Documents obtained by Radio Vop this week reveal that President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s coalition government recently hiked subsistence and travelling allowances for ministers, deputy ministers, provincial governors, judges and permanent secretaries to $105 per night, while paying no attention to demands for a salary review for its hard pressed civil servants, who earn $200 per month.
The increase in the allowances of the ministers and senior government employees will be in addition to their monthly salaries, which are pegged above $3 000 per month.
The ministers and the senior government officials were recently notified of the review of their allowances through a cabinet circular number 15 entitled “Subsistence and travelling allowances for
ministers, provincial governors, deputy ministers and equivalent grades,” written by Misheck Sibanda, the chief secretary to the President and Cabinet.
Judicial Service Commission Secretary Justice Rita Makarau confirmed the review of judges’ allowances in a memorandum to Judge President George Chiweshe and to the Senior President of the Labour Court.
“Please find enclosed herein for the information of judges and presidents of the Labour Court the revised and subsistence rates for ministers and allied grades. Where a judge or president elects not to be booked into a hotel on full board, a maximum of US$105 per night shall be payable for each full day. The commission is available to clarify any further queries that judges and presidents may have on the above,” reads part of Justice Makarau’s memorandum.
The disclosures are sure to incense most civil servants whose demands for a salary review have been ignored by the government. Civil servants have threatened to embark on a one-day strike on Thursday after a meeting between worker representatives and Public Service Minister Lucia Matibenga on Tuesday to address their grievances failed to materialize. Already, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe has petitioned President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai to intervene in the pay dispute.