Civil Servants audit to flush-out militia

Critics have accused President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF of smuggling party supporters onto the government payroll in the past, especially youths from a national training programme blamed for unleashing election violence on the opposition.

Public Service Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro said on Wednesday the audit would be held from November 23 to December 18 but would not cover members of the security forces.

A report by the country’s auditor general published last month showed that the Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Indigenisation — which administers the controversial youth training programme — had more than 10,000 people on its payroll who were not employed by government.

"The idea is that government can vouch for the integrity of the payroll, audit staffing levels and eradicate irregularities if any," Mukonoweshuro told journalists.

"The audit is not in any way or in any form a witch hunt. If mistakes are found, we want, as government to stand up and have the courage to look up to those mistakes."

The $4 million for the audit would come from a multi-donor trust fund administered by the World Bank.

Zimbabwe is under pressure to carry out extensive political and economic reforms after the formation of a unity government in February, but the new administration is yet to get critical funding from reluctant Western donors.

Mukonoweshuro said more than 200,000 people were employed by the government, most of them teachers, adding that the audit would also establish the extent of skills loss after thousands of Zimbabweans left the country for better paying jobs.