By Anna Chibamu
COMBATIVE Norton MP, Temba Mliswa is up in arms with government for pampering cabinet ministers with fat perks while neglecting “suffering” legislators.
Mliswa was speaking in parliament Tuesday as he demanded improvements on the welfare of lawmakers he said have lost esteem in the eyes of the public.
“I have never known of any agenda which continues and never stops. This institution (parliament) is one of the three pillars of the State; we do everything, we pass budgets and so forth. We have no respect in the public,” Mliswa said.
The independent legislator said a number of MPs were failing to attend Parliament as they had no fuel to travel to Harare from their rural constituencies.
“Other Members of Parliament are not here because there is no fuel, that is the truth of the matter. They are standing in the queues. So when will you as leaders take us seriously and take this institution seriously that we have a mandate to deliver? How can we deliver when we have no resources to get here?
“Fortunately for you, VIPs and that is why we end up starting to now look at your offices, you are well taken care of, murikudya anababa asi vana havasi kudya (you are living pretty while we suffer). So what kind of a country is this?”
The outspoken legislator said government ministers could fail to understand his concerns as they do not queue for fuel.
“We must also be given fuel where you get fuel because one day you will come to find there is no single Member of Parliament who will be here. We are asking that you take this matter seriously. We are given fuel coupons but there is no fuel. So, why are given those coupons?”
Mliswa went on to demand housing stands and vehicles for MPs.
“These are issues that are troubling us, we have not yet been allocated stands and some Members of Parliament do not have cars but ministers have been allocated two cars.
“How do you honestly expect us to discharge our duties? Now people are saying Members of Parliament do not have a heart for the people they represent because it is not all of us who own businesses. People will then say they (MPs) are neglecting them.
“A lot of money is being channelled to corrupt people. The money is not coming to Members of Parliament to execute their duties. Money for people to do corruption is there but money for Members of Parliament to execute their duties is not there. We cannot be a Parliament that approves money that will be stolen.
“This is unbecoming because it is now like a crime to be a Member of Parliament in Zimbabwe, we are not respected.”