Helen Kadirire 12 December 2017
HARARE – Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa’s 2018 budget dramatically
reshapes Constitutional commissions, requiring millions in cuts to
mandatory programs to set them on a path for a major overhaul.
The $5,1 billion budget rolls back financial allocations, paring back
fiscal overheads programs and getting rid of some of the commissions’ top
The five “independent constitutional commissions” created under Chater 12
of the new charter are Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Zimbabwe Human
Rights Commission, Zimbabwe Gender Commission, Zimbabwe Media Commission
and National Peace and Reconciliation Commission.
Chinamasa said while the five independent Constitutional commissions were
provided for in the Constitution for intentions of good governance, they
impose heavy fiscal over-heads which the country cannot bear.
“Currently, the majority of Commissions are set up on an executive basis,
and hence, imposing an annual wage bill of around $11,6 million, inclusive
of $3,8 million for Commissioners,” Chinamasa said.
“In this regard, government will, with effect from 2018, be reviewing this
provision to allow for only the chairperson to be engaged on a permanent
basis, leaving the rest of the commissioners being part-time, and
remunerated with modest allowances, that way devolving responsibility for
day-to-day operations to secretariat staff.
“This should be complemented by rationalisation and restructuring of
organisational structures, with a view of containing costs.”
He said in line with the need to reduce costs, government will also be
reviewing its position on providing all commissioners with service
Chinamasa said commissioners used to get one car each but that will be
reduced to one vehicle only for those who are full time and as deemed
“Currently, commissions are also required to provide condition of service
vehicles, to commissioners, which the National Budget has been struggling
to finance. Condition of service vehicle requests for commissioners alone
would require an amount of close to $10 million, which the 2018 Budget has
no capacity to provide for,” he said.
Government has often been accused of not being serious when it comes to
independent Commissions as they are all grossly underfunded.