MP grieves over meagre salaries

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Themba Mliswa

BY PROBLEM MASAU
LEGISLATORS are prone to corruption and capture by oligarchs because of the meagre salaries they earn, Norton legislator Themba Mliswa has said.

The local lawmakers are among the least paid in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region taking home an equivalent of US$200 on the black market.

Their counterparts in the region are handsomely paid with South Africa’s Membes of Parliament (MPs) earning US$5 808 and Botswana’s lawmakers earning about US$4 000.

Lesotho is paying its MPs more than US$2 300 while Namibia pays more than US$3 500.

An MP in Uganda earns more than US$8 900, making their legislators the highest paid in Africa.

“How does and can the legislators hold to account people whose standards of life are much better and are in a position to corrupt them to be silent on certain issues? The current situation makes the legislators weak and sitting ducks that can be easily bought by criminals,” the outspoken Mliswa
said.

“It is an unhealthy situation which creates room for criminals to assume power using their illegally-obtained wealth to protect their criminal enterprises from State offices. Those who are genuine in seeking to develop the country are unable to compete because they don’t have the money.”

Economists said the paltry salaries earned by MPs mirrored the plight of the country’s workforce in the public and private sectors.

Economist Pardon Taodzera said: “Workers in both public and private sectors are earning peanuts. The value of the Zimbabwean dollar has been eroded by inflation. Legislators should not just push an upward review in salaries, but they should advocate for economic fundamentals.

“Zimbabwe is being run like a casino economy and as long as root causes are not addressed, workers will continue to languish in poverty.”

In his Workers Day speech, President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised to improve salaries and working conditions of civil servants.

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