Zvamaida Murwira Harare Bureau
The government yesterday reassured civil servants that they will be paid bonuses as promised by President Robert Mugabe earlier this year. Responding to questions from legislators, leader of government business in the House, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa said government had not shifted its position regarding its commitment to pay civil servants the 13th cheque.
VP Mnangagwa was responding to a question from Highfield East MP, Erick Murai (MDC-T) who wanted to know if civil servants would get their bonuses considering that members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces had received their salaries minus bonuses.
“I’m not aware that ZDF members have been paid their salaries, neither am I aware that they did not get their bonuses. What I know is that government promised to pay bonuses and we still stand by that,” said VP Mnangagwa
There was anxiety among civil servants when news filtered that ZDF members had been paid their November salaries without bonuses.
This triggered speculation that government might have reversed its decision to pay bonuses.
VP Mnangagwa’s comments are consistent with what Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira said recently about government’s commitment to meet its salary obligations including the payment of bonuses.
Meanwhile, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi told the legislators that the objective of carnivals was not to make money.
Mashonaland East Proportionate Representative MP Ms Spiwe Muchenje (MDC-T) wanted to know how much had been raised from a carnival that was held two months ago.
“We were not looking for money. Yes, of course people made money through selling of airtime and other products, but the objective of carnivals is to foster social cohesion among Zimbabweans,” said Minister Mzembi.
He said carnivals had nothing to do with nudity or other such vices, but to encourage national happiness.
He was responding to a barrage of questions from legislators who asked why people, particularly women, were moving around semi-naked.
Legislators took exception to what they viewed as gender discrimination as only women were being paraded naked or semi-naked while men were properly dressed.
“We don’t understand carnivals in the name of nudity. Carnival is an expression of national happiness. I didn’t see during the procession an expression of nudity, whether from men or women. By fielding that question we are focusing on the periphery,” said Minister Mzembi.
Responding to another question, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made said government would continue to support cotton farmers.
He said government was assisting all farmers regardless of whether they were A1, A2 or communal farmers.
Minister Made was responding to a question from Buhera South MP Cde Joseph Chinotimba on why government was not capacitating the Grain Marketing Board so that it could contract farmers.
Cde Chinotimba said farmers could not secure loans from financial institutions because the GMB still owed them thousands of dollars, while others had lost houses after they defaulted on their loan repayments due to late or non-payment by the GMB.