Zimbabwe: MDC-T Retrenchees Get Exit Packages

THE cash-strapped MDC-T has paid off modest packages to retrenched party directors while most of the low-level staff members are still to receive their retrenchment payments more than five months after the party suffered a crushing defeat in the July 31 general elections.

The party has laid off 100 staff members from various departments amid serious financial problems.

Most of the workers were initially unemployed youths seconded to the organising department to "assist with the electoral programmes".

"The directors were offered tempting exit packages that included personal issue vehicles they had just received before the elections and a lump sum equivalent to six months' salary," a source said.

Party leader Morgan Tsvangirai had about 16 staffers in his office, while his deputy Thokozani Khupe had 12. Each of the members of the standing committee had two employees - a driver and a personal assistant.

Information gathered shows that some directors like Abigail Mvududu (communication) and Pearson Mbalekwa (security) received Isuzu single cab vehicles and cash payments equivalent to seven months' salary as their exit packages.

The vehicles were acquired as part of the party's fleet ahead of the July 31 general elections, with some insiders claiming the cars were still to clock 10 000km on the odometer.

In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent in September, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai confirmed his party was facing financial problems.

There is, however, uncertainty over exit packages for employees who worked in the former prime minister's office at Charter House who had become civil servants, but had their contracts terminated at the end of the inclusive government.

Civil Service Commission secretary Pretty Sunguro's mobile phone was unreachable.

MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti said the party has successfully concluded its voluntary retrenchment exercise.

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