Frontline workers and teachers are embittered after the government last month paid COVID-19 allowances to soldiers who tested positive for the pandemic in their line of duty yet other government employees are yet to be paid.
At the beginning of the year, the Government promised that civil servants who contracted COVID-19 in the line of duty would receive health insurance cover ranging from US$650 to US$1 000 paid in local currency at the prevailing official exchange rate.
Information gathered by The NewsHawks shows that soldiers who tested positive for COVID-19 were paid allowances. An unnamed government official is quoted as saying:
Other frontline workers such as the police and health officials are unsure on whether or not they will be paid the allowances.
Soldiers who tested positive during the lockdowns were paid ZW$54 000 (US$633 at the official rate) in May.
The allowances were deposited into bank accounts of those who benefited and did not reflect on payslips.
The NewsHawks said questions sent to the ministry of Finance spokesperson Clive Mphambela were not replied to at the time of publication.
Early this year during his annual leave, President Emmerson Mnangagwa was forced to abandon a trip to his Sherwood farm in Kwekwe after several security personnel and his farm manager tested positive for the coronavirus.
The publication further reported sources as saying soldiers from 2 Presidential Guard, located in Harare’s Dzivaresekwa suburb, Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) personnel and police officers from the Police Protection Unit underwent COVID-19 tests ahead of Mnangagwa’s Kwekwe trip.
Mnangagwa’s security includes the CIO, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (VVIP Police Protection Unit) and the military which entails the Presidential Guard and the Special Air Services.
The President reportedly made drastic changes to his security team after nearly 20 soldiers from the Presidential Guard Brigade, including some that were deployed to his motorcade, tested COVID-19 positive a few days before the arrival of his visiting Malawian counterpart Lazarus Chakwera last October.