By Thulani Munda
Harare, September 17, 2013 – President Robert Mugabe said Tuesday that heads of parastatals and local authorities will sign management contracts in the first step towards efficiency in these entities that have become a haven for inefficiencies and corruption.
Officially opening the first session of the eighth Parliament in Harare, Mugabe said the business as usual approach was now a thing of the past.
“Heads of parastatals and local authorities will henceforth sign performance contracts and adopt results based management approach to engender accountability,” Mugabe said amid thunderous applause from his Zanu PF party legislators.
Parastatals have been underperforming but at the same time drawing money from the fiscus. They have also failed to produce audited financial accounts. Despite the absence of financial accounts, heads and senior management continue drawing fat salaries.
State-run enterprises have also become the “jobs for the boys” club where line ministers direct operations.
On the power supply situation, Mugabe said supply had significantly improved throughout the year and the country will carry out expansions at Kariba and Hwange Power stations to add 900MW into the grid.
He said the indigenisation crusade will be pursued with renewed vigour for Zimbabweans to “be stakeholders and not bystanders in the economy”.
Mugabe said the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund (NIEEF) will be capitalised to give it more impetus.
He said the legislation compelling locals to have at least 51 percent shareholding in all enterprises with a net asset value of US$500 000 or more will be reviewed and strengthened.
Legislators from Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party boycotted attending the opening of Parliament to protest Mugabe’s victory in the July elections which the party has labeled a “monumental fraud”. Only a few legislators from the Welshman Ncube-led MDC party attended the opening ceremony.
Outside the parliament building in Africa Unity Square, some hired ZANU (PF) supporters who were clad in their party regalia, broke into songs which were derogatory to the Morgan Tsvangirai led MDC-T party.
Some of the songs, “Tafunga kudilita machinja ese muparamende (We want to eliminate all the MDC legislators who are in Parliament). Tsvangirai unoitora sei nyika masoja akagara nemagaro mumapurazi. (How do you think you can rule this country when soldiers are the owners of the farms which you want to give back to whites. Simukai mutonge VaMugabe,(stand up, rise and rule Mugabe) and ukachinja waruza (If you join the MDC you will become a lesser).
White garmented members of the Johanne Masowe WeChishanu apostolic sect also lend support to Mugabe through singing a song with the lyrics “Gabriel Mutungamiri Gabriel.”
Notable western government representatives who attended the opening of Parliament include US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton and British envoy Deborah Bronnet.