Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Norton Member of Parliament Mr Temba Mliswa’s double standards have been exposed after making a major climbdown on the conditions of service for legislators where he has of late been vocal demanding that legislators should get their full benefits, despite his initial refusal to take delivery of a parliamentary vehicle three years ago.
Mr Mliswa has of late been leading the disruption of parliamentary business to force the Executive to accede to their demands to be paid sitting allowances and Constituency Development Fund. Last Wednesday, Mr Mliswa had to be ejected from Parliament chamber for disorderly conduct after he traded accusations with Harare South MP Cde Shadreck Mashayamombe (Zanu-PF) whom he heckled after he implored fellow legislators to be patient.
This was after Cde Mashayamombe implored backbenchers led by Mr Mliswa to give time to recently appointed Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Retired Major-General Happyton Bonyongwe, who had indicated that he needed time to look into their grievances. After Cde Mashayamombe appealed for backbenchers to be patient, Mr Mliswa accused him of being a land baron among other insults he hurled.
Mr Mliswa became so rowdy in the chamber that he even heckled Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, who had risen to clarify some of the issues raised, particularly who the Leader of the House was. His aggression in demanding that Government pay MPs their full benefits was in sharp contrast with what he has been saying before he was fired in 2014 over his alliance with deposed former Vice President Joice Mujuru.
Before his expulsion from Zanu-PF where he was Hurungwe West MP, Mr Mliswa refused to take delivery of parliamentary vehicles saying that was a waste of taxpayers’ money. When contacted for comment, Mr Mliswa claimed that he had refused to accept Parliament vehicle on a position of principle in that he wanted Government to secure from local car assembly Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries.
“And now on the welfare of MPs, a salary for MPs is something, which is contractually agreed upon. Failure by Government to pay these allowances would compromise the representative and oversight function. I see parliamentarians selling coupons since they survive on politics being their only source of income,” said Mr Mliswa.
“Their allowances are their right. I am fighting for them, though I do not really need them. I am coming from a business background, I have benefited from the land reform and I have a farm. What about those who do not have?”