Zanu-PF ministries' 'ghost staff'
More that 10000 people have been hired "illegally" in Zimbabwe by ministries run by President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, including those responsible for the army and police, Finance Minister Tendai Biti has warned.
Biti has the job of implementing austerity measures as the country tries to dig itself out of a deep economic hole.
But the minister, who is a member of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) - formerly an opposition party, now Zanu-PF's partner in government - has had trouble reining in ministries run by Mugabe's party.
"The two chief culprits are the Ministry of Defence, which employed 4600 since January, and the Ministry of Home Affairs, which has recruited 1200 personnel without Treasury approval," Biti told parliament last week.
The recruiting was exacerbating the acute shortage of food at army barracks and adding to a wage bill Zimbabwe could not afford, he said.
"All indications are that the military is preparing for elections and for a violent election, like there was in 2008," said Dewa Manhinga, a South Africa-based political analyst for Crisis Coalition, an international think tank.
The military has in recent months supported Zanu-PF and dismissed the MDC, which is led by Mugabe's main rival in 2008 and current prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai.
The army's chief of staff Major-General Trust Mugoba, last week declared at a public parade: "We will not even allow them [the MDC] to go into office."
When Biti at a ministerial meeting last week refused to pay the wages of the new army recruits, Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa reportedly threatened him with violence.