Home » General » Pull Him Down Concept By Parastatals Not Progressive [opinion]

RECENT developments in the country where high ranking officials in government and parastatals have chosen to go to the press to blast each other as if channels of negotiation have been closed are a cause for concern. If this move goes unchecked, it might destabilize the functions of the government at a time when every progressive individual in the country is expected to help with ideas on how to revive the economy.

Top officials, and juniors alike, holding important positions in government and parastatals, should be conscious of what they say in public as the generality of the populace tends to construe such utterances by government officials as policy enunciations. It is incumbent upon those holding positions in government and parastatals to scrutinize and evaluate what they want to say to the public before saying such issues. Evaluating one’s position before it is put to the public makes it possible to correct some grey areas that may result in inaertent injuries.

As such, lines of communication between government entities should always be kept open to avoid a situation where some may conclude that there is acrimony between and among officials in government and parastatals. Issues of policy matters need to be put in the public domain when there has been consensus from the concerned parties. It is not proper to get a situation where today you hear a top government official saying one thing in public and the following day another one comes out blazing and blasting issues raised by the previous speaker as if to pull him down.

As Zimbabweans, we are judged by what we say and do in public. Any perceptions of inconsistencies in policy pronouncements only serve to scare away foreign direct investment, a central ingredient to efforts aimed at reviving the ailing economy. If ever there are any differences of opinion among government officials and employees, the press is the worst medium at which to voice these since its agenda sets and thrives on conflict and scandal.

A plethora of examples abound where top officials of government and parastatal bodies have been caught exchanging diatribes, each intent on blasting the other to smithereens so as to score inconsequential points at the expense of service delivery. This has been to the chagrin of the public that has been left wondering as to the existence of harmony or disharmony in government. The recent war of words between the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) Commissioner General, Gershem Pasi, and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Senior Spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba, has created confusion in the country to the extent that some are failing to understand why such top officials in government should regale in demeaning themselves by castigating each other in public.

The Zimra boss, Pasi, claimed that the law-enforcement agency was collecting and retaining between $3 million and $7 million per month at roadblocks instead of directing that amount to the treasury. For that reason, police Senior Assistant Commissioner, Charity Charamba, came out guns blazing. She refuted the claims to anyone who cared to listen adding that Pasi was an underachieving ignoramus who was peddling “a big falsehood which was intended to whip public emotions against the police in pursuance of an obvious agenda,” in an attempt to divert attention from the public that he was failing to beat the target in his quarterly revenue collection as mandated by the State.

The reaction of the police has created more questions than answers, with the imaginative even hinting at a cover-up conspiracy. Although the police knew that Pasi might have erred in terms of his statistics and other issues, it is possible that better channels could also have been used to defuse such a potentially explosive situation rather than return fire with fire. On the other hand, Pasi was not supposed to go fishing and attempt to impress the Parliament portfolio committee with wild claims before seeking clarity from the police. Wisdom, therefore, dictates that both Zimra and the police were to blame for the degeneration of the two otherwise astute characters.

In another related issue, Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries (WMMI) recently criticised the E15 fuel blend, arguing that it would not give warranty to cars assembled there, using such fuel, should they develop engine or emission system challenges. E15 which is a mix of 85% petrol and 15% ethanol was introduced by government recently as a compulsory measure for all petrol cars. Before the introduction of the E15 fuel blend, cars were using E10 blend and government argues that E15 would be cheaper and also reduce the government’s fuel import bill.

Such misunderstandings between government policy and WMMI are a cause for concern as this is raising a lot of questions from the public. People do wonder why arms of government are failing to negotiate and have consultations before conflicting statements are communicated to people. Parastatals and government should complement each other so that there is no incongruence in terms of policies implementation.

While the introduction of the E15 was a judicious measure by government, there was need for consultation with the motor industry, which could have managed to bring forward the necessary fuel blending percentages. The government’s argument that it would save its monthly fuel import bill is good and the WMMI’s positions of withdrawing warranty on cars assembled and bought from there that would be using E15 is also plausible. Deadlock!

If the Zimra boss had consulted the police over what he told the Parliament, the police could have given him the real facts on the ground, thus avert a war of words. All the same, if the police had consulted him before rushing to the press, they could have managed to issue an edited joint statement correcting claims by Pasi. The police’s statement has now failed to make the public aware of the truth surrounding the amount of money they monthly retain.

On the other hand if the government had consulted the WMMI and other motoring industries over that suggestion to raise the fuel blending from E10 to E15, there could have been no confusion among that sector. All the same the WMMI, instead of rushing to the press to denounce the E15 fuel blending, could have consulted the government so that they reach a common ground on the way forward. To avoid recurrence in future, consultation and unity of purpose are the way to go.

Mukachana Hanyani is a Harare-based political and social commentator who can be reached through mhanyani@yahoo.com

Source : New Zimbabwe