A bleak Christmas for civil servants who were paid late in December in cash-strapped Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe's civil servants had a bleak Christmas because the government failed to pay their December salaries on time.

Only soldiers were paid on time. Teachers, usually paid by the 22nd of each month, only received their salaries on Dec. 28. Many teachers said their paychecks had surprise deductions.

Zimbabwe's Public Service Minister Prisca Mupfumira said money to pay other government salaries is not yet available.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said all civil servants will be paid on Jan. 5. Chinamasa said 80 percent of the Zimbabwean government's revenue pays the country's 276,000 civil servants.

The Zimbabwean government has been the most reliable employer in the country because of continued economic uncertainty.

Opposition party spokesman Obert Gutu said President Robert Mugabe's family vacation to Asia was insensitive to unpaid civil servants.