Former MPs plot demonstration

FORMER parliamentarians are plotting to demonstrate outside Parliament demanding between $10 000 and $20 000 each, which they claim they are owed in sitting allowances since 2009.

VENERANDA LANGA

Outgoing legislators cried foul over their outstanding sitting allowances, saying creditors were now pouncing on them and threatening to attach their property as they failed to service their debts.

Senator-elect for Harare James Makore (MDC-T), former Zanu PF Mbire MP Paul Mazikana and former Chegutu West MP Takalani Matibe (MDC-T) said former legislators were struggling to honour debts due to non-payment of their salaries.

They said individual MPs were owed between $10 000 and $20 000 each in sitting allowances accrued from 2009.

Vice-chairperson of the outgoing Parliamentarians Welfare Committee Ward Nezi (MDC-T) said the MPs were even mooting demonstrations outside Parliament building, as some of
their properties were under threat of attachment due to failure to settle debts they had accrued.

“This is a very sensitive issue because these MPs have been very patient knowing that the government has no money,” he said. “Now that another Parliament is coming, it is just not proper for new MPs to be sworn in when the institution has that debt from the previous Parliament.”

Former Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs minister Eric Matinenga in June advised outgoing MPs to take Parliament to court before 2016 to claim their outstanding allowances.

Clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma, told journalists a fortnight ago that Parliamentarians earned below $2 000 a month, while former legislators said they took home between $850 and $1 100.

The Parliament debt is likely to grow, as the number of legislators has grown from 270 to about 356.

“At the moment I do not know what the perks of the new MPs would be, as we have not yet discussed those things, but they will be announced in due course,” Zvoma said.
“The wage bill, due to the number of legislators, will obviously be higher.”

The Eighth Session of Parliament is set to gobble millions of dollars in salaries, sitting allowances, vehicles and fuel allowances, after an increase in the number of legislators to 356.

Newly-elected MPs are set to take their oaths today to begin work in the legislature, amid fears their wage and salary bill may be difficult to sustain as Parliament still owes $750 000 in hotel bills from the previous Parliament, as well as arrears to former MPs, which had accrued on their sitting allowances pegged at $75 per sitting.

Indications are that if the government purchases vehicles for all the MPs, as is the norm, it will require close to $15 million to purchase entry level vehicles that cost at least $40 000.

Meanwhile newly-elected MPs who went through an induction session at the Parliament of Zimbabwe yesterday said they were very excited to be legislators and expressed optimism that the new Parliament session would be more productive.

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