News / Africa

Zimbabwe Finance Minister Defies Vets' Calls to Resign

Zimbabwe Finance Minister Tendai Biti addressing forum The Atlantic Council, Washington, DC, April 2012.
Zimbabwe Finance Minister Tendai Biti addressing forum The Atlantic Council, Washington, DC, April 2012.
Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti is defying calls by veterans of the country's independence war to step down after refusing to review their monthly pension payouts.
 
The veterans, who are loyalists to President Robert Mugabe, have been preventing the minister from reaching his offices.
 
About 200 veterans blocked access finance ministry facilities, protesting the minister's alleged incompetence and refusal to increase their monthly payments, and call for his resignation.
 
A visibly subdued Biti, blocked from entering his offices since the beginning of the week, addressed reporters at his MDC party offices Wednesday, saying he would not give in to the veterans' demands.
 
“I hope the president and the prime minister can deal this matter with the urgency it deserves," he said, explaining that veterans' welfare is a government concern, but that treasury does not have the money to meet their demands. "But if your question is ‘Will we resign?’ — that will not happen. We will not bow down to predatoriness. So they are literally, literally knocking on the wrong door.” 
 
Biti has repeatedly said that revenue from Zimbabwe's diamond fields, which are controlled by the military, does not reach the treasury, leaving a big hole in the country's budget.
 
Individual veterans currently receive just over $100 monthly, while the lowest-paid civil servants get about $200.
 
Since the formation of a coalition government between the MDC and President Mugabe's ZANU-PF party in 2009, Biti has defied calls to increase wages of civil servants. Last year an explosive device hit the security wall of the finance minister's home in an attempted bombing.
 
“The attacks on the ministry of finance are political — intended to emasculate not just the ministry of finance, but they are also personal attacks on the person of the minister of finance in his personal right," he said, referencing last year's failed bombing. "We are not afraid of anyone, so you can send your bombs as you have done to some of our houses. We are not afraid of you, we are not afraid of you, we will continue to do our jobs as we have been asked to do so until the life of this inclusive government."
 
The unity government was formed after Zimbabwe's violent and disputed 2008 elections. The government has stabilized Zimbabwe's economy over the past three years despite chronic tension between the two main parties. However, fears of renewed violence ahead of new elections has scared away investors and slowed economic growth.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mbira
October 03, 2012 3:06 PM
It is tragic that this country continues to plunge even further into
economic disaster and ultimately its recovery is not guranteed.
Depressing news is all that comes from this sad country .
Hopefully it will not be abandoned again by Governments and the UN whose track record is suspect.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More