MP vehicles to gobble $14 million

13
615
Zimbabwe parliament building

THE Eighth Session of Parliament is likely to gobble over $14 million in procurement of new vehicles for MPs alone and more money will be required for other expenses such as salaries, sitting allowances as well as accommodation and fuel allowances, among other benefits for the 356 legislators in both Houses.

REPORT BY VENERANDA LANGA

The number of legislators rose significantly from 270 in the last Parliament to 356, a figure which is likely to eat heavily into the taxpayers’ money as the MPs and Senators will be entitled to a plethora of benefits, including new vehicles.

Newly-elected MPs are set to take their oaths of office today amid fears that their wage, hotel and travel bills might be difficult to sustain. Parliament still owes an estimated $750 000 in hotel bills from the previous session. Former legislators are also owed arrears in sitting allowances ranging from $10 000 to $20 000, depending on attendances, accrued from 2009. The allowance was pegged at $75 a sitting.

Indications are that if government purchases vehicles for all the legislators as is the norm, it would require close to $15 million to purchase entry level vehicles that cost at least $40 000 for a new Mazda BT50 vehicle which former MPs received.

Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma yesterday confirmed that the bloated number of parliamentarians would have an impact on the salary bill.

“At the moment I do not know what the perks of the new MPs would be as we have not yet discussed those things, but they will be announced in due course,” said Zvoma.
“The wage bill due to the number of legislators will obviously be high,” he said.

As a result of the increased number of legislators, about 100 MPs may also have nowhere to sit in the House because the current Parliament can only accommodate 170 people. In the previous Parliament which had 210 members, makeshift seats had to be improvised when attendance was high.

While addressing journalists at Parliament building a fortnight ago, Zvoma said the salary of an MP was below $2 000 a month. Former legislators interviewed by NewsDay disclosed that they were taking home between $850 and $1 100 a month.

MDC-T’s Harare Senator-elect James Makore, former Zanu PF Mbire MP Paul Mazikana, and former Chegutu West MP Takalani Matibe (MDC-T) told NewsDay yesterday they were struggling to pay their debts due to non-payment of their dues.

Vice-chairperson of the outgoing Parliamentarians’ Welfare Committee ( outgoing Murewa West MP) Ward Nezi (MDC-T) said: “This is a very sensitive issue because these MPs have been very patient knowing that government had no money. Now that another Parliament is coming, it is just not proper for new MPs to be sworn in when the institution has that debt from the previous Parliament.”

Former Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs minister Eric Matinenga in June advised outgoing MPs to take Parliament to court before 2016 to claim their outstanding allowances.

Meanwhile, newly-elected MPs who went through an induction session at Parliament yesterday said they were very excited to be legislators and expressed optimism that the Eighth Parliament session would be more productive.

Zanu PF Zvishavane Runde MP Fred Moyo said although it was his first term as MP, he was going to contribute on issues to do with the economy.

“The most critical thing is to improve the lives of the people. I hope the operating environment improves. The previous Seventh Parliament was not quite unified on issues about improving the lives of the people although they managed to deal with statutory and constitutional issues,” Moyo said.

MDC-T Senator-elect Ruth Labode said she hoped the Eighth Parliament would be able to finalise issues to do with devolution of power.

“I hope my contributions during the Eighth Session of Parliament will make devolution of power a reality. During my campaigns, I visited places like Binga and there was a lot of poverty. To me, this means solving issues of food access and poverty should be a priority during the first 100 days. This includes dealing with water problems as well as the issue of de-industrialisation in Bulawayo,” Labode said.

James Maridadi, the Mabvuku Tafara MP, said he expected robust debate during the life of the Eighth Parliament.

“I hope there will be less of heckling and name-calling with full knowledge that we were elected by our people to represent them honestly and debate issues to the best of our ability. Zimbabwe comes first and we hope Zimbabwe will win and not individuals,” said Maridadi.

Senator Chief Enos Musarurwa said the next Parliament would be better than the Seventh Session because there was not going to be too much opposition.

“If one political party has a majority in Parliament, it means they will make good decisions and agree on a lot of issues without opposition. There should, however, not be rubber-stamping of issues to ensure the welfare of people is improved,” Chief Musarurwa said.

13 COMMENTS

    • We must understand that when these people jostle for.positions they do so for self gratification and not to serve the people.See for gohrselves the things they are.concerned about.Behold, all the activity on our roads has suddenly stopped.What is most vissible now are the usual police officers, doing what they know best.Open your eyes zimbabwe

  1. I have always said that MPs serve themselves, they work for their families. Nomater which part they belong to, they work for their families. Last time MDC and ZANU MPs could not agree on anything except on increasing their salaries and purchasing expensive cars. These people are parasites. Civil servants are suffering, old people are suffering, children are suffering, orphans are suffering but here they are: Zvakanaka hazvo

    • i agree with you, hapana zvekuzviita . some of them used a lot of their personal resourses during campaign and you wonder kuti kuda vanhu zvechokwadi here. lets wait and see vamwe ari nani pane vamwe.

    • taura hako, now reporter akuda kutaura as if there is anything new, this GNU showed us kuti ma MP makudo evanhu ka… nxaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  2. MPs are not elected to represent the interests of the electorate. Humbavha chete hurikuitika muno munyika. Munofunga kuti chembere dzisingagoni kana kunyora zita dzingagona kutaura nyaya dzinechekuita nebudiriro yeZimbabwe here? Zvemuno zvavakuda mwari chete, asi hapana chisingaperi, where is Hitler/Musolini today?

  3. Imi ma reporter, paitengwa mota dze GNU maidiii kutaura, mapepa emuno kuve one sided kwenyu kunonyadza imi, nxaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Regai vadye mutaka havo. everyone when given the chance kuluma chete apo…

Comments are closed.