PARLIAMENTARIANS from across the political divide have been getting quotations for vehicles in an effort to force the broke Zimbabwe government to purchase vehicles which they argue are crucial to fulfilling their mandates.
The legislators say government has assured them they would receive about $30 000 each for vehicle purchase hence the move to get quotations.
The MPs have approached several car dealers among them Croco Motors, Zimoco and Paza Buster. The legislators have shown a preference for vehicles such as the Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux and VW Amarok.
Although government has spent close to US$20 million on luxury cars such as Mercedes Benz E350, Toyota Land Cruisers VX200 and SUVs for 26 cabinet ministers, 13 ministers of state and 24 deputies, parliamentarians are yet to receive long-awaited funds to purchase vehicles.
Service chiefs, judiciary officers, provincial ministers of state and heads of government departments have also received new vehicles.
About US$11 million is needed to purchase vehicles for members of Zimbabwe’s bloated legislature comprising 355 legislators.
The legislators, some of whom who have endured the indignity of being kicked out of hotels for failure to pay hotel bills and are owed allowances, are unhappy they have not yet been given money to purchase vehicles although officials in other government departments have taken delivery of top-of-the-range vehicles.
“Progress in acquiring the vehicles is at an advanced stage and there is a directive that legislators should get vehicle quotations from Croco Motors and other dealers,” said one legislator.
Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma told the Zimbabwe Independent this week he did not believe the vehicles would be purchased any time soon.
“There is no money available. When it is available an announcement shall be made,” said Zvoma.
Zanu PF chief whip Joram Gumbo said government had not given the MPs money yet because there were no funds.
“There is a vehicle scheme, the Parliamentary Vehicle Scheme Revolving Fund, where the Ministry of Finance supplies funds and interested MPs have a choice of borrowing US$30 000 payable within parliament’s tenure. The money is not given in cash”, he said.
“However at the moment the Ministry of Finance has not availed any money to the revolving fund and members have been asking me and the MDC chief whip (Innocent) Gonese when they can access the money and we told them once the money is there we will let them know. However because of anxiety the MPs started running around looking for quotations and most approached Croco Motors maybe in the belief that their vehicles are much more affordable while others approached Zimoco, Paza Buster Car Sales and Mazda.”
Parliament still owes an estimated US$750 000 in hotel bills from the previous session and legislators from the previous parliament are also owed sitting allowances ranging between US$10 000 to US$20 000 each depending on attendances accumulated from 2009. The allowance was pegged at US$75 a sitting.