President Robert Mugabe has claimed he was bearing the brunt of the economic hardships in Zimbabwe, but at the same time revealed earning a mega monthly salary of $12 000 per month at a time the majority of civil servants were getting less than $300, well below the poverty datum line.
Mugabe who last year claimed he was earning $4 000 a month did not reveal how his salary had multiplied three-fold in less than 12 months without being gazetted by the government.
Speaking at Harare Central Hospital where he commissioned medical equipment bought through a $100 million Export-Import Bank of China loan facility, Mugabe described his $12 000 pay as meagre and not in line with salaries of his peers in the region.
The 91-year-old leader said he earned a basic salary of $10 000 per month and allowances totalling $2 000. They should all just be grateful that we have food on our tables.
“Kana pane sadza nenyama ndizvozvowo (if there is only sadza and meat, that’s it). He is suffering just like you,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s economy has been in a tailspin for more than a decade with firms operating below capacity because of lack of capital, high unemployment, power cuts and dilapidated infrastructure. The majorities of civil servants are wallowing in abject poverty and are not being paid on time while corruption among senior government officials has reached unprecedented levels.
Mugabe’s latest revelations about his earnings are in sharp contrast with the figure that he mentioned last year when he said “he only earned $4 000″.
The First Family owns a multi-million-dollar business empire in Zimbabwe, including farms, dairy business and exclusive schools. Mugabe’s expenses are largely footed by the State, including his numerous foreign travels, food, medical bills, accommodation, security and transportation.
The Zanu-PF leader yesterday once again blamed Zimbabwe’s economic problems on travel and trade restrictions imposed on him by Western countries.