EVIDENCE is now in the public domain that the State broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), does not offer any entertainment to the country.
The ZBC deemed it fit as long back as May 2009 to afford its suspended chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere a whopping $3 000 as entertainment allowance.
It is no wonder more and more Zimbabweans are making a beeline to take up DStv subscriptions and other free-to-view satellite channels.
Muchechetere has been drawing a whopping $2, 28 million in salaries and allowances since he was cherry-picked by the then Information, Media and Publicity minister Webster Shamu.
His benefits included a monthly salary of $27 000, housing allowance of $3 500 per month, domestic workers’ salaries of $2 500 per month, entertainment allowance of $3 000 per month, a general allowance $3 000 per month unlimited, five business class air tickets annually, three regional business class air tickets annually and unlimited local air travel.
Additional packages included ZBC servicing his mortgage, constructing an entertainment centre at his house and constructing a security wall.
This is looting by any standards when journalists and other support staff under his watch have gone for half a year without monthly salaries. The ZBC is bereft of equipment. Personnel are forced to share cameras, microphones, chairs and desks yet the war veterans has had no qualms in quaffing whisky courtesy of his obscene salary and perks.
It is really pathetic that those supposed to superintend Muchechetere slept on duty and allowed him to feast amid penury.
But the happenings at ZBC in which chefs are offered obscene salaries and mouth-watering perks gives the country a helicopter view of the state of affairs at parastatals and other State entities.
It is a general trend. Most of our parastatals and quasi-government institutions are top heavy. The executives are on the luxury pad while the ordinary workers’ take home salaries cannot even take them home.
The trend is said to be worse and most telling in the diamond sector where some junior staff have built mansion in and around the country.
The wider context of the saga at ZBC is board composition in State-owned enterprises in this country.
This is a pertinent issue because invariably the same individuals sit on boards of several parastatals and this might be one of the reasons why parastatals are always failing in their performance.