GOVERNMENT spokesperson Professor Jonathan has said the reinstatement of civil servants’ bonuses announced by President Mugabe during the 35th independence celebrations over the weekend is final and there should be no further debate on the matter. Prof Moyo said yesterday that President Mugabe’s words on Government policy were final.
Moyo was at the press conference alongside Treasury boss Patrick Chinamasa, when he announced the suspension of civil servants’ bonuses which has become a toxic issue in light of President Mugabe’s public tongue-lashing of Chinamasa. Mugabe effectively reversed the announcement by Chinamasa.
Analysts wondered if the Professor is in a spot of bother given his association with that statement and the fact that the state media which he controls went on to give the announcement such great prominence. Politically Mugabe was once warned of the weevils and once referred to Moyo as the Devil Incarnate. Later Moyo recovered and has been enjoying political sunshine along with his gang. He has been silent.
His remarks come in the wake of attempts by some sections of the private media to ridicule the Government by making wild allegations that the “centre no longer holds”.
This was after President Mugabe reversed an earlier announcement by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa that Government had suspended civil servants’ bonuses for the next two years.
Minister Chinamasa has since acknowledged that the announcement was due to procedural mistakes.
In light of this, Prof Moyo said “the only people who don’t make mistakes are those who do nothing or who have nothing to do”.
“It is common cause that as Cabinet Ministers we are agents of our principal, the President, who is not only Head of the Government in which we serve, but also Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces,” he said.
“It should, therefore, go without saying that his word on Government policy is final. In the circumstances, the hullabaloo in some quarters about the President’s reinstatement of the bonuses for civil servants is unwarranted.
“Cabinet ministers are not angels. It’s a fact of life that honest mistakes will be made in the conduct of our work because mistakes are human. The only people who don’t make mistakes are those who do nothing or who have nothing to do.”
Prof Moyo said it was the President’s constitutional right as the head of Cabinet to correct mistakes by his lieutenants.
“For this reason, nobody should be surprised when or if the President as our boss corrects our mistakes because that’s his constitutional responsibility since the buck stops with him,” he said.
“How or why the mistake came about in this case is irrelevant not least because Cabinet issues are confidential in terms of the law. The bottom line is that bonuses for civil servants have been reinstated as directed by the President and they will be paid accordingly.
“There’s nothing to debate about that. Full stop. End of the story.”
Minister Chinamasa last week said the suspension of bonuses was in line with measures aimed at creating fiscal space to fund the country’s economic blueprint, the Zim-Asset, but yesterday he admitted that mistakes were made regarding that announcement.
Addressing thousands of people who gathered for the main 35th independence anniversary celebrations at the National Sports Stadium on Saturday, President Mugabe said Government would pay its employees the 13th cheque come year-end.
“I want to thank all our public servants for the support they gave to the Government, support which has seen us go through the year in peace and harmony, go through the year in achieving some of our programmes,” he said.
“We have maintained peace, indeed. We have done much as what was afforded by our financial capacity. I want to say, through the Public (Service) Commission, thank you, thank you civil servants.
“At the same time, I want to make it clear that the reports in the newspapers, that bonuses were being withdrawn is not Government policy. The Cabinet did not approve all that and the Presidency was never, never consulted on the matter. We were never consulted; the three of us, and that is myself and the Vice Presidents. And we say that is disgusting to us and it will never be implemented at all. So, let the civil servants not be down-hearted; that will not happen. The rules are that when Government bestows a benefit on civil servants, that benefit cannot be withdrawn because it has become a right.
“That is there in the rules, and our rules handling the governing of public servants. When they are given a benefit, we cannot reverse it at all. It has become their right and that is what we stand by. So, your bonuses will come to you.”