By Anna Chibamu
HARARE: Members of Parliament (MPs) should be allocated personal drivers, ruling Zanu PF legislator for Buhera South Joseph Chinotimba said on Tuesday.
Chinotimba said it was high time the government emulates what is happening in other countries in the region in terms of support for legislators.
“We must be having personal drivers and personal assistants and offices in our constituencies or at Parliament,” he said.
“I went to the Parliament of South Africa and I saw a marvel. I spoke to Hon. Mthuli Ncube, can we not copy what is happening in these countries?
“You find Hon. Speakers of Parliament having three drivers because just being seated in that august Chair is quite painful; you need at least three drivers.
“A driver should not drive for 8 or 24 hours without being relieved. A driver should drive for four hours and be relieved.”
Chinotimba was paying tribute to late Gokwe-Kabuyuni legislator Leonard Chikomba who died in a car accident in May as he returned to his constituency from a Zanu PF meeting in the Midlands province.
“This issue of the passing on of Hon. Chikomba hurts us,” he said.
“As Hon. members of Parliament, we would like to say that if possible, I am glad that the Minister of Finance is here, we need to have a budget for Hon. members’ drivers.
“I was saying the day before yesterday that the food that we eat in hotels every day costs almost $100,000 while we are earning $70 000.
“The food that we eat per year could be $1.7 million. You would rather give a driver than to give me such food.”
Independent Norton legislator Temba Mliswa weighed in saying; “Chinotimba spoke about diet.
“It must be a balanced diet; there are people here suffering from sugar and with different diseases who must be given a nutritious diet.
“We leave our houses; some of us have three chefs in our houses and we choose. We have a Chinese, Japanese and an African chef and the meal depends on what I want to eat on the day.
“So, when I come here and you are exposing me to sadza every day, the starch levels are too high, no salads and so forth, it affects people. I am a professional in fitness and I can tell you that you cannot take too much starch.
“Seventy percent of the plate is starch and 30% is protein yet it should be the other way around and you use protein as a source of energy.
“You will see that the banana you are given every day, fruit salad is not there and all that. It is really difficult at the end of the day for us to discharge our duties.”