By Leopold Munhende
INDEPENDENT legislator for Norton, Temba Mliswa, who once rejected a car under parliament’s loan scheme, this week took the lead in demanding his own vehicle and those of opposition MPs.
This was after Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube had told MPs government was delaying purchase of their cars and those of Ministers to allow scarce funds to be channelled towards the country’s priority areas.
Mliswa was quick to challenge the Minister saying Ncube erroneously tried to put Ministers and MPs in the same bracket when it was the case that legislators needed their cars more as they have constituency duty to discharge almost immediately.
“Those are two different departments and Members of Parliament have a mandate to ensure that the effective running of the country comes from them. How can they be under-resourced?” Mliswa said.
“…We are only entitled to one car yet they have got a 4 X 4, Mercedes Benz and they are also entitled to cars from parastatals.
“So, can the honourable Minister justify why Members of Parliament are put in the same category when we are expected to perform?”
Ncube said cars for MPs were going to be bought “in the fullness of time” but Mliswa shot back saying MPs could not work according to the Minister’s schedule.
“They have a mandate, when are they going to get their cars?” he said.
“Zanu PF members were given cars before the elections and the opposition, including myself do not have cars.
“We cannot have a situation where there was money spent by the ruling party to buy the cars and members of the opposition do not have cars – so it is not balanced.”
When he became Zanu PF MP for Hurungwe West 2013, Mliswa said most MPs already owned vehicles and should not have been considered ahead of their constituency needs.
“Some of my colleagues might need a car, but I certainly do not,” he said then.
“We have not yet received the Constituency Development Fund and this should have been an opportunity for us to be given an option of helping our constituencies with that money.
“We should have had options instead of a car. I would have liked to use my money to renovate a school or a clinic in my constituency. In fact, why should MPs with cars be offered cars? Why should cattle without ticks be taken to a dip tank?”