By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
President Emmerson Mnangagwa is under fire from civil servants who have threatened to resist the introduction of a 2.5% tax aimed at feeding the army because the ZANU PF leader wanted to please a disgruntled security force, Nehanda Radio has learnt.
In a statement seen by Nehanda Radio, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou castigated the government for introducing the 2.5% tax on civil servants with the aim of feeding only the army.
PTUZ has threatened to mobilise the civil servants to resist the tax.
“PTUZ will mobilise teachers across the union divide in particular and civil servants in general to resist the introduction of 2.5% tax to feed the army. For the Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube, let alone Cabinet to agree to tax civil servants 2.5% to set up shops that will sell subsidised commodities to members of the army is the worst lunacy ever seen in human history,” said the PTUZ.
“The Cabinet must be reminded that if they are so much interested in uplifting the image of the army, they must pay the army well so that individuals are able to buy from shops of their choice. Reducing soldiers to ridicule and subsidisation by civil servants, is dangerous, a security threat and compromises civil military relations,” the PTUZ added.
Meanwhile journalist Hopewell Chin’ono has challenged the Finance minister Mthuli Ncube on why government was overtaxing other civil servants for the sake of feeding the army.
“But Mthuli Ncube where do you think they will get money to save when they have NO money to buy food? Do you realise that the Garrison Shops will create another black market? Why soldiers only? What of civil all servants? You have FAILED,” Chin’ono said.
This comes against the backdrop of a report by former cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo that Zimbabwe’s military commanders are pressuring Mnangagwa to step down or risk another military coup which is simmering within the army’s middle ranks.
Moyo claimed Vice President Constantino Chiwenga was recently sent by army chiefs to convey the message ordering Mnangagwa to step down.
Its claimed it is against this background Mnangagwa has considered pampering the army by setting up Garrison Shops to enable all members of the defence forces on the Government Employees Mutual Savings Fund (GEMS Fund) to access subsidized basic commodities.
In an interview with Nehanda Radio, Mashonaland Central maths teacher Tafara Chuma said the president was captured by the army.
“This move does not shock us because we know who Mnangagwa is. He is a product of a military coup and he is there to please the military and not the majority of people,” Chuma said.
Addressing journalists at Morgan Richard House on Thursday, MDC Youth Assembly National Spokesperson Stephen Sarkozy Chuma declared that there was a state of emergency in Zimbabwe because of the economic meltdown.
“As young people, with a future to protect, we are declaring a state of emergency to salvage our country and save our people from this evil and illegitimate regime.
“We say a big no to the 2.5% taxation of the underpaid civil servants to feed only the uniformed forces,” Sarkozy said.
A United Kingdom-based academic and lawyer, Alex Magaisa, said Mnangagwa was trying to pamper a disgruntled military.
“The regime has been prompted to give special privileges to the military because it knows the conditions are dire & it fears the prospect of a mutiny from the disgruntled ranks who have discovered that they too were used in the November 2017 heist & August 1 2018 & January 2019
“The fact of the matter is that someone will have to pay for the soldiers’ subsidised goods at the garrison shops and that someone is the taxpayer. As for the “mutual fund”, that too will be looted by political elites & PEPs as they have looted all cheap government facilities,” Magaisa said.
The MDC Secretary for Labour and Social Security Gideon Shoko weighed in saying nowhere in the world have workers subsidized other workers but with Mnangagwa anything was possible with his “illegitimate” government.
“Never in the history of labour has an employer asked some of his employees to subsidize other workers but the Zimbabwe government is ironically asking the rest of the civil servants to subsidize those in the security sector.
“Government workers that are not party of the garrison grave train should resist this despicable exploitation by an employer who wants to avoid dealing with the economy by introducing piece meal solutions.
“The other civil servants are also in the same predicament as soldiers. Their salaries are grossly inadequate to cover basics such as school fees, medical bills, rentals, water charges and all other expenses like the soldier who will enjoy garrison prices.
“Why then burden other government employees with equally inadequate salaries to subsidize the soldiers?” Shoko added. Nehanda Radio