Flip-flopper Biti changes tune; now says elections were rigged

THE Zanu PF administration doubled the government workforce to 500,000 in order to steal the 2013 elections, former finance minister and opposition MDC Renewal secretary general Tendai Biti has claimed.

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During the MDC-T split; Biti and his cohorts blamed Tsvangirai loss and he even suggested that Zanu PF had better election strategy.

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Zimbabwe’s civil service had long been estimated at about 250,000 but Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa recently admitted that the full establishment was actually half a million.

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The Zanu PF minister, who is spending about 80 percent of the state budget on salaries, did not say where the other 250,000 workers came from.

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But Biti, finance minister during the coalition government which ended with the 2013 elections, this week said he knew when and why the additional workers were recruited.

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“We recognise that the Zanu PF has bastardised the civil service,” Biti told a press briefing on the state of the economy Wednesday.

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“In July of 2013 there were 235,000 civil servants but if you listened to Chinamasa’s budget last year, there are now 550,000 civil servants in Zimbabwe, meaning that the number of government workers has doubled post-the GNU (Government of National Unity.”

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He said Zanu PF had embarked on a recruitment drive in order to get assistance in “stealing the 2013 elections” won by President Robert Mugabe and his party.

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“We know why they were recruited and where they (new workers) are; they were recruited to steal the 2013 elections,” said Biti.

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“You will recall that the police force had 40,000 members prior to the elections but the number of people who applied for the special vote in 2013 was 89,000; the same goes for the army and other security services.”

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There were howls of disapproval from the opposition after differing figures applied for the chaotic Special Vote meant for government workers who would be on duty on election-day away from their constituencies.

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But Chinamasa, Biti said, was now feeling the pinch and was at his wits’ end as to how to handle the bloated government wage bill.

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“The chickens have come home to roost, because with 550,000 civil servants, 91% of government recurrent expenditure is now going to salaries alone and that is not sustainable.

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“The wage bill in Zimbabwe is now 21% of GDP and there is no money for infrastructure and other social deliverables,” said Biti.

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The government is struggling to pay its workers with Chinamasa admitting embarrassment over the fact that 80 percent of state revenues are spent on the administration’s wage bill.