President Robert Mugabe's Cabinet is nothing more than a pension scheme for his cronies, an analyst has said.
On Friday, the privately-owned Zimbabwe Independent newspaper revealed that Mugabe's new 26 Cabinet ministers, 24 deputies, 3 ministers of state, and 10 ministers of provincial affairs, would gobble up almost a billion dollars in benefits, including luxury cars.
Nixon Nyikadzino, of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said Mugabe's Cabinet was unnecessarily large for such a small country.
"This Cabinet is more of an expensive pension scheme for ZANU PF sympathisers who have been plundering the national fiscus.
"Just thinking about what this will mean for the economy is scary. To start with, there is no indication that this is a Cabinet that will be mending relations with the international community.
"We are saddled with a huge debt and I do not see this government engaging with international institutions to try and have our huge debt cancelled," Nyikadzino said.
Nyikadzino added that the idea of doing away with provincial governors in the new constitution was aimed at reducing cabinet appointments.
"But Mugabe has reintroduced them through the backdoor in the form of ministers of provincial affairs. This is not someone who is committed to managing government spending at all, as these people will be enjoying the same ministerial privileges," he added.
Already, there are indications that the new government is working on increasing civil service salaries, a move that many fear will destabilise the already jittery economy.
"There can only be funds for revised salaries if ZANU PF stops the corruption in government and in the minerals sector.
"It's not about having a Cabinet but an attitude geared towards good, transparent governance, and that is what they need to be working on."
The civil service wage bill takes up two-thirds of the total revenue, estimated at $7-$10 billion, in a country that has almost no exports or manufacturing capacity.
Mugabe himself admitted that his appointments were mainly about rewarding party loyalists and those who delivered during elections, besides education. Speaking after the appointments, Mugabe revealed what he had considered: "Are you ZANU PF? And if you are ZANU PF, how much of ZANU PF are you? How long have you been with us?"