Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
Parliamentarians say they are now living like paupers and have lost dignity in the eyes of the public.
They said while the Constitution provided that the three arms of the State — Executive, Judiciary and Legislature — were equal, it was the Legislature that was treated with disgust.
MPs from across the political divide said it was high time they were treated with integrity and dignity.
The legislators were debating a report on Zimbabwe’s delegation to the consultations with the Pan African Parliament and other regional Parliaments on the provision of Constitutionalism and rule of law in Africa that was held in South Africa in November last year.
Zanu-PF MP for Buhera West Cde Oliver Mandipaka moved the motion urging Parliamentarians to play their role in playing an oversight role over the Executive.
However, MPs said they could not play an oversight role on the Executive when they were not treated as equals with the other arms of the State.
Zanu-PF MP for Mutasa South, Cde Irene Zindi, said it was high time legislators rose above partisan politics and collectively discuss issues affecting them.
“Why should we allow the Executive to peg our packages? The Executive that we are talking about has got a package which is way above everybody else and which does not commensurate with the salaries which they are earning. So, in this instance, what picture are we imaging to the members of public at the end of the day?” fumed Cde Zindi.
MDC-T MP for Mashonaland West, Ms Consilia Chinanzvavana said given their meagre earnings, MPs lived like paupers yet they were expected to meet their constituency’s needs.
“How can we represent our people when we are not fully equipped? As Members of Parliament, we are ridiculed because when we go back to the people, we do not have anything to show. There are a lot of challenges that people are facing,” she said.
MDC MP for Matabeleland South, Mrs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga added: “The Judiciary does not have to beg. Look at what the Judiciary looks like. They get different cars and they even got farms and all sorts of things because they are seen as the special ones. The Executive does exactly the same. Who is a poor cousin? It is the Legislature and yet these are the people’s representatives.
“The Judiciary or Executive is not a people’s representative. The people’s representatives are ourselves and we need to start asking questions why is it that a person who represents the people out there is treated in the manner that we are treated?” she queried.
Zanu-PF MP for Uzumba, Cde Simbaneuta Mudarikwa, said it was important for Government to fund Parliamentary business.
“There is no way we can have sovereignty when Parliamentary programmes are sponsored by donors. When a donor sponsors you, you have to play to their tune and you will have to follow what they have to say,” he said.
Added another Zanu-PF MP for Chipinge Central, Cde Raymore Machingura: “Lack of resources has tuned people into a psychosomatic disorder. If people have what they are supposed to have, they will give their full attention to Parliament business.”
But Zanu-PF MP for Hurungwe East, Cde Sarah Mahoka said MPs must take responsibility for passing the budget without looking at their welfare.
She said legislators deserved diplomatic passports just like the Executive and the Judiciary.