Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Parliament is struggling to secure more than $1,2 million to buy all-terrain vehicles for about 35 recently sworn-in Members of Parliament, five months after the legislators assumed office through by-elections and proportional representation.
The lawmakers assumed office last year following the recall of 21 MDC-T legislators while others took office thanks to the expulsion of some Zanu-PF legislators who were implicated as belonging to a putschist cabal led by deposed Vice President Joice Mujuru.
Dr Mujuru was fired from both Zanu-PF and Government after she was implicated in a ploy to assassinate President Mugabe among other vices.
Others replaced those that had died while others went into office to replace Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Dr Mujuru who ceased to be Members of Parliament after they were elevated to be Vice President respectively at various intervals.
Since their swearing in, most of them have been using their own vehicles despite the fact that the majority of legislators took delivery of parliamentary vehicles during the commencement of First Session of the Eight Parliament that came into effect after the July 2013 harmonised elections.
Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda confirmed the failure by Parliament to secure vehicles for the new legislators.
“We have not yet provided some MPs with vehicles. We give each of them a maximum of $35 000 worth of vehicles. We have an obligation to provide them with the vehicles but we are still hamstrung by financial resources because Treasury has not made disbursements to that effect,” said Mr Chokuda.
Most Members of Parliament in the current session took delivery of Ford Ranger offroad vehicles as part fulfilment of Parliament’s vehicle loan scheme.
The legislators are not allowed to sell the vehicle before the expiry of their term as it is meant for easy mobility in their respective constituencies and attending Parliament sittings.
Treasury released $12,2 million for the procurement of the vehicles for all the legislators at the commencement of Eighth Parliament.
This come as Parliament has instituted proceedings against expelled legislators to pay for the vehicles extended to them before their ejection.
Parliament administration has since written to the MPs informing them about their indebtedness arising from the vehicles that they took delivery of and were yet to pay.
Also being pursued is whether Parliament could not recover its money through an offset from sitting allowances of those expelled legislators provided that the figure is higher than the sums they owe.