Free for all for cabinet ministers

Cabinet ministers and their deputies can go on leave and take breaks whenever they like because there are no regulations that govern such matters. A former cabinet minister told The Zimbabwean there was a tendency for ministers to break whenever President Robert Mugabe was on leave or away.

“Everything centres on Mugabe and that is where the whole problem lies. When Mugabe is on leave, cabinet does not meet and ministers take advantage of this to pursue their personal interests. The whole thing is personalised and centralised,” he said, on condition of anonymity.

“Ministers time their breaks around Mugabe’s absence, even though there might be work to do. Ministers’ conditions of service should be systematically regulated,” he added.

Even though a new cabinet was announced in September, the majority of ministers went on leave in December and are yet to return to work, leaving permanent secretaries to run the ministries.

Their absence comes as the nation grapples with an economic crisis marked by a poorly performing fiscus, rising company closures and retrenchments, an agitated civil service and depreciating service delivery.

Analysts say the one month long leave that the ministers have taken is not justified.

“Even if President Mugabe is away, there is so much that these ministers are supposed to be doing at this time of the year, but especially because we are faced with an economic crisis. The ministers do not deserve to be resting three months after assuming office,” said Innocent Makwiramiti, an economist and former Chief Executive Officer of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce.

“There is need to systematise cabinet operations to ensure that it can sit even when President Mugabe is not around. The Acting President should take that role, otherwise she is there as a mere place holder,” he said.

Sources at the Public Service Commission and the Salary Services Bureau said ministers were outside their jurisdiction and their conditions of service were managed by the Office of the President and Cabinet. Efforts to get a comment from the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda, were fruitless.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *