MPs mobilise funds to fight COVID-19

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LEGISLATORS from across the political divide have begun mobilising funds from their salaries to donate towards COVID-19 mitigation measures and the vulnerable groups that are affected by the pandemic.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

Last week, MDC legislator Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga suggested that every MP must contribute $1 000 each towards the COVID-19 fight.

But yesterday, Misihairabwi-Mushonga expressed concern that her proposal could be hijacked for political capital after Zanu PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi claimed that Zanu PF legislators were contributing $1 000 towards the COVID-19 fight.

“The whole idea was that we are supposed to have a broad approach in the fight against COVID-19. How does it now become a Zanu PF thing?” Misihairabwi-Mushonga queried.

“Otherwise, we might end up killing the initiative as it is supposed to be a non-political national thing by MPs, government officials and others.”

But Togarepi denied that he was politicising the issue.

He said it was a well-meaning endeavour open to all citizens.

“We invite private individuals in Zimbabwe and in the diaspora with means to support our government in this fight,” Togarepi said.

“The earlier we put resources together, the better for this pandemic. In a nutshell, we are prepared to work with everyone in support of the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) and government in ensuring our people are protected.”

He said he had already spoken to Misihairabwi-Mushonga and MDC Alliance chief whip Prosper Mutseyami about the issue.

“Mutseyami is still making consultations with his organisation. I hope to engage Norton MP Temba Mliswa (independent) and Kwekwe Central MP Masango Matambanadzo (National Patriotic Front) during the course of the day,” Togarepi said.

Mutseyami said MDC Alliance MPs resolved in March that each MP would contribute $200 every month towards the COVID-19 fight.

“The contributions from our MPs are seriously affected by the illegal withholding of MDC MPs’ allowances of more than six months, which have caused many of our MPs to be in serious debt and to be financially crippled. MPs have also, at individual level, contributed immensely towards the crisis management and mitigation in various constituencies and communities,” he said.

“The caucus has resolutely endorsed to increase the monthly contributions so that financial contribution will play a critical role in various mechanisms towards alleviating the burden of this pandemic to the people of Zimbabwe.

“We started collecting the money in March and we are going to review the amount this month.”

In Norton, Mliswa has already started several initiatives where he appointed a taskforce to ensure community participation in the COVID-19 fight and has started mobilising funds to fight the virus.

He said he had used US$2 800 from his personal savings towards the COVID-19 fight.

Mliswa has also launched a mobile campaign to broadcast and distribute COVID-19 literature to Norton residents.