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Zimbabwe Pensioners Still Awaiting Justice, 14-Years Later

HARARE – Zimbabwe pensioners, who lost their savings during the turbulent shift from Zimbabwean Dollars to US Dollars in 2009, continue to face uncertainty as government departments have yet to finalize procedures enabling compensation, more than 14 years later.

During a session with Members of Parliament on Wednesday, Deputy Minister of Finance Kuda Mnangagwa acknowledged the prolonged process while insisting on government’s commitment as stated in the 2024 budget.

“The roadmap for compensation is guided by the Justice Smith Commissioner Report,” Mnangagwa explained. “You will recall in the 2024 Budget, Treasury made a commitment of 174 million towards the compensation, which was commensurate to the blame-worthiness of Government and the loss of pensioners’ money. In the same vein, pension funds have been asked to submit their plans.”

Mnangagwa further spoke on challenges encountered in implementing the compensation plans, noting delays due to incomplete submissions and unclear data from pension funds.

“Out of the 1,250 funds that were supposed to submit, I think we have got 50 outstanding. We have had missing or hazy data which has made IPEC’s job a bit difficult in ascertaining some of these compensation plans. I can assure the Hon. Member that this is a priority as it is part of our Treasury and Government’s (efforts to) bringing confidence to our pensions and also restoring lost value to pension funds,” he said.

However, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), Mbizo legislator Corban Madzivanyika raised concerns over conflicts of interest within the IPEC Board, attributing unnecessary delays to board members who also lead pension funds.

Mnangagwa dismissed these allegations, emphasizing that the process was impartial: “There is a clearly defined, independent process unaffected by personal affiliations.”

In a plea for transparency, CCC, Dzivarasekwa Member of Parliament Edwin Mushoriwa highlighted the urgency of the issue, citing that the matter affects many Zimbabweans deeply.

“Given the fact that IPEC did come up with a Statutory Instrument 162 of 2023 and gave the insurance companies 90 days, which was supposed to expire in December 2023. We are now in July and we have heard the Minister saying that Government made a commitment of about $170 million dollars,” Mushoriwa said.

“Can the Hon.Minister explain to us and if he is unable to do so Madam Speaker, we would then want him to bring, maybe a Ministerial Statement in respect of the compensation framework. Remember this is a 2009 issue and we are now in 2024. A number of people have actually died along the process.”

Mushoriwa continued: “We need to find out which insurance companies have got hazy data and which insurance companies are prepared. I think if it is possible, the Hon. Minister should come to this august House because this is an issue that goes to the depth of many Zimbabweans. I would probably urge that maybe this question cannot be properly answered without a Ministerial Statement.”

Mnangagwa agreed to provide a detailed ministerial statement to address the assembly’s queries comprehensively.

Zimbabwe Pensioners Still Awaiting Justice, 14-Years Later