Mugabe’s office blows Z$4 trillion in 6 months

By Gift Phiri
HARARE - The President's Office, which also encompasses the notorious Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), blew a staggering Z$4 trillion of the country's scarce resources in the first six months of this year.
The notorious force, which receives its funds under the specia

l services allocation falling directly under the President’s office, is now set to benefit from a colossal $7 trillion allocated to Mugabe’s office during a supplementary budget presented last week. The special services allocation is not subject to audit by the Comptroller or Auditor General. It is also exempt from any parliamentary scrutiny.
The supplementary budget for Mugabe’s office inflates his initial vote for this year to a massive $11 trillion, a figure which far surpasses last year’s initial targeted expenditure of $4,6 trillion.
The massive surge in expenditure by the CIO comes amid reports that government is acquiring spying equipment from China that will enable it to monitor phones and emails sent from both land and internet-based addresses. Legislation empowering government to undertake such activities was brought to Parliament last week. The Interception of Communication Bill will enable the notorious spy agency to establish a “communications monitoring center” which will “monitor and intercept certain communications in the course of their transmission through a telecommunication, postal or any other related service system”.
Critics say government’s fixation with snooping on private communications represents a renewed crackdown, which also includes tough policing and political intimidation, designed to outlaw criticism and entrench Mugabe’s rule in the face of the growing swell of opposition to his draconian policies. No information has been given to parliament or the country on the sort of equipment the spy agency is acquiring.
When the budgeted expenditure for Mugabe’s office for 2006 is added to the amount allocated to Defence ($25 trillion), it far exceeds the entire budget for Health and Child Welfare, which is given as $21 trillion. This is all the more strange in a country which has not been at war for 26 years, which enjoys the most cordial relations with all its neighbours, and faces no prospect of any hostilities.
The health sector by contrast is seriously under-funded and in a state of near collapse.

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