Parliament goes virtual: MPs unhappy with new development with no hotel life

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By Anna Chibamu

HOUSE of Assembly members are not happy with the new virtual platform (ZOOM) introduced in Parliament this week amid reports they preferred making physical sessions so they could earn more allowances.

Sources within parliament on Tuesday told most of the legislators were in favour of physical attendance in House business fearing loss of certain allowances.

The source said some also wanted to come and enjoy free hotel accommodation in Harare.

This is despite government announcing on Tuesday during a post-cabinet media briefing that confirmed cases of Covid-19 had reached 6559 after 62 new cases were recorded on Monday with one fatality.

“We are having challenges because some MPs want to be at this building so that their allowances are not affected. Some simply want to continue with the hotel luxuries they have become accustomed to.

“This is shocking because this is Covid-19 era where people are dying in huge numbers, but someone still wants to risk his or her life,” the source said.

A lot of the current legislators have been said to be computer illiterate after parliament acquired ipads for each member.

In a bid to contain the deadly coronavirus that has killed 203 people as of Tuesday, Parliament last week announced that members would work from hotels, homes and a few in the House as a measure to contain the spread of the disease among members and staff.

Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda recently reported that eight MPs had tested positive to the disease as deputy speaker Tsitsi Gezi announced mandatory regular testing for the members and staff.

Internet connection has also been poor, increasing fears of disruptions.

On Tuesday Parliament resumed business after it sat last week for just five minutes and immediately adjourned till 1st of September, 2020 to allow testing of members.

Efforts to get a comment from either Speaker Jacob Mudenda or Chokuda on the developments were fruitless.