Mugabe absence shows irresponsibility – PDP
By Jacob Mafume
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) notes with serious concern the continued absence of President Robert Mugabe from the country and duty at this very precarious time when the country is facing severe economic, social and political challenges.
While Mugabe and his family and most of his Cabinet are enjoying expensive holidays in the Far East, the hardworking civil servants, are yet to receive their 2016 bonuses.
The tragedy over non-payment of the traditional annual bonus has been worsened by the fact that the government has not made any commitment and obligations on when it will pay the money. The civil servants are coming from one of their worst festive season when the government only paid them their December 2016 salaries after the holidays.
It is regrettable that as civil servants and the majority of Zimbabweans enter a New Year, they continue to unnecessarily struggle under a collapsing economy that has been brought about by years of Zanu PF’s misrule of the economy and the rampant corruption among senior Zanu PF and government officials.
While Mugabe is enjoying his obscene $6 million holiday; civil servants like the majority of other Zimbabweans are failing to pay school fees for their children, rentals, health care, buy food and meet other daily necessities.
In the first six months of 2016, Mugabe used over $80 million for foreign travel. During the same period, the government splurged over $50 million on luxury vehicles.
While the government fails to pay bonuses, it is shocking that Mugabe’s wife, Grace, is unashamedly embroiled in a brawl with a foreign businessman with a suspicious record over a diamond ring worth more than $1, 4 million.
We are left wondering how a First Lady can be involved in high valued deals with criminals who are on the Interpol’s list of wanted people and the source of the money.
It is clear that Mugabe’s absence as the country faces such a grim year, shows that he is an irresponsible leader and that he has total disregard of the civil servants and the people of Zimbabwe.
The cloud surrounding government’s failure to pay the 2016 bonuses has also created anxiety among the civil servants with disgruntled teachers mulling to go on strike this month, a situation which will serious affect learners.
However, at a time of such economic turbulence and enormous challenges, it is shocking that Mugabe’s response to this calamity has been casual and routine and he chooses to continue with his lavish vacation as if all is well in the country.
The failure by the government to pay civil servants their 2016 bonuses is an act of incompetence and heartlessness on the part of Mugabe and his Cabinet.
Zanu PF should note that workers are the bedrock of the socio-economic revival of the already faltered Zimbabwe. Thus their morale and well-being are very crucial to the providence of efficient and effective services that Zimbabwe requires and all Zimbabweans deserve.
The government has over the years destroyed that spirit of hard work amongst the working class. It is therefore a crime that the government is failing to pay the already suffering and lowly paid workers their 2016 13th cheque.
As the PDP, we reiterate that the National Transitional Authority (NTA) is the only best bet to guarantee that Zimbabweans break from their current unprecedented levels of suffering.
The NTA will unlock an inclusive transition that will merge competing issues of peace and stability against democracy and change.
It will also be an opportunity for Zimbabwe to resolve issues of political, economic and social challenges where stability and peace are reconciled with the imperators of social reconstruction, economic recovery and development.
Jacob Mafume, PDP National Spokesperson