LESS than two months after being pampered with US$40 000 housing loans that divided public opinion countrywide, legislators are now mourning over not being paid sitting allowances for nearly five months.
The housing loans caused fissures within the opposition circles especially the Citizens Coalition for Change after party leader Nelson Chamisa criticised his members for accepting the monies which he described as bribes from the Zanu PF-led government.
On Wednesday, Independent Norton legislator Temba Mliswa raised a point of privilege in Parliament saying the matter of unpaid allowances needed to be addressed urgently.
“My point of national interest is sad because we seem to be seized with it and I know that it has a lot of unnecessary responsibility. It is about the welfare of the MPs, in particular their outstanding allowances — they have not received their outstanding allowances from September,” Mliswa said.
“On allowances, we did not get our monies, especially after coming from the pre-budget seminar. This was in November, so we actually thought that since we had pre-budget in November, all the outstanding issues would be taken care of.”
He added: “We then went on a break; there are field visits that are also outstanding in terms of payments. The rate was $600 to US$1 at that time and now it has gone to $1 200, so we are merely getting half of what we were supposed to get.
“So it is really out of that and the pre-budget Mr Speaker Sir, also alluded to the fact that the Standing Orders Committee would sit down to come up with a way forward in terms of accommodation and allowances for MPs for those who do not stay in hotels.”
Speaker of the House of Assembly Jacob Mudenda then promised to take up the matter with Treasury.
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“Now five months is not good enough; we will take it up with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development (Mthuli Ncube) to ensure that your outstanding allowances are paid,” Mudenda said.
Government has offered a US$40 000 loan to each sitting MP, US$500 000 for individual Cabinet ministers and US$350 000 for their deputies.