via Under fire Charamba’s Mugabe quit hint 27/01/2014 NewZimbabwe
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson has inadvertently revealed that the veteran leader may be planning to retire despite his party insisting he will be its candidate for the 2018 elections.
But the official line remains that he is in fine fettle and will see out his current five year term and then seek another mandate in 2018.
However, his spokesman, George Charamba, let slip the veteran leader may be contemplating retirement in a curious interview with the State-run Herald newspaper on Monday.
“My real wish is not to be a day longer in Government after the President’s retirement because whoever comes must be able to select their own team,” Charamba said.
Besides being Mugabe’s spokesman, Charamba is also the permanent secretary for the Information Ministry which is responsible for the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC).
Revelations of the mess at ZBC where the CEO was taking home $40,000 while ordinary workers went unpaid for six months appeared to have left Charamba under pressure.
The ZBC board was promptly sacked after Jonathan Moyo took over as Information Minister while the CEO was sent home on indefinite leave.
Questions however emerged on why Charamba and Moyo’s predecessor, Webster Shamu, did not take action to address the malaise at the national broadcaster.
And in what was a clear attempt to clear his name, a report was then leaked to the State media claiming Charamba wrote to Shamu expressing concern over the situation at ZBC and urging action.
But no sooner had that little trouble passed than revelations also emerged that the chief executive officer at the government-run and heavily indebted Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) was earning whopping $230,000 per month.
Apart from the debt pile, PSMAS has been failing to pay service providers forcing members, most of them civil servants, to pay cash upfront for healthcare.
Charamba, it so happens, is a member of the PSMAS board which begs the question whether he was aware of Dube’s outrageous salary and what he did about it.
Dube and the PSMAS board chairperson were sent packing on Monday.
He told the Herald: “When we had the GNU and Minister (Webster) Shamu had been appointed new Minster of Information, I actually authored a memo to the President proposing that in the context of the GNU and its strange politics, would it not have been wiser for us to go back to the old system where the President would have his own Press Unit distinct from the Ministry of Information, and my reasons were very political.
“The President said no, you have to keep both and you are old enough to manage both portfolios – which I did – but the MDC leadership was not happy with that kind of arrangement,” said Charamba who is also believed to be pro-Zanu PF Herald columnist Nathaniel Manheru.
“For me it was a very versatile arrangement because I could shoot as Secretary of Information on matters to do with the structures of Government but still escape the limitations of being Secretary of Information by taking another identity as spokesperson of the President,” he said.
“So it gives me some very malleable room. I can assure you that the MDC admits that the two roles were used to devastating effect.”