Zimbabwe’s diplomats have gone for several months without pay amid moves by the government to cut their allowances by 25 percent as part of far reaching cost cutting measures.
According to a report by a parliamentary committee tabled recently, embassy employees at various missions are now being forced to do extra work to survive due to late disbursement of salaries.
The committee said in Kuwait, the ambassador had been summoned by the Gulf state’s government after landlords complained that embassy employees were not paying rentals for their accommodation.
Zimbabwe has also been failing to maintain buildings housing its missions abroad due to worsening economic problems back home.
The parliamentarians who visited various missions before compiling their report advised the government to consider closing down some of the country’s embassies to manage costs.
As if the salary backlog was not enough, the envoys were at the beginning of May forced to take a cut in allowances.
“The Civil Service Commission, with effect from May 1, 2016, downgraded the conditions of service for all diplomats manning our embassies abroad with monthly allowances for ambassadors, ministers plenipotentiary and ministers counsellors reduced by 25 percent, and 22 percent for counsellors, first and second secretaries while third secretaries had theirs cut by 18,5 percent,” read part of the report by the parliamentary portfolio committee on foreign affairs.
The government also slashed school fees, rental and medical allowances for the diplomats.
Zimbabwe has over 20 missions abroad and legislators argue that most of them do not serve any purpose as Harare is no longer doing any meaningful business with most of the countries due to its depressed economy.
The southern African country is under pressure from the International Fund to reduce its civil service wage bill, which gobbles more than 80 percent of government’s expenditure.
President Robert Mugabe’s government is trying to avoid retrenchments by cutting down on allowances and seeking to flush out ghost workers from its payroll.