Members of the National Assembly in Zimbabwe have demanded answers from Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube over the country’s escalating inflation and collapsing local currency. They claim that these issues have eroded the salaries of government workers. This comes as soldiers and police officers received salaries this month ranging from $25,000 to $68,000, which is insufficient even to purchase a dozen loaves of bread.
Legislators have been demanding a ministerial statement from Ncube for the past few weeks. They accuse Ncube of focusing on his political campaigns in the Cowdray Park constituency in Bulawayo, where he hopes to secure a seat in Parliament. Lawmakers have called for the suspension of parliamentary sessions until Ncube addresses the issue of civil servants’ salaries and price increases.
In his submissions in the National Assembly on Tuesday, Kuwadzana East legislator Chalton Hwende (Citizens Coalition for Change) said:
Last week, we appealed for Ncube to come here and speak about the issue of civil servants salaries and increases of prices in shops.
You asked that we show how salaries are pegged. When we talked last week, people had not yet started receiving their salaries.
(On Monday) soldiers and police officers started getting their money and some are still receiving it now.
He presented payslips revealing that police officers and soldiers received salaries from May indicating that their salaries had been eroded by the depreciation of the Zimbabwe dollar to the extent that they can only buy one full chicken and 1kg of meat at OK supermarket in Kuwadzana.
Kambuzuma legislator Willias Madzimure said that they have the right to ask the Executive to answer important national issues. He added that it has been three weeks since Minister Ncube was asked to address the National Assembly. Madzimure explained that when a minister is asked to speak, they must ask for permission, but Ncube did not do that last week, which means he is not in a position to respond.
Norton legislator Temba Mliswa has demanded that Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube be summoned to Parliament to explain how he paid unbudgeted US$400,000 to each of the country’s judges. Mliswa expressed concern about the lack of information surrounding the controversial windfall, which he said portrayed the current Zimbabwe administration as a bunch of looters. The judges, who are expected to play a significant role in determining election-related disputes in the coming months, were awarded the unsolicited fortune by the Emmerson Mnangagwa-led government as housing loans. Mliswa also questioned similar payments made to CIO directors, Cabinet ministers, deputies, and MPs.
Zimbabwe’s economy has been deteriorating rapidly, with prices of goods and services soaring beyond the reach of most public and private sector workers. The salaries paid to these workers in the local currency have remained largely unchanged, exacerbating the situation.