By Leopold Munhende, Chief Correspondent
NORTON legislator Temba Mliswa has defended an alleged US$40,000 purse dangled at sitting members of parliament (MPs) as loans by government ahead of next year’s elections.
Mliswa, who is on record expressing his concerns about the welfare of MPs, have at times been sponsored by opposition and ruling party legislators, questioned why there had been a massive uproar at their offers when ministers and their deputies were poised to get US$500,000 and US$350,000 respectively.
The outspoken MP recently revealed that MPs from both the ruling and opposition parties had agreed on the sum for legislators, Ministers and Deputy Ministers that will total US$14 million.
However, the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), in the crosshairs for seeming to favour the “anti-people” loans, told NewZimbabwe.com they were yet to be formally notified of the offer.
“At times because of lack of capacity of some of our members of parliament and the whipping system, the judiciary, the executive are given better conditions than us yet we are responsible for oversight,” said Mliswa on Monday.
“It is the oversight person who should be well resourced so that they are able to exercise their duties without compromise.
“We are constantly passing the budgets for the betterment of our nation without remembering ourselves. When we decide to do that, the chief-whips who have a package equal to that of ministers do not think about us at the end of the day.
“So now towards the end of their term, MPs would rather have the little that they have, that is why they have been given US$40,000 as housing allowance, yet the ministers got US$500,000, deputy ministers US$350,000.
“What is US$40,000? For an MP to buy a house in the high densities, this is how lowly they think of us.”
CCC chief whip Prosper Mutseyami told NewZimbabwe.com his party had not received any formal communication from parliament on the matter and hence could not comment on it.
“I do not know anything about these loans, and we should never discuss issues that have not been communicated.
“Once we are engaged, we will take it from there,” said Mutseyami.
CCC’s silence has been criticised by analysts who say it signals an elite agreement between Zanu PF and the country’s main opposition party.
Despite Zimbabwe’s poor investment in social services that include its worsening health sector, no MP has come out to criticise the move. Mliswa added that people should be prepared to fund the representation they so desire.
Added Mliswa on Twitter, Tuesday: “MPs are the headmasters who watch over other arms of state. Why are we unsettled with their lesser benefits, even against the humongous allocations for Ministers’ and Deputy Ministers’ US$500,000 and US$350,000 respectively? Certain things are obligatory for certain positions!
“It is paradoxical that we require effective representation but are not willing to fund it. Again, not all MPs are personally capacitated to function using personal resources. They need it.”
It's paradoxical that we require effective representation but are not willing to fund it. Again, not all MPs are personally capacitated to function using personal resources. They need it.
— Hon. Temba P. Mliswa (@TembaMliswa) November 29, 2022