President Emmerson Mnangagwa has dangled a carrot to struggling, underpaid civil servants through a special presidential bonus for 2022 as the country enters the election season.
Civil servants most of whom earn below the poverty datum line will get the normal annual bonus and a special presidential bonus payment as a way of cheering them through the festive season.
According to a statement from the Public Service Commission, civil servants who are not in managerial positions will be paid their bonuses this year while the bosses will be paid in 2023 after an evaluation of their performances as per the contracts they signed in January 2022.
“As per signed agreement of the national joint negotiating council, only those from the position of deputy director and below will be paid their 2022 bonuses spread in equal share between November and December. The bonuses will be paid as follows, the annual 13th cheque and the special presidential bonus,” read part of the statement signed off by Tsitsi Choruma, the Public Service Commission secretary.
Although it was not clear the source of funding for the special presidential bonus, the struggling public workers will go to Christmas with pockets cushioned as their salaries are below the poverty datum line currently pegged at USD$530.
Most civil servants earn between USD$300 and USD$400 per month while their bosses line their pockets with allowances and fat perks.
Initially government had announced that it would pay bonuses for all civil servants according to their performances but the move was rejected by labour unions.
This would have been a departure from the past practice of paying a uniform 13th cheque to public sector workers.
Because of the new token of appreciation from Mnangagwa, the government agreed to pay the bonus over two months, with half of the bonus payment having been paid alongside November salaries, and the other in December.