Opposition presidential aspirant pledges leaner parly, cabinet
Opposition party Build Zimbabwe Alliance presidential candidate Noah Manyika has pledged to unveil a leaner Cabinet and legislature to improve efficiency and reduce government expenditure if he wins this year’s presidential race.
Manyika told NewsDay yesterday that the current Cabinet size was unsustainable and a huge burden to taxpayers. “I will cut government ministries to 15, because the size of our government has life and death implications to the overwhelming majority of our people,” Manyika said.
“If I am elected in this year’s elections, my commitment is to eliminate all deputy minister positions and reduce the size of the legislature from 350 to 150.”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has 22 Cabinet ministers and six deputy ministers. His predecessor Robert Mugabe had 28 ministers and almost a similar number of deputies.
Manyika said Mnangagwa’s Cabinet was still too big for a small country like Zimbabwe, saying money saved from reducing the number of ministries would be channelled towards service delivery.
“Each year, thousands of Zimbabweans lose their lives due to the horrible conditions in our hospitals, while our huge government bureaucracy uses up more than 90% of our national budget,’ he said.
“Paying for an extended patronage system which includes legislators, chiefs and law enforcement and security services personnel means we cannot adequately pay our health care workers, resulting in thousands leaving the country and a catastrophic 50% decline in health-care coverage for the country’s poorest citizens in the last seven years.”
Manyika said he will ensure that the health sector receives an allocation that exceeds the 15% goal set by African Heads of State in 2001 in Abuja, Nigeria to improve the health sector.
“I will push for the elimination of the President’s powers to create new ministries without full parliamentary debate and consent. It is high time leaders put the well-being of every Zimbabwean first,” he said.
Manyika, who has refused to be part of other opposition parties’ coalition pacts, last month launched his election manifesto and will this Saturday kick-start his campaign by addressing a rally in Zvimba, Mashonaland West province, before extending to other provinces.