Mugabe Tells World Bank To Bugger Off
Finance Minister Tendai Biti (above), has identified civil service reform as a crucial area to be given special attention and Morgan Tsvangirai bemoaned last month the existence of more than 16 000 ghost workers (mostly ZANU PF Youth Militia) on government payroll. One of Mugabe's most senior people, however, has effectively ensured that the audit never takes place, after refusing to cooperate with a World Bank technical team appointed by Tsvangirai.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 18 November 2009
One of the men I exposed earlier this year as the three men who actually run Zimbabwe has overruled Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his Minister of Public Service and blocked the World Bank from conducting an audit of the country's civil service.
Mariyawanda Nzuwa, the Public Service Commissioner in Zimbabwe, has refused to hand over the list of civil servants requested by the World Bank, which has been appointed by the government to provide technical assistance on a civil service audit exercise.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Finance Minister Tendai Biti have been at the foefront of demanding the audit. Tsvangirai himself, during his "disengagement" announcement last month, revealed that there are more than 16 000 ZANU PF youths on government payroll even though they were not civil servants.
Civil service reform is one of the most crucial tests of the powers Morgan Tsvangirai has as Prime Minister. Itturns out now that he can be overruled by a civil servant like Nzuwa, as can the Finance Minister.
The world Bank had asked for detailed information on civil servants, including their dates of births and dates of joining government. THey also wanted to know the civil servants' dates of promotion to their current salary grades, amongst other things.
But, on Mugabe's instructions, the Public Service Commission has told the World Bank to mind its own business and refused to hand over the information, saying the request is in contravention of the Official Secrets Act. The MDC Minister of Public Service Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, has complained directly to the Public Service Commission that since April 21, when cabinet took the deicision to engage the World Bank for money and technical assistance, the Commission has been refusing to cooperate and told they can not have the information they want.
Effectively, the World Bank, then, has been told to bugger off.
The Public Service Commission has gone even further and referred the consultants from the World Bank to the Attorney-General's Office. The Ag's office, in response, advised that the Public service Commission was within its rights to refuse to hand over the information and can only do so if directed by Cabinet. That directive from Cabinet is very unlikely to come.
Although cabinet agreed on Aril 21 to a civil service audit, with the express intent of getting rid of ghost workers, it appears Mugabe is uneasy about the job actually being carried out. It would result in his legion of youths, who are right now roaming the countryside intimidating people against voting for Tsvangirai in the next election, being exposed and removed from government payroll.
That has a direct impact on his grip on power.
Nzuwa himself told State media yesterday that he knows nothing about whatever the World Bank is up to, saying when they first came to Zimbabwe after the formation of the inclusive government, his office had told them that they (the Public Service Commission) had no resources to carry out an audit.
ZANU PF has always insisted that any assistance to the Inclusive Governmetn should go throughgovernment structures and they want the civil service reform money given to the Public Service Comission.
"We are not involved in the current audit," Nzuwa says. He claims that the PSC pays all civil servants and this includes the president. As a result, he is not comfortable handing over details of the President's bank accounts and the like to the World Bank.
Civil service reform, a crucial aspect of good governance in Zimbabwe, which operates the most bloated government in the world, is effectively dead in the water, then.