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Zec fails to pay voter educators

by Staff reporter
02 Oct 2022 at 09:09hrs | Views
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has failed to pay civil servants it hired as voter educators and inspectors for a 10-day voter education blitz conducted in July, The NewsHawks reported.

Zec, which has the mandate of running elections in Zimbabwe, recruited civil servants from the ministry of Education, ministry of Local Government and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), among others.

The government workers were promised a daily allowance of US$30 at an interbank rate of ZW$450 by 13 July, an amount which they say is being eroded by inflation.

"There is no joy from local district offices as officials have no idea as to when we will get the payments. Inflation is getting higher and the amount is getting weaker daily,'' said a voter educator deployed in Hurungwe Central, that covers Karoi farming town.

Teachers recruited for the exercise who spoke to The NewsHawks said they have failed to get a positive response from Zec district and provincial offices as to when they will be paid.

"Up to now voter educators and inspectors have given up. The exchange rate has doubled since then,'' they said.

Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (Zimta), a union representing educators, confirmed the non-payment of its members recruited for the voter education exercise.

"There is a big grievance around that. The teachers who participated in the exercise have been complaining. They expected to be paid promptly after the exercise, but the majority say they have not yet been paid.

"So, when we look at inflation, and we also see that someone has worked but hasn't been paid, then that becomes a problem. So, what Zec should do is to keep their people informed so that they know what is happening," said Richard Gundane, Zimta president.

The Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) said teachers should demand payment in advance before providing services as "it has become traditional for organisations to abuse their funds".

"A considerable number of teachers were engaged nationally, and they have not been paid until now. We urge Zec to mellow down to a more constructive approach permeable to reason and facts," said Takavafira Zhou, PTUZ president.

Civil servants are already at loggerheads with the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) over payment of outstanding allowances for the 2022 census.

It has also emerged that Zec officers allocated the officers condoms only, upon deployment.

In Karoi, voter educators said they were directed by Zec to use their own money to during the 10-day training process.

Investigations reveal that the affected civil servants were assigned by Zec on the 13th, to educate people about the voters' roll.

"Training went on until the 15th. On the 16th, voter inspectors were deployed to their inspecting polling stations. The exercise went on until the 27th of July. Voter inspectors (VI) were asked to bring back materials and statistics at Zec offices in Karoi," said an educator.

Another voter educator in Karoi said inspectors that spoke to Hurungwe Zec district officer Taona Pfunye has been assured of getting a US$30 payment per day - that would include training and deployment days, but nothing materialised.

In response, Pfunye said: "The issue can best be handled by Zec chief election officer (Utloile Silaigwana) himself."

Zec public relations officer, Jasper Mangwana, could not confirm the number that were hired for the 10-day exercise, referring further questions to Silaigwana.

"Please get in touch with CEO (Silaigwana) over the non-payment issue. He is the best person to talk to,'' said Mangwana in a telephone interview.

Repeated efforts to get a comment from Silaigwana failed as he did not respond to calls on his mobile phone, and WhatsApp messages

Source - thenewshawks
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