The secret recruitment of soldiers comes a few days after reports alleged that Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa had threatened to unleash generals on Biti for refusing to release $2.5 million for the army’s operations.
The Public Service Commission had also recruited another 5 400 workers without authority from Treasury.
“Between January and May 2012, there has been an unlawful increase of about 10 000 employees in the Public Service Commission,” Biti said in a response to a question by Epworth MP Eliah Jembere (MDC-T).
“The two chief culprits are the Ministry of Defence, which employed 4 600 personnel since January 2012 and the Ministry of Home Affairs, which has recruited 1 200 personnel without Treasury approval.”
Cabinet was scheduled to hold a special meeting on Thursday to discuss the performance of the economy, which had been weighed down by the illegal recruitments.
“This has created dislocations from a budget point of view and a wage bill increase of $190 million at a time when we are receiving only $230 million per month and when over 70 percent of our income is going towards one budget head, wages,” he added.
“The army budget is $15 million per month and in January up to April we were paying $15 million per month because of the 4 600 people the army had now taken.”
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on Wednesday criticised Mnangagwa’s alleged threats against Biti.
“The statement by the Defence minister is in bad taste as it comes barely two weeks after the murder of Cephas Magura, MDC the MDC Mudzi North chairman,” read part of the statement.
“The country has already started recording an increase in cases of politically-motivated violence and we must rely on the likes of Mnangagwa, as a senior government official to denounce unruly behaviour. The Defence minister must know that there are other means of solving challenges other than by threats and intimidation.”
“For Mnangagwa to demand $2.5 million for the employment of 5 000 more soldiers at a time the majority of those who are already in service are getting less than the poverty datum line is irresponsible,” MDC-T said.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s fears the new army recruits would be used as a militia to oil Zanu PF’s election campaign.