No place for incompetence: President
Fungi Kwaramba-Political Editor
INEPTITUDE and poor performance in local authorities and State-owned enterprises are unacceptable and have no place in the Second Republic which will soon be implementing an Accelerator Model to quicken and expedite people’s programmes and projects, President Mnangagwa has said.
In his remarks at the 2022 Performance Evaluation Results and the signing ceremony of the 2023 Performance Contracts for Cabinet ministers, permanent secretaries, chairpersons and chief executive officers of public entities, local authorities and state universities at State House in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa said his Government is determined to deliver the best possible results for the benefit of the people.
The President introduced performance-based contracts as a way of fostering a high-performance culture among office bearers to enhance accountability and good governance.
This follows the New Dispensation’s commitment to making public, the performance of Government officials as a way of promoting efficiency and transparency.
It is in that regard that the Second Republic has come up with a performance evaluation system that annually determines if senior officials are fit for purpose.
Zimbabwe is currently pursuing Vision 2030, to become an upper middle-class economy. Driven by President Mnangagwa’s vision, most ministries have come to the party, but local authorities and some parastatals have been found wanting, according to the latest performance evaluation results.
President Mnangagwa and Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga are helped by Ms Betty Dimbi, the director for Presidential communication services, to collect Third Eye and Brick by Brick magazines which publish some of the developments being done by the Second Republic. The magazines were distributed to guests at the 2022 senior Government officials performance evaluation results and the signing ceremony of the 2023 performance contracts at State House in Harare yesterday. — Picture: Believe Nyakudjara.
“The people of Zimbabwe bestow their trust on me, as President and the ruling party, Zanu PF, with a mandate to govern our motherland, Zimbabwe. We are a Government of the people, by the people and for the people.
“The indicators of good governance are the provision of quality and timely services to the people, high performance, promotion of economic growth as well as the realisation of sustainable development. These can only be realised when Public Sector Officials have a high-performance culture and display commitment to wholeheartedly serve the people of our motherland Zimbabwe.
“The performance of local authorities as outlined in the assessment report remains worrisome and a huge draw-back in our march towards Vision 2030,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said whereas Government has disbursed billions of dollars through devolution funds that have transformed communities through the construction of clinics, schools, bridges and other enablers, local authorities have dismally failed to deliver on their mandate.
“While devolution funds have gone a long way to accelerate infrastructure development, the neglect and failure by the majority of local authorities to focus on their core mandate of service delivery is not acceptable. Equally, the performance of State-owned enterprises is disappointing, more so given the centrality of these organisations in aiding development and delivering public goods and services.”
Not surprisingly, all local authorities failed to exceed expectations during the period under review, with the corruption-riddled city of Harare being the notable example of that incompetence.
The President said although the country is groaning under baneful illegal economic sanctions that were imposed as punishment for the land reform programme, Government departments must circumvent challenges through innovation.
“As a Government, we ‘eat what we kill’, hence the generation and subsequent disbursement of resources are based on revenue collection. Officials are, therefore, directed to innovate around challenges. You must achieve high impact results despite limited resources and the illegal and inhibitive sanctions which continue to be an albatross to our national growth and prosperity. The onus remains on us, Zimbabweans, to realise development that leaves no one and no place behind, to uplift more people out of poverty and into prosperity,” he said.
Through the “what’s gets measured gets done” concept, the performance of the public sector has greatly improved in various areas notably in the revamped National Registry Office, the introduction of E-passports as well as re-invigoration and modernisation of the agriculture sector, which led to the nation achieving national wheat self-sufficiency.
“The deregulation of the fuel sector, construction of the Harare-Beitbridge road using local expertise as well as the effective containment of the Covid-19 pandemic, largely through the use of our own resources, remain some of the notable examples of policy entrepreneurship and innovation by the 2nd Republic. Economic stability brought through various fiscal and monetary policy reforms is also a major area of achievement,” President Mnangagwa said.
President Mnangagwa addresses guests during the 2023 Performance Based Contracts signing ceremony at State House in Harare yesterday.
The President singled out the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology, which has made numerous inventions that have positively impacted communities, for praise.
“The successes scored in the Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology sector deserve special mention and must be scaled up. Our young people must be equipped with the competences and skills to produce the majority of the items, technologies and equipment we use, the food we eat as well as the shoes and clothes we wear.
“I am pleased that vice chancellors of State universities are signing their performance contracts and are hearing this directive for themselves. Ministries, departments, agencies and all public entities must henceforth innovate, think outside the box and deploy science and technology to achieve a higher quality of service for our people,” President Mnangagwa said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade was also praised by the President for leading the engagement and re-engagement drive that has attracted investors even from former hostile nations and has resulted in Zimbabwe being invited to international gatherings such as last year’s United States-Africa Summit.
“These have positively impacted on our country’s foreign direct investment, growth in total exports and improved balance of payment. Economic diplomacy implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade must have internal domestic ripple effects that transform the standard of living for Zimbabweans.”
On the communication front, President Mnangagwa said requisite communication models must be deployed to amplify the tangible successes scored by the Second Republic.
“In our journey to leapfrog the socio-economic development of our country, the importance of effective, robust and responsive communication cannot be over-emphasised. The success milestones of the Second Republic are many and evident for all to see. However, these are not reaching a broader cross-section of the citizenry due to gross short-comings in the communication and information dissemination strategy. The requisite communication models, together with the personnel with contemporary skills, must be deployed to address short-comings in this sector, as a matter of urgency.
“Additionally, the tendency to overlook the critical pronouncements I make as President, is most unfortunate. It is my expectation that as top public officials, you should follow up my observations and implement directives. I hope to see greater improvements in this regard,” he said.
The integrated Results Based Management Compliant Strategic Plans, annual plans and performance contracts are making the process of measurement of performance and results more systematic and practical and most ministries achieved the set annual performance targets with clear performance progression shown throughout the year.
During the period under review, 19 out of 21 Cabinet ministers were evaluated, two ministers excelled beyond expectation, 15 met their targets while two performed below target but under the reasonable threshold.
The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka, was adjudged the best minister, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Dr Frederick Shava, coming second.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr John Basera, was the overall best permanent secretary, while Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) Vice Chancellor Engineer Quinton Kanhukamwe came up tops among CEOs.
In an interview, Dr Basera said the secret of the ministry is Vision 2030, which has enabled the ministry to realise its target of creating a US$8.2 billion economy in 2025, three years earlier.
“Every morning when we wake up we ask where are we in terms of Vision 2030, especially in agriculture. Our agriculture is growing in leaps and bounds, what we had envisaged achieving in 5 years we achieved that in five years. At the core there is a team that is doing quite well and we believe as a ministry we are there to facilitate growth. Our agriculture is growing at a pace of around 36 percent per year. With regards to food security it is going up, we have the mechanisation, irrigation, the numbers are all going up,” he said.
HIT Vice Chancellor Engineer Kanhukamwe said HIT has been inspired by President Mnangagwa’s clear vision.
“Our mandate is very clear; it is to develop, incubate, transfer and commercialise. Anchored by Education 5.0 spearheaded by the President, we found ourselves given energy and propelled to go deeper into the development of various innovations across sectors of our economy,” he said.
Permanent secretaries were the first to sign performance contracts in 2021 before the measure was extended to ministers and across to heads of local authorities, State-owned enterprises and State universities.
When the performance contracts were announced, the nation endorsed the move as an endeavour by Government to foster a high-performance culture across the civil service through yearly evaluations.