised the Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo of the decision taken by council.
Manyenyeni was due to meet Chombo’s deputy Joel Matiza and appoint an acting town clerk.
A salary schedule leaked to the press shows council executives were earning more than $35,000 per month each while the lowest paid worker got just $200.
Manyenyeni said councilors are currently concentrating on dealing with issues affecting residents, including poor refuse collection, potholes, lack of clean water and poor sanitation and related issues
Harare Residents Trust director Precious Shumba welcomed Mahachi’s suspension saying central government must support council efforts to restore normalcy in the city.
Harare Residents Alliance secretary general Keith Charumbira told Studio 7 Mahachi should have been suspended without pay or benefits.
A Belvedere resident, who only identified herself as Sally, said investigations into council finances are welcome, adding if found guilty of abusing council funds, the town clerk should be prosecuted.
Mahachi could not be reached for comment like Minister who was said to out of the country.
At the same time, MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora welcomed the council’s decision to suspend Mahachi, adding this should have been done a long time ago.
Mahachi’s suspension comes after Media, Information and Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Moyo told journalists that those found guilty of abusing funds or assets at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation would be dealt with and that measures will be taken to recover any proven losses to the national broadcaster.
Moyo slammed top ZBC management for awarding themselves outrageous salaries and hefty allowances while workers suffered and went without pay for months.
ZBC chief executive Happison Muchechetere and some senior staff have been suspended after investigations revealed he was taking home $40,000 per month while not paying workers.
The situation was the same at the Public Service Medical Aid Society where a dozen senior managers were gobbling up to a million dollars in salaries and perks every month at the expense of poor ordinary people who could not access health services from time to time as PSMAS was failing to pay service providers on time.
Chief executive officer Cuthbert Dube, who was earning $230,000 per month, has been forced to retire while the board chairman has been fired.
The revelations have angered many struggling Zimbabweans with the government now belatedly moving to cap salaries of senior executives within parastatals and other state entities.