COMMENT: Performance contracts will ensure delivery

The Chronicle

When President Mnangagwa came into office in November 2017, he committed to a bold, transparent, democratic and accountable leadership.

He stressed the importance of servant leadership, a leadership that is driven to deliver; a leadership that is accountable to the common person in the townships or remote village across the country.

He denounced corruption too and made it clear that those who engage in it would be punished. The President is delivering on all these, and more.

He is boldly tackling Gukurahundi, a subject that was generally discussed in hushed tones across the country. We were all afraid to discuss that difficult phase in our history yet it is a fact that it did occur and wounds arising from it had to heal one way or the other.

His Government is fighting hard to eradicate corruption. Among his first tasks when he rose to power was to give the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) the teeth it must have in terms of the Constitution, but which it was denied for years.

In that connection, big arrests have been made since 2017, including of some ministers and senior civil servants. Loopholes that some errant civil servants capitalised on for self-enrichment are being plugged, witness the clampdown at the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, vehicle registry and registrar general’s office.

Anyone who drove a vehicle in the country pre-new dispensation will sorely remember how traffic police behaved. Like a terror unit, they would erect a roadblock anytime and anywhere they wanted, stopping vehicles not to enforce traffic laws, but to simply extort bribes from motorists.

Now, thanks to President Mnangagwa’s bold stand against corruption these cases are now history and any officer who tries to do the old way has to be an extremely foolhardy chap soon to be exposed and punished.

In terms of democracy, our people are now free to discuss any subject publicly, including legitimately criticising the President. He was elected in July 2018 in arguably the freest and fairest election in our history. The opposition freely campaigned nationwide, including in Zanu-PF strongholds.

Consistent with his pledge to promote hard work in the civil service, the President has always declared that the days of empty chairs being adorned by jackets in Government offices are over. He wants a civil service that works hard and delivers.

Last year, all permanent secretaries – the top-most civil servants in ministries – signed performance contracts. This means that any top bereaucrat who fails to deliver will lose their jobs. This condition pushes them to work as expected.

On Thursday, the President extended that to ministers. In addition to ministers, chief executives of local authorities and State-owned enterprises as well as all vice chancellors of State universities will now have to sign performance contracts in terms of the Integrated Results-based Management System.

Public officials, Government said, must drive President Mnangagwa’s vision of transforming the country into an upper middle income by 2030.

“Now, here’s where it gets exciting for 2022: To foster a high-performance culture across the entire public sector, the Government of Zimbabwe this year, has introduced performance contracts under the results-based management system, continuing with all permanent secretaries but adding all Cabinet ministers, all chief executive officers (CEOs) of local authorities, all CEO of State-owned enterprises and vice chancellors of universities,” read the statement.

The performances of the executives will be audited annually and the results made public, Government said, adding that this will push ministers and CEOs to fulfill President Mnangagwa’s promises he made when he came to power.

“You and I are taxpayers,” the statement said.

“It is in our interests to know exactly where our taxes are going towards the development of our country. Civil servants are there to serve us and deliver on the promises made by His Excellency President Dr E.D Mnangagwa when he came into power, committing to making Zimbabwe a prosperous and empowered upper-middle income society by 2030.

Guided by the Nation’s Blueprint, National Development Strategy 1, here’s how this will happen under our watch: The Government of Zimbabwe has introduced performance contracts,” reads the statement.

Therefore, that plum job in Government and parastatals and the mouthwatering perquisites that come with them – the V8s, extensive air travel, huge allowances, luxury housing, the public respect the jobs command and all now have to be justified by hard work that is measured annually and performance publicised.

We are excited that the burden of work is now upon everyone’s shoulders, including our ministers and executives in Government-linked institutions.

In doing this, the President is asserting his commitment to hard work at the top, not merely hard work, but also hard work that is measured with levels of performance being publicised yearly. This will push the seniors to deliver.

That is the culture we want in our civil service. When a top official is subjected to a performance contract, it is obvious that he or she will ensure that his or her team works just as hard so that he or she performs as the contract demands.

No minister or permanent secretary would want to lose their job just because a junior spends the day sleeping in the office. So the minister or permanent secretary will push that junior to work so that he or she satisfies the demands of their contract.

As a result, we see the contracts at the top cascading down to the shop floor in a positive manner. In the end, we will have a civil service that delivers for national development.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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