The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: More Controversy in PM's Office

THE appointment of lawyer Mr Alex Magaisa to the Prime Minister's Office has courted controversy amid reports the move was done without the Public Service Commission's knowledge. Mr Magaisa assumed duty as the Prime Minister's secretary. He took over from Mr Ian Makone. Sources yesterday said Mr Makone would be in charge of economic and transition issues.

Former spokesperson Mr William Bango bounced back. He was appointed a director in the PM's office.

Ms Abigail Gamanya, who has been in the structures, has assumed Mr Luke Tamborinyoka's duties as director for information and communication in an acting capacity.

Mr Tamborinyoka is in hospital following an accident a fortnight ago.

Mr Bango's duties were not yet clear by last night.

Sources said the PM's Office had not communicated the changes to the PSC.

"Mr Magaisa is not a civil servant and his presence in the PM's Office is not recognised in Government structures.

"As such, his salary will not come from Government coffers, but parallel structures run from Charter House."

They added: "We just hear in the Press that there are new employees in the PM's Office. It should be noted that the office on its own cannot employ or redeploy staff without the knowledge of the PSC."

MDC-T sources said Mr Magaisa was now in charge of the PM's Office.

He would, however, be responsible for party activities.

It is understood that PM Tsvangirai made various changes in his office that had diluted roles and duties of his former secretary.

Mr Makone would be in charge of Government business in the PM's Office.

"By virtue of being a civil servant, Mr Makone remains in the PM's Office, but his brief is now confined to implementation of Government programmes run through the PM's Office," the sources said.

Mr Makone was in charge of the PM's diary spanning from party business and Government duties before his "redeployment".

Minister of State in the PM's Office Mr Jameson Timba refused to comment on the changes.

"There are more than 260 000 employees in Government, why are you asking about Magaisa only?

"I do not speak about staff changes in the Prime Minister's Office. Talk to the PSC! I am a policymaker. I make policies in Cabinet and the Council of Ministers," he said.

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