‘Broke Zimbabwean legislators turn to pick-pockeing’

Temba Mliswa

INDEPENDENT MP for Norton, Temba Mliswa has pleaded with government to urgently intervene and save MPs struggling to survive as their lucrative allowances mostly from foreign travel have been drastically cut due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Mliswa said because of the financial hardships faced by the MPs, it would not be a surprise if some were arrested for pick-pocketing or shoplifting.

“With Covid-19 which is there right now, they are not able to travel, there are no overseas allowances and it is even harder for us,” he said during debate Thursday.

“You will soon be reading stories of Members of Parliament pick-pocketing, stealing things in supermarkets and so forth, and then the next thing you will be blaming us saying that we are not setting a good example.”

Mliswa said legislators were failing to access fuel as coupons availed by parliament were rated in the local currency while fuel stations demanded US dollars.

“Members of Parliament are not free to debate when they do not know how they are going to get home. The accepted price is in US dollars so the coupons that we have are as good as useless.

“Parliament had said that there would be dedicated service stations for Members of Parliament. To date, nothing has happened, and yet these coupons that you give us mean nothing. Is it possible for Parliament to give us coupons in US dollars because that is what is on the market?”

Mliswa went on to warn government ministers not to tempt MPs into doing sinister acts.

“Do not tempt us to do the wrong things when this government and this institution can protect us by giving us a fair salary. Ministers are given coupons, they go to CMED and everything is fine for them but we are not doing well.

“How many times have we gone to Kenya for benchmarking but when we come back the benchmarking does not mean anything? They are paid US$10 000 to US$15 000 per month, 10 personnel in the office, a 4×4, and a Mercedes Benz. We only get one car after five years. Others have died and they never got their cars.

“We are spending time in ministers’ offices begging for coupons instead of us coming here. How do we then ask them questions when they are giving us coupons and they are looking after us? We can no longer be compromised, we are not children.”

In response, Leader of Government Business in Parliament Ziyambi Ziyambi said MPs should not expect much from Treasury as the legislature does not generate income.

“Parliament does not generate any funds,” he said.

However, the response further infuriated Mliswa who accused ministers of stealing.

“Honourable Ziyambi, being the Leader of Government Business, says that Parliament does generate income. So does government generate income? Government is the one which is busy stealing. Ministers are the ones stealing because their parastatals generate income which does not come into the Treasury and no wonder why we are poor.

“There has been a lot of looting with these ministers and he says Parliament does not generate income. We never came to run projects here. We get money from the fiscus but it is the plundering which the government is doing and which is making us suffer. Did we come here to run chicken projects so that we generate an income? He must withdraw,” an angry Mliswa fired back at Ziyambi. – Newzim