The Speaker of the House of Assembly Lovemore Moyo says there is need to come up with legislation that makes it mandatory for MPs to declare their assets.
Moyo was speaking in an interview on the sidelines of a three-day retreat of Parliament’s Liaison and Coordination Committee held recently.
He said although there were provisions in Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders for a code of ethics for legislators that include keeping an asset register documenting the wealth of parliamentarians, this was not being followed.
“There is an implementation gap,” Moyo said.
“This thing was decided in 2000 but successive speakers have not taken it up.
In fact, I have not seen the asset register in Parliament.
I will have to look for it because it has to be implemented.”
He said a code which requires MPs to declare assets should be brought through an Act of Parliament.
“In other countries the requirement is brought through an Act of Parliament and therefore enforceable,” said Moyo.
“I believe that is the route we should take here in Zimbabwe and I will ensure that this asset declaration issue is implemented.”
MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese supported Moyo saying: “We need a code of ethics so that as leaders in this country we are able to declare our assets.
Declaration of assets by people in positions of leadership increases accountability.”
MDC-M chief whip Edward Mkhosi also said his party supported the move.
“I support that MPs should declare their assets because if you are in public office the public needs to know how you acquired your wealth.
If an MP starts moving in a helicopter, people will start asking where he/she got the money to afford that expensive helicopter.
“That is why it is necessary to declare our assets as leaders,” said Mkhosi.
Zanu PF chief whip Joram Gumbo could not be reached for comment as he was said to be in a meeting.
A few weeks ago, when the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy Development met with government officials from the mining sector, some MPs openly told the Clerk of Parliament they were “uncomfortable” with the idea.
The issue of declaration of assets has been contentious in the past few years as it emerged that some MPs and ministers have enriched themselves and avoided declaring their assets.
Zimbabwe rates poorly on transparency indices set by reputable international organisations.
Earlier during the parliamentary retreat, Moyo said:
“It is important for everyone to realise that one of the best forms of support that any parliament can give to the executive is thorough scrutiny as this increases public confidence in government and in the checks and balances that are constitutionally enshrined.”