26 January 2014

Zimbabwe: Performance Should Inform Reward

opinion

The recent exposure of lavish salaries in quasi government institutions namely ZBC and Premier Services Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) are a clear testimony of the level of corruption and looting in the country.

It shows the extent to which greedy people masquerading as patriotic nationalists are enjoying lavish lifestyles when the majority of citizens of this country, who are actually paying for such life styles, are wallowing in poverty.

It is shocking to realise that both Happison Muchechetere and Cuthbert Dube, who earned US$27 000 and US$230 000 monthly respectively, both earn more than the US President Barack Obama, who earns about US$400 000 per year.

The disturbing realisation is that both men work for decaying institutions that provide shoddy services, which are not even suitable for beggars. The rotten and substandard services provided by these institutions leave one boiling with anger, after realising that their subscriptions all go towards fattening these incompetent and clueless men.

This problem emanates from a number of factors; the number one factor being the culture of apathy and lack of accountability. This is a culture that stems from the government. The President and government of Zimbabwe have never been put to task for failing in service delivery.

The indifference and apathy in the country is alarming. All sorts of mediocrity and incompetency is being allowed to go on especially in the public sector.

History does not have a clear record of anyone who ever got fired from the cabinet or parastatals for incompetence in this country. Only political martyrs have been fired.

It is a country where incompetent men and women have risen and remained at the top solely because of their political allegiance. This is the reason why there is so much patronage, as incompetent stooges are elevated to the top and continue to exhibit insane blind loyalty to their godfathers, at the expense of the whole nation. As a result, most people employed by the public sector are in casual mode and exhibit lots of arrogance.

In the public sector one hardly gets fired for not delivering results as long as they don't exhibit ambitions to see a free and just Zimbabwe. It is a sector where once one lands a job, they can start planning what they can do with their pension, as employment is guaranteed regardless of performance.

While job security should be guaranteed to employees, keeping deadwood is a disaster. This is a country where tainted CEOs have the courage to tell everyone that they are untouchable and are beyond the reach of the law because they are Zanu pf.

The second factor fostering this gross incompetence is that most of these institutions operate as monopolies; they are guaranteed of a market for whatever trash they churn out to the public. There is no consumer choice. Talk of ZBC and no one needs to be reminded that the airwaves have not been freed. As a result, consumers are forced to swallow whatever trash is churned out by these institutions.

This is the reason why the likes of Muchechetere were getting a whooping US$3 000 entertainment allowance as they know that ZBC does not provide any entertainment suitable for anyone except for the masses who should be indoctrinated and reminded time and again of who the Head of State and Commander- in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is!

A close look at chiefs of quasi government institutions will show that they never enjoy the services provided by their organisations. It may be possible that the National Railways of Zimbabwe bosses do not ride on the archaic trains, which are only suitable for the zoo. Creating monopolies spawn sluggishness as there is no urgency in addressing customer needs in line with global trends. Since PSMAS serves 600 000 customers, mostly from the public sector, the current quandary may leave the majority of our civil servants with no medical aid.

Another factor is lack of alignment between reward and performance.There is serious discrepancy between performance and reward in the public sector and related quasi government institutions.

Because in all progressive countries CEOs and managers are rewarded in a way that guarantees performance, the bulk of their salaries come as performance bonuses which usually come as shares and not cash.

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