RAPAPORT... The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), a political party in Zimbabwe which has a power sharing agreement with ruling party President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF, told citizens that it sympathizes with the plight of civil servants whose salaries are below the poverty line. Civil servants went on strike this week demanding better salaries and working conditions.
''We believe that civil servants have genuine concerns because the least paid government worker is getting $296 against the poverty datum line of $650,'' according to the MDC's statement.
While the political group agreed that government salaries should be reviewed, they called protests against Zimbabwe Finance Minister Tendai Biti ''unfair'' because ''he is on record as saying revenue inflows to treasury are pathetic owing to the lack of transparency in the remittance of funds mostly from the sale of diamonds.''
The MDC told citizens that the four companies extracting diamonds from the Marange have failed to meet revenue targets, with the largest one, Anjin being the main culprit.
''There is strong suspicion that the money from Marange is being used to run a parallel government with Anjin buying more than 200 trucks to fund ZANU-PF's election campaign,'' according to the political statement.
Biti, who is a member of the MDC, recommended that the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority be actively involved in monitoring of diamond revenue from the Marange. ''We urge Minister Biti to continue putting in place measures that guarantee improved revenue collection,'' the party stated.
The MDC explained that its philosophy is anchored with its support for the poor and based upon two pillars: the trade union movement and the constitutional movement. ''It is therefore wrong to assume Minister Biti is refusing to increase salaries in the public sector.
''As a party, the MDC is concerned over the manner in which the Zimbabwe Republic Police is illegally retaining revenue from roadblocks and other traffic offenses. The fines collected by the police are being looted by the Acting Police Commissioner General, Augustine Chihuri.
''The MDC's position is that if the huge revenue from diamond proceeds and traffic offenses is properly accounted for and channeled towards infrastructural development in the country and civil servants' welfare, it will make a difference to the growth of the country,'' according to the group.