Controversy has erupted over an order by the Labour and Social Welfare ministry for the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) to pay $66 000 towards government’s disability event which took place on March 26, in Caledonia, Harare.
Interestingly Mukudzeyi Mukombe aka Jah Prayzah was paid $7 000 for a performance, Emmanuel Manyika who was the director of ceremonies was paid $1 000 and Devine Sounds who provided the performance stage $1 500.
This comes as the pension’s authority has been struggling to give pensioners meaningful income to support them in retirement.
In a letter leaked to social media addressed to former Nssa general manager, Liz Chitiga, the secretary in the Labour and Social Welfare ministry, Ngoni Masoka gave NSSA two days to process the payment into supplied accounts for performers.
“His excellency the president,… Emmerson Mnangagwa is the guest of honour. Over 10 000 people are expected to attend the event. The ministry had initially budgeted for 5 000 people.
“In light of the additional 5 000 persons expected to attend the event, could Nssa assist in providing the following items,” Masoka said in the letter.
“T-shirts (round) – $18 000, (golf) – $16 000, lunch two-piecer chicken and chips and soft drinks – $22 500, Jah Prayzah $7 000, performance stage from Devine Sounds $1 500, director of ceremony $1 000. Your usual cooperation will be greatly appreciated.”
World over, the day is marked on December 3 but Zimbabwe marked the day at the end of March.
One of the people who raised the red flag on government’s stance to milk struggling parastatals was political analyst Alex Magaisa who said there was constant looting by a “politically-connected cabal”.
“If government has no money to host such an event, it has no business dipping into the pot reserved for pensioners. $22K for pieces of chicken which will probably be provided by a Zanu PF elite. $7K for a performer. $1K for an MC. This can’t be good use of pensioners’ money,” Magaisa said on his Twitter account.
“Government wants Nssa to pay $34K for T-shirts. This is heartless when you consider the poverty affecting many pensioners who spent years contributing to Nssa. But Nssa has been a cash cow for political elites & it’s not surprising that it’s being abused like this.
“But given that its election season and the location of the event (Caledonia) this looks like an election campaign disguised as commemorating an International Day for people living with disabilities.
“It’s tantamount to Nssa being asked to provide political party funding to Zanu PF.”