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Opinion / Columnist

It's never too late to do right

09 Oct 2017 at 12:37hrs | Views
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe told members of his party's youth league on Saturday that they should expect to see Cabinet changes in the coming days as he seeks to foster a sense of unity of purpose amongst his wrangling lieutenants.

The current Cabinet probably ranks as the worst since Zanu PF assumed power more than 37 years ago. Despite being the largest of all previous Cabinets, the numbers have not translated into anything fruitful for the generality of Zimbabweans who are living under extremely difficult conditions.

Effective administrations are usually lean to eliminate bureaucratic sloth and avoid overlapping functions that create unnecessary confusion in the execution of government business.

As he restructures his Cabinet, one hopes that Mugabe has learnt that too many cooks spoil the broth and that he needs to go beyond balancing tribal and regional interests to get the job done. He must also get rid of the dead wood that owes its existence in Cabinet to patronage and sickening bootlicking.

For the past three decades, government has failed dismally to move the country's economy forward. Its populist policies have destroyed the productive sectors of the economy while creating laziness and an unhealthy appetite for consumptive spending.

There is no better way to illustrate this than taking a look at the current bloated Cabinet, which is not commensurate with the size of Zimbabwe's economy. It comprises 24 ministers, their deputies, permanent secretaries and directors who earn jaw-dropping salaries and other perks that include  government houses, top-of-the-range vehicles, holiday allowances, school fees for their children, 24/7 security, among other featherbeddings.

Most of these ministries are in the social cluster and treasury has to squeeze the taxpayer to fund them. There are other ministries that should really operate as departments such as that of Psychomotor. Some of them, such as the two ministries of education, must be merged.

The ministry of lands should be incorporated into agriculture, while the ministry of industry and commerce must preside over small to medium size enterprises. It is also wasteful to separate the ministries of Environment from that of Tourism and to have Provincial Affairs ministers.

Our fear is, however, that factional considerations might influence the looming Cabinet reshuffle in order to punish Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa's sympathisers while rewarding hopeless praise-singers, some of whom cannot even spell their names correctly.

To alleviate the plight of the suffering Zimbabweans, we deserve Cabinet ministers who work like horses.

It is never too late to do the right thing, Cde president!


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