$15 000 payouts boost MPs debates

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Members of the House of Assemblys attendance and performance in Parliament have improved after government paid them $15 000 each in outstanding allowances recently.

Chief whips Joram Gumbo (Zanu PF) and Innocent Gonese (MDC-T) told NewsDay yesterday the payouts had spurred them to work harder and attendance at committee meetings had improved.

Attendance by MPs in parliamentary committees had slackened after government had failed to pay them allowances since 2008, with some committees failing to constitute a quorum.

Gumbo said: The truth of the matter is that there has been some enthusiasm from MPs after the payout and also because of the announcement that there might be elections this year.

One of the discouraging factors that made them not to work was that they did not have money to travel to Parliament or even move around their constituencies and after getting the $15 000 outstanding allowances, they are now able to organise meetings and work at their constituencies.

He said MPs from across the political divide were now working harder than before.

Some MPs are coming to us chief whips, demanding that they want to be members of three or four committees because now there is motivation, yet Parliament rules say an MP cannot be a member of more than two committees, Gumbo said.

Gonese also said although participation had been boosted by the payouts, MPs had always been attending Parliament. He said the MPs were subsidising Parliament as they used their own funds.

The $15 000 payouts and $75 allowances per sitting have made MPs to be more effective and in the future the money would help them to conduct meetings with their constituencies and make them more visible, Gonese added.

But, Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma said it was too early to tell if MPs performance had improved due to the payouts.