Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
More than 40 legislators were humiliated this week after they were booted out of a local hotel over non-payment of accommodation fees by Parliament. Parliament administrators were forced to move in and provide the legislators with accommodation with other hotels that have not cracked their whip as Parliament struggled to pay service providers.
Sources said about 40 MPs were on Monday booted out of Crowne Plaza, a subsidiary of African Sun Hotel amid indications that other hotels would do the same on legislators booked in its other subsidiary like Holiday Inn.
Government Chief Whip, Cde Joram Gumbo, confirmed the development yesterday.
“Yes some of the MPs were booted out of Crowne Plaza because Treasury has not been paying. The hotel wants its money so we have moved the MPs to other hotels,” said Cde Gumbo who could not say how many MPs were affected.
During yesterday’s National Assembly sitting, Proportionate Representative MP Ms Spiwe Muchenje (MDC-T), asked Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi, what his Ministry was doing to deal with African Sun hotel which ejected the legislators.
But Acting Speaker of the National Assembly Cde Melody Dziva, ruled the question out of order saying administration of Parliament was dealing with the issue.
African Sun acting chief executive officer, Mr Edwin Shangwa and Crowne Plaza general manager, Mr Ignatious Katsidzira, were both said to be in meetings by their personal assistants when The Herald called their offices.
Acting Clerk of Parliament Dr Andreas Rukobo, said they had since secured accommodation for MPs in other hotels.
“What is important for us now is that there is no MP who has no accommodation. There are other hotels like Rainbow, Meikles and others who are accepting our MPs. Maybe African Sun has got issues which we hope will be discussed and resolved. I have not seen an MP who has no accommodation,” said Dr Rukobo.
He, however, declined to give details of Parliament’s indebtedness to Crowne Plaza.
A source at Parliament said Treasury and hotels had an offset facility in which the Ministry of Finance would liquidate its indebtedness to hotels through taxes that they owed to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.
“Treasury has suspended that offset facility and that might have triggered African Sun to take that drastic action,” said the source.