MPs demand $15m unpaid allowances •disrupt pre-budget briefing seminar •Speaker promises to take action

Cde Jacob Mudenda

Cde Jacob Mudenda

Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter—
THE start of a pre-budget briefing seminar was delayed yesterday after legislators demanded that Speaker of the National Assembly addresses them on the payment of their outstanding sitting allowances and other benefits. MPs are owed $15 million in outstanding sitting allowances, while Parliament owes hotels and other service providers approximately $3 million.The delay yesterday followed disruption of business in the National Assembly on Thursday after angry legislators from across the political divide refused to debate motions until the issue of their welfare had been addressed. Before the beginning of yesterday’s seminar, Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda, who has been away on leave, acknowledged the outstanding debt to parliamentarians.

“We can solve our problems provided we put our heads together. Nothing is impossible, everything will be alright. What remains outstanding shall all be done. I say this in the presence of the Minister of Finance (Dr Ignatius Chombo) because I have a good relationship with him,” he said. Mabvuku-Tafara House of Assembly member Honourable James Maridadi however asked the Speaker to consider discussing the critical issue before they deliberated on the budget.

“I would like to humbly suggest that all people who don’t answer to the words ‘Member of Parliament’ leave this room so that we can discuss this issue once and for all. I am unhappy that we have over 300 MPs but there is less than half of that here,” Mr Maridadi said. Adv Mudenda tried to block the discussion, reiterating that the MPs would be paid what was due to them.

‘Unfortunately, I rule you out of order because what you have raised in Parliament I have been fully briefed (on). I have engaged the Minister of Finance and what is outstanding shall be paid,” Adv Mudenda said. The MPs would have none of it, insisting no business would be conducted until their concerns were addressed. Journalists, parliamentary staff and various presenters at the seminar were asked to leave the conference room while the MPs and the Speaker discussed the matter. The legislators also want Government to disburse Constituency Development Funds, to issue them with diplomatic passports and provide security details for each parliamentarian, among other requests.

They also want Government to honour a pledge made last year to provide them with iPads. MPs earn a fixed salary of $2 000 and receive a sitting allowance of $75. Some of the debts owed to parliamentarians stretch as far back as the Seventh Session of Parliament. Speaking after the meeting that lasted over an hour, Advocate Mudenda said the issue of outstanding allowances would be addressed by the end of this month. He added that he had engaged Minster Chombo for Treasury to avail funds so that Parliament pays its creditors.

“Condition of service, that was the major issue and we should be able to resolve these issues before the end of this month, and I think everyone would be happy. But in terms of the budget, the ball rests with them as members of parliament because they are the ones who pass the budget and that budget must contain the conditions of service to their satisfaction. But if they pass the budget all the time without any qualms at all, it’s their fault. They are raising issues at the end of the Fifth Session of the Eighth Parliament, which issues should have been raised since 2013 and attended to accordingly,” Adv Mudenda said.

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  • nelson moyo

    Comrade Jacob Mudenda looks very well and happy and well fed

  • Kitsiyatotata

    You deserve it because you always vote on issues along partisan lines. Work together to trim the number of foreign trips of your executive arm. Put proper legislation in place to curb corruption. Demand accountability from everyone who gets a cheque from your treasury. Demand each ministry’s expenditure records and scrutinize them in open parliamentary hearings. Stop labeling each other as puppets when one demands accountability because even us the masses are demanding accountability and we are no one’s puppets.

    Instead of solving issues I think everyone is bent on bleeding the country further as even the MPs are now seeing the advantage of being in possession of a diplomatic passport in terms of crossing the border without being scrutinised and the ease of looting the RBZ to attend useless meetings.

  • Regai Tsunga

    How are they (MPs) servicing their Parliamentary vehicle loans? Get the outstanding amounts allocated to vehicle loan repayments

  • Mujokochera Wamujokochera

    The reason you haven’t been paid your allowances comrades is the devilish economic sanctions. These sanctions have not spared anyone, including our beloved Amai who had to order a ring worth a mere USD 1.35 million. Yes, a mere ONE point three five million dollars comrades. A mere $1.35 million for Amai’s ring shuwa here macomrades? Sanctions comrades, sanctions !

  • Tindo

    This is real drama in happening here. Suddenly we now have MPs who consider their being elected as employment! Come 2018 we need to boot these guys out of parliament. What have they contributed to the good of the country to deserve such luxuries? Tsve pasi business chairo that they were elected for vakuita mademonstrations zvavo. this justifies why the numbers of MPs should be slashed. We want only serious people at parliament not these jokes

  • Gushungo WekuGP

    You cannot even pay the mercenaries? You say you are running a successful country? Haa tibvirei apa.

  • Cynic

    Here we go again! Zimbabwe’s bloated Parliament “demanding” their sitting allowances when the majority of MPs simply sign in their 5 minute presence and then disappear for the rest of the session. What’s the logic behind importing expensive forex devouring USA designed and foreign manufactured iPads, when many MPs lack the intelligence to fully exploit them other than sexting to their small houses or streaming porn videos? If we are to believe Government’s indigenisation rhetoric, Zimbabwe should restrict itself to home grown technologies it is capable of manufacturing itself. After all, China’s civilisations managed their economy for thousands of years using the abacus (counting with beads), and American scientists and engineers designed skyscrapers and the Saturn 5 rocket for the 1969 moon landing using mechanical slide-rules. Aren’t Zimbabweans with tens of thousands of graduates churned out every year capable of innovation?
    Let’s start with reducing Cabinet to 10, have only one VP, fire all deputies, squeeze parliament to only the 100 MPs who make the effort to regularly attend sessions, and abolish the Senate. Maybe then the nation and Treasury will be able to afford a streamlined legislature?

  • Mujokochera Wamujokochera

    This forum is intended for grown up HUMANS who are at least capable of COMPREHENDING simple stuff if they can’t contribute anything sensible. Not that anyone really cares if you continue buzzing on though.