HARARE – The shock acquisition of a half-a-million dollar sports car by a Zanu PF MP spilled into Parliament this week, and could trigger new guidelines on the type of vehicles MPs are allowed to import duty free.
Gokwe Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena imported a 2019 Lamborghini Urus from Europe last week, paying in excess of US$230,000 including delivery charges on a KLM cargo flight.
The MP, a close confidante of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, did not pay duty after taking advantage of a rebate that allows Members of Parliament to import a vehicle duty-free during the life of a Parliament (five years).
Norton MP Temba Mliswa (Independent) told Parliament on Wednesday that the scheme was being corrupted by MPs buying vehicles that they cannot use in the rugged terrain of their rural constituencies.
“I think it’s important for this Parliament to explain what sort of vehicle we are entitled to because my understanding on the rebate on the vehicles is cars we can use in the constituencies, not Lamborghinis because a Lamborghini does not get to the constituencies,” Mliswa said.
“This (point of privilege) is in terms of the corruption of us as Members of Parliament in the cars that we are supposed to get as rebate. Are they luxury vehicles or vehicles that must be used in the constituency? So, your guidance is sort in that regard, Mr Speaker Sir, on the cars that we must get on the tax rebate would be most welcome.”
When Mliswa sat down, he was accosted by an angry Wadyajena shouting: “Haunyare kuitajealous murume mukuru akaita sewe?” (Are you not ashamed to be jealous, an old man you?)
Mliswa shot back: “Wakaiwana kupi mari yacho, hauna business wakabroker saka wakaiwanakupi mari?” (Where did you get the money? You’ve no viable business, you’re broke. So where do you get the money?)
Speaker Jacob Mudenda advised Mliswa to approach Parliament’s administration. “They will look into it,” Mudenda advised.
The broke government has suspended a vehicle loan scheme for MPs, under which lawmakers are advanced money to buy vehicles. The amount of the loan is usually decided using the prevailing cost of a standard 4×4 pick-up truck. – ZimLive