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Fears of a civil service purge as ex-PM’s staffers are sacked

By Nomalanga Moyo

Scores of civil servants who were employed in ex-Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s office have been fired by the government, amid fears of a ZANU PF-driven purge. 

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Fears of a civil service purge as ex-PM’s staffers are sacked

A source close to this development confirmed the dismissals to SW Radio Africa and said those affected received the letters from the Civil Service Commission last week, as reported in the media.

In a letter seen by the NewsDay newspaper and signed by senior CSC official Pretty Sunguro, the workers in the ex-Premier’s office were being “retired from the civil service in line with the government policy”.

Sunguro said Section 18 of the Public Service Regulations (2000) provides for the commission to retire a member owing to the reduction in or adjustment of the organisation of a ministry or other division of the public service.

Some of those affected by this ‘retirement’ have questioned why the CSC did not redeploy the civil servants, and accused the body of discrimination.

Speaking to SW Radio Africa Monday, MDC-T legislator for Harare West Jessie Majome said the whole exercise smacked of victimisation.

“This smacks of discrimination, and this goes against the new constitution which guarantees protection against all forms of discrimination including on grounds of political party affiliation.

“These people are civil servants and, therefore officers of the state. It seems they are being victimised because they served in that part of the (unity) government that came from the MDC-T.

“Their dismissal is arbitrary, draconian and out of keeping with modern tenets of statecraft or administration such as tolerance and fairness. It is simply malicious, vindictive, shameful, and is set to fan national disunity,” Majome added.

There are fears that the civil servants employed in the ex-PM’s office are just the first victims in a planned nation-wide purge by ZANU PF.

Last Thursday, ZANU PF legislator for Hurungwe East Sarah Mahoka called on the government to fire all officials in ministries that were run by the MDCs, accusing them of being saboteurs.

“I suspect we have sell outs in our midst and there is real need to kick out these Makorokozas camouflaged in a civil service uniform.

“We must make sure that we investigate officers manning the ministries formerly run by the sell outs we had in the previous government because they have a tendency to sabotage government programmes,” Mahoka is quoted by the Daily News as having told parliament.

But MP Majome, who is also the MC-T Shadow Minister for Constitutional Affairs, said Mahoka’s utterances betrayed a serious lack of understanding of the constitution and her role as a legislator.

She said MDC-T MPs will be raising the issue with the relevant labour relations portfolio committee to investigate such purges when they happen.

“But more fundamentally, I am saddened to hear a fellow legislator speaking in a manner that is totally unconscious of the constitutional order of the day.

“At the centre of the ignorance displayed by my fellow legislator is the erosion and desecration of the rule of law where many people do not value our constitution.

“This can be seen in that, six months after the new constitution came into force, the relevant justice ministry is yet to put any effort towards re-aligning all laws with the new charter, Majome added.

During weekend celebrations to mark World Teachers Day Progressive Teachers Union president Raymond Majongwe revealed that dozens of teachers who ran for political office on MDC tickets had been fired from the civil service.

Speaking in Bulawayo on Saturday, Majongwe said: “This is not fair at all and we should not accept it; we want all teachers to be treated fairly. We have our members who took part in elections under MDC being suspended or fired by this government. Some have been transferred, but those who contested elections under ZANU PF retained their jobs.” SW Radio Africa

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