Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
President Mugabe has said anyone found involved in the running “salarygate” saga through criminal abuse of office and corruption will be jailed.
He said heads of Government departments and executives in State-linked enterprises should be people of high moral character henceforth.
The President also blamed some Government ministers of failing to properly supervise entities falling under their briefs, resulting in executives at State-linked firms earning mega-salaries.
The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces said this in an interview to mark his 90th birthday that was aired on ZBCTV last night.
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“What does VaCuthbert Dube tell us, (he says) ko chitadzo chandakaita ndechipi?” said President Mugabe. “Punishment of those who are proved to have been corrupt, to have been stealing — we lock them up. Vambononzwawo jeri kuti rinorwadza sei.”
Retired PSMAS chief executive officer Dr Dube was reportedly taking home nearly US$6 million a year in salaries and allowances, while the medical aid society was reeling under a huge debt.
President Mugabe said line ministers did little to help the situation because they were yes-men and out of touch with realities on the ground.
“Line ministry or the minister was a yes minister – standoffish,” he said. “Minister haiwa tinokuitirai basa, do not mind. The permanent secretary stands in between.
“The minister and the rest of the department yeGovernment, the minister and the boards you got to have the permanent secretary, then the chairman of the board who comes to report hee, yaa zvinhu zviri kufamba zvakanaka and so on and you rely on that.
“The board itself does not carry out examinations, inspection of what is being done by the parastatal if it is a parastatal and the minister is far removed when it comes to parastatals and that is where most of the corruption occurred. And you can see that these are institutions which were far removed from direct control by the Government – creations of the British we inherited.”
President Mugabe said parastatal bosses exploited poor supervision to loot.
“If there are losses they rely on Government to come with subventions and reports, yes, there will be reports from parastatals, the system we had inherited from Britain – annual reports, but loss after loss. Why? If there is profit – minimal.
“What is happening? Because there was no close supervision, morons took advantage of the system and wanted to benefit themselves and enrich themselves.”
Corruption, President Mugabe said, was rampant and had even permeated social institutions such as churches.
“So, there it is. It is corruption everywhere even kumachurch kwese,” he said. “Ndange ndichiverenga chimwe chipepa change chichiti kuUnited States, is it kuuniversity, kwanzi people can attend, is it the church, in nudity, being nude, naked?
“Just imagine what it means. Zvinorevei izvozvo? Hamuna mabhurukwa zvese. Munonamata Mwari upi, haiwaiwa? And if you just take pictures moenda nawo you are not hiding anything, you are showing everything.”
President Mugabe, however, expressed confidence in his new Cabinet.
He said he wanted the Zanu-PF Government to deliver and ensure that civil servants got decent salaries.
In this regard, the President said he told Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa to pull up his socks when he appeared to be dragging his feet on awarding civil servants salaries in line with the poverty datum line.
“I have said our Government must not repeat the ills of the Government of National Unity of yesterday, therefore, it must not even have the shadow of it,” he said.
“It must work as a Government that is in control of full resources – that takes into account the fact of the hardships the people have gone through all along, the loss they suffered through hyperinflation and the difficulties imposed not just by sanctions, but even by the traumatic conditions by the drought and so on and so we must have normal salaries.
“Yes, we cannot have them from day one, but we must have them on paper for a start and work towards their being fulfilled in practice and that is what Chinamasa is doing.
“First, he was saying we could not do it and I said well, if you cannot do it then tell me we can get someone who can do it. That is why I announced that salaries have got to be slightly above poverty datum line…
“You know, let us think about their situations also. A person gets US$200, US$250, USS$300 or so, taxes, a portion goes and ndiyo yokunge yaidyiwawo nanaCuthbert Dube ikokowo kuPSMAS and he has got marates and rents to pay, transport to pay even though maybe a little given by way of those charges and mafees kuchikoro, medical fees when people get sick, food.
“Ndaimbobvunza (Tendai) Biti kuti nhaiwe Biti do you think we can really make a living nemasalaries aya zvichinzi aah ndinomboenda kumasupermarkets neUS$100 ndinodzoka nechange? NdiBiti uyu. Hanzi ndinenge ndazadza kutenga zvemumba.
“Aenda neUS$100 and (Elton) Mangoma was there to say yes yes, but that is nonsensical. Even the President wants to be paid well now so let us pay our people the salaries they deserve.
“I am glad they have gone some three-quarters way in meeting the poverty datum line requirement and I hope by June they will have come there, but that is alright and our workers are understanding.”
Although he pointed out that it was not necessary to have demonstrations and strikes, President Mugabe said it would be illogical and irresponsible for Government to use the police to stop civil servants from going into the streets demanding salary increments.
“We do not also want unnecessary demonstrations and strikes,” he said. “When they are well based with grievances that genuine, well, do we have to say totuma mapurisa to quell them when they have genuine grievances? You cannot do that.
“Ya, this might affect adversely our capacity to undertake maobjectives eZim-Asset, but we will be trying to derive capacity from our mining sector and other areas which can yield some monetary capacity for us.”