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Zimbabwe Teachers Attack Minister for 'Bonus Not Priority' Remarks

FILE - U.S. dollar bills and Argentine pesos are displayed for the photographer on a table at a currency exchange business in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jan. 23, 2014.

Teachers have attacked Labour Minister Prisca Mupfumira for saying bonuses are not a top priority in Zimbabwe.

They told VOA Studio 7 such remarks are not necessary at a time the government is failing to pay workers their 2015 bonuses.

The government promised last year to stagger the payment of bonuses after Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa withdrew a statement that the state was not in a position to pay bonuses due to financial constraints.

President Robert Mugabe rebuked the minister for making these remarks saying he did not consult the executive and other arms of the government before making the public statement.

Minister Mupfumira was quoted by the independent Daily News as saying bonuses were not a priority because some Zimbabweans are currently facing hunger due to drought.

She is reported to have said, "It is a matter of priorities ... people are starving and government has no money, so the priority at the moment is to feed the people."

The minister was not available for comment on Thursday as her phone went unanswered.

But Takavafira Zhou, president of the Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe, said the minister’s remarks were disturbing.