Salary that can feed 2 500 people

Reports that a Harare businessman, Claud Danha, is being paid as much as $20 000 a month from state coffers to mobilise funds for the drought relief programme must have come as a shock to many, especially the taxpayers who are contributing 10 percent of their wages for the same purpose.

More disturbing are the reports that he is not working within the established structures. Even the Grain Marketing Board, which is responsible for coordinating the drought relief supplies, claims it does not deal with him.

If these statements are true, one is left wondering to whom Danha reports? Is he accountable to one person or a government structure? If he is answerable to one person, is that person capable and honesty enough to properly monitor Danha?

Danha was reported as saying he had already raised more than $17 million. To whom was this money given? Was it properly accounted for? If it was, is it now being used for what was raised for?

These are some of the questions that people might want to ask because the drought relief programme has not been going on as well as it should be. While the hiring of someone to mobilise funds for drought relief sounds like a noble idea, doubts are cast when that person seems to be accountable to on one.

It even becomes more disturbing when reports say that the very same work could have been done by already existing civil servants, who may in fact be doing the same work. People are left wondering whether that person is really doing a job or he is merely being looked after by his mentor.

What is even more disturbing is the amount Danha is allegedly being paid. If the job is already being done by someone this means that there is no need to employ him. By paying him such a hefty salary, this means that at $1 600 a tonne of maize some 2 5000 people could have benefited from the drought relief food at 5kg a person, or 1 250 at 10 kg a person and 833 at 15 kg a person.

Can it therefore ever make sense that one person gets what more than 1 000 could benefit from? Does this show any seriousness on the part of the government to help its less privileged or it boils down to mere rhetoric that even though all people should be equal some are more equal (and therefore more deserving) than others? With this kind of thinking, can we ever have parity between the "haves" and "have-nots?"

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