MEMBERS of Parliament across the political divide yesterday demanded decent remuneration commensurate with their status in society, arguing their salaries made them too poor to declare their assets as stipulated in the new code of conduct and ethics which they are currently discussing.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
The motion was introduced in the National Assembly by MDC-T vice-president Nelson Chamisa, a member of the Standing Rules and Orders Committee, so that MPs declare their assets in order to create public trust, confidence and accountability.
The code also requires MPs to disclose shares and financial interests, remunerated employment outside Parliament, directorships and partnerships, consultancies, sponsorships, gifts and hospitality, benefits, foreign travel, land and property and pensions.
Seconder of the motion Daniel Shumba (Masvingo Urban, Zanu PF) added: “The first disclosure must be within 60 days of the date of opening Parliament and swearing in of an MP. An amount of $4 500 per calendar year will be measurable to provide a limit which MPs can receive gifts.”
But MPs said they had nothing to declare when they have nothing and they were living like paupers and “ugly cousins of members of the Executive and Judiciary”.
Buhera West MP Oliver Mandipaka (Zanu PF) said: “It is high time authorities revisited perks of MPs because you cannot be asked to declare assets when you have nothing. In all honesty, the perks we get are not fair because we do enormous work for the betterment of the poor yet we are asked to declare scotch carts or a bull.”
Mabvuku-Tafara MP James Maridadi (MDC-T) proposed the setting-up of a Parliament Services Commission to look into their welfare.
Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna (Zanu PF) said MPs’ salaries were so measly, hence Hatfield MP Tapiwa Mashakada’s (MDC-T) decision to apply for the Harare town clerk’s post.
Chamisa said the motion was meant to discuss the code of ethics only, adding that Public Service minister Patrick Zhuwao would soon bring a Bill before Parliament to discuss the remuneration of MPs. But, Mutasa South MP Irene Zindi (Zanu PF) said the Bill on remuneration should have been brought in first for discussion before the code of conduct and ethics.