Treasury permanent secretary George Guvamatanga acceptance of a gift from business tycoon and controversial Skunda Holdings boss, Kuda Tagwirei has left social media in sixes and sevens. Guvamatanga, who is one of the countries most powerful civil servants celebrated his 5oth birthday under the blessings of here south African singers-Mafikizolo, Makhadzi, and Loius Mhlanga.
The Sakunda hoss came under the spotlight for allegedly showering Guvamatanga with expensive gifts, specifically pledging a private jet, US $50 000 in spending, an excessive box at the Emirates Stadium in London, and a shirt signed by Abumaeyng, the Arsenal club captain.
The Sakunda boss who is on the sanctions list has insisted that he still yields power to exercise influence in the UK.
The events have led to an exchange of unkind words and a barrage of insults on Twitter and various other social media platforms with prominent Advocate Thabani Mpofu describing the gift as a bribe.
Mpofu who reported;y spoke to ZIMLIVE said “it is impossible to ignore the fact that these two are in an ongoing relationship over which serious questions have been and continue to be raised. Guvatmatanga is the government paymaster and Tagwirei is the biggest beneficiary of some of the shadiest and undue payments under the government”.
Mpofu says Tawgwirei's actions are penalized under section 170(1)(b) of Zimbabwe's Criminal Law Code.
The events further raise questions regarding the deep structural inequality in the nation. Whilst the top brass of government is splurging United states dollars like no man's business, the rest of the country is impoverished and forced to accept the RTGS dollar, which has been battered and assaulted by the runaway exchange rate. Most civil servants are paid in RTGS dollars which last week was reported to have broken away to 180 at par with the U.S dollar.
The new dispensation under President Emmerson Mnangagwa has insisted that the events of 2008 that saw Zimbabwe's economic crisis rach with the local currency so inflated that civil servants' savings were rendered useless will not recur. However, questions still arise regarding equality in accessing the USD. Whilst the government paymaster has every right to spend his lawfully earned money as he pleases, the question still is if he is splurging the United States dollars as a possible sign that he does not trust the RTGS dollar, should he not extend the same benefit to ordinary Zimbabweans?
The cash shortages in the country coupled with the runaway exchange rate and high levels of public corruption have crippled the nation's economy. The effects have been felt mostly by the poor and the civil servants of the country whilst most have resorted to the informal market.