CSOs blast ‘ridiculous’ MPs demands

The CSOs under the umbrella body Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiCZ) said the demands made  by the MPs were not only ridiculous

CIVIC Society Organisations (CSOs) have castigated Members of Parliament (MPs) for demanding hefty perks and top-of-the-range vehicles among other luxuries when the citizenry is wallowing in poverty.

The CSOs under the umbrella body Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiCZ) said the demands made  by the MPs were not only ridiculous

but selfish and divorced from their core duty to serve ordinary citizens.

The MPs threatened not to pass Finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s budget unless he doled out a number of luxuries to ensure they enjoy their five-year term in Parliament.

They want their spouses to stay in hotels while they carry out their legislative duties including payment of salaries of their personal workers.

Ncube, who was already under fire over his anti-poor budget,  was forced to set aside an additional ZWL$225 billion for the parliamentary budget, bringing it to an astronomical ZWL$700 billion.

CiCZ spokesperson, Marvelous Kumalo, said the MPs had let down the electorate.

“The CiCZ condemns the actions of some MPs who have brazenly put their own wealth and reckless pleasure above the interests and welfare of the Zimbabwean people,” Kumalo said.

“Not only are the demands made by these MPs during the budget debate — including top-of-the-range Toyota

Land Cruiser vehicles, hotel stays for their spouses and extremely luxurious fringe benefits — excessive in themselves, they also show a shocking knack of insensitivity to the reality of ordinary citizens in our country.”

Kumalo said it was disheartening to see elected officials putting their own interests ahead of the nation they are charged with serving.

“At a time when the people of Zimbabwe are suffering from a stagnant economy, high unemployment and increasing poverty, hearing such selfish demands from their legislators only adds to the ruling elite's growing distance from the people,” he said.

“This action, this concession to the demands of MPs, is a great disappointment and a disgrace as it only serves to reinforce the impression that the entire ruling party is riding the wave of success.”

Kumalo further said those elected to public office must demonstrate a firm commitment to serving the people who put them in public positions. 

“Their duty is to put the interest and development of our country above themselves and not to use their offices for their own benefit,” Kumalo said. 

“We, therefore, call on Parliament and the Minister of Finance to stop directing their efforts towards the accumulation of wealth and perks by a select few and start solving the problems of the Zimbabwean people.” 

He added: “This incident reminds us that we urgently need systemic reforms to make our political institutions accountable, transparent and ethical.”

Over the years, MPs, the majority from poor backgrounds, have made it a habit to arm-twist the Finance minister to bankroll their dream lifestyles including having diplomatic passports.


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