via Lay off Salarygate, Mujuru orders media 10 February 2014 NewZimbabwe
IN SHOCK remarks, Vice President Joice Mujuru has claimed that public exposure of the pay rot at nearly dysfunctional State enterprises was the work of subversive elements trying to destroy Zanu PF and its government from within.
According to the State-run and Zanu PF-leaning Herald newspaper, Mujuru made the stunning intervention while addressing the party’s Mashonaland West provincial women’s conference in Chinhoyi on Saturday.
President Robert Mugabe’s deputy reportedly claimed that media exposure of the scandal was part of a campaign by enemies to bring the country down.
She said: “Nditeererei madzimai … Iyi nyaya yatiri kutaura iyi yehuori hwemaparastatals muchenjere kuti ndeimwe nzira yaunzwa nevanhu vari kuda kupwanya nyika ino iyi (Please listen to me ladies, regarding reports about corruption in parastatals – be careful – it’s another tactic being used by those keen to destroy the country).”
The campaign against graft in parastatals has been fronted by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo but Cabinet colleagues have largely remained quite despite Moyo insisting that the scandal was “allegedly rampant among the 78 parastatals and State enterprises and the 92 local authorities in the country”.
Exposed so far have been executives at the insolvent Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and PSMAS, the State-run health insurer for civil servants, who pocketed tens of thousands of dollars in salaries per month while ordinary workers went without pay (in the case of the ZBC).
Doubts however emerged over the possible lack of Cabinet consensus over the scandal after the suspiciously wealthy Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo re-instated Harare Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi who had been suspended over reports he and top city executives earned about $37,000 while ordinary workers also went without pay.
On Sunday, Moyo told state media that President Robert Mugabe was dismayed by the alleged looting. But the veteran leader has not commented on the issue despite returning to work this month from his annual holiday.
Mugabe travelled to Malawi for a regional conference at the weekend, taking with him top aide, George Charamba, who last week offered to resign after conceding culpability for problems at PSMAS where he is a board member and earned a reported $100,000 in sitting allowances last year.Meanwhile, Mujuru – developing her conspiracy claim – said the media expose had deliberately targeted parastatals in a bid to destabilise them because they were seen to be critical to the country’s economy and Zanu PF’s agenda in government.
More tellingly, Mujuru claimed subversive elements behind the conspiracy joined Zanu PF to destroy it from within, having failed to do so from outside the party.
“Regai kuzoti vanhu vacho havasi veZanu-PF, aiwa, zvinonzi kana usingagone kumukurira unomujoina, worova uchibva mukati make, saka mochenjera (Do not say these people are not Zanu PF … it is said that if you cannot defeat them join them and attack from within; so be careful).”
The identity of her alleged internal saboteurs remains unclear, but it can be recalled that Moyo was forced out of Zanu PF and government in 2005 after being linked to an alleged attempt to block Mujuru’s ascendency to the vice presidency which was, then, thought to make her unassailable in the succession stakes.
After his exit from the party and government, Moyo later wrote that the Zanu PF constitution had been “unprocedurally and unconstitutionally amended … to guarantee the imposition and ascendancy of Joice Mujuru to the vice-presidency”.
He was also quoted as saying he hoped “the general (Mujuru’s late husband) was happy” over his exit from government and the party.
Last week Moyo commended the media for exposing the pay scandal saying: “It is indeed refreshing that the media is speaking with one voice … against the scourge of corruption highlighted by some obscenely corrupt salaries paid by some parastatals and local authorities.”
But Mujuru, now seen as leading the race to replace the 90 year-old Mugabe, appeared to think otherwise on Saturday, and said the scandal was not a matter for the media.
“Unozoona mamhanyisirwo adzinoitwa mumapaper wozvibvunza futi kuti haa saka vanotaura kuti inyaya dzekuda kupwanya hurumende nekupwanya musangano weZanu-PF zvechokwadi vari pamwe chete nevanhu vari kuita izvi.”
Ministers were said to have passed off the pay deals with a wink after being bribed with luxury vehicles, houses and pretty much whatever else they asked of management at the State enterprises.