The two 2014 pre-budget seminar for legislators held in the resort town between Friday and yesterday was reduced to a slanging match between MDC-T MPs and Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa.
Njabulo Ncube in VIc FALLS
Chinamasa was at the receiving end of stinging attacks by MDC-T legislators who referred to him as a minister without finance following his admission that the government was broke.
On Friday, David Chapfika, a Zanu PF legislator had a tough time calling the legislators to order after the MPs took turns to poke fun at Chinamasa during a session that the MP chaired.
Dzivaresekwa MP Solomon Madzore (MDC-T) was the first to have a go at the Finance minister saying there was nothing the former Justice minister could tell MPs because Zanu PF had no idea how to fix the economy.
“This is a minister without finance, he cannot tell us anything because Zanu PF has no cash,” Madzore charged.
“This budget presentation is a façade, Parliament has not even given us our fuel coupons (for the Victoria Falls trip).”
Former Harare executive mayor Elias Mudzuri joined in, charging that Mugabe made a mistake by appointing Chinamasa Finance minister.
“This job needs a young man. Chinamasa can’t understand the latest going-ons in the financial world,” the former Energy minister said. “Mugabe should have mercy on his old people.”
Chapfika tried to intervene, saying Chinamasa had a serious mandate to take the country forward.
“We have visitors here from outside and this is disrespectful. Let us be united,” the Zanu PF MP appealed.
But the MDC-T legislators would have none of it.
“This guy should just restrict himself to being a lawyer. Why is Mugabe making him suffer? He does not understand the financial world,” Settlement Chikwinya, MP for Mbizo, said.
However, a clearly agitated Chinamasa eventually hit back saying the MDC-T legislators were still bitter that their party lost the July 31 elections.
“This is not a Zanu PF event but a national one, let us work towards making the nation move forward,” he said.
“I am now not combative as I was as the minister of Justice.
“I have been listening to deliberations but the problem is that MDC people do not want to listen to reason.”
He charged that those referring to him as minister without finance were silly, saying Zanu PF would deliver on its election promises.
Chinamasa told the legislators the government would prioritise the welfare of civil servants in the 2014 budget to be unveiled later this month.
He said other priority areas would be support to national programmes, the 2013-2014 summer crop and livestock programme, reducing the stock of domestic payment arrears and non-accumulation of new arrears, servicing of external loans, improving the delivery of social services and reducing the infrastructural deficit.