MPs de­mand their dues in USD

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Zva­maida Mur­wira Se­nior Re­porter

MEM­BERS of Par­lia­ment are de­mand­ing their Con­stituency De­vel­op­ment Fund and out­stand­ing al­lowances to be paid in for­eign cur­rency and also to be is­sued duty free cer­tifi­cates to im­port ve­hi­cles ahead of the ex­piry of their term of of­fice next year.

Some leg­is­la­tors have also de­manded that the CDF be dis­trib­uted to every­one in­clud­ing non-con­stituency leg­is­la­tors to avoid un­fair ad­van­tage on those with ge­o­graph­i­cal con­stituen­cies.

Th­ese de­mands were made dur­ing a mo­tion in the Na­tional As­sem­bly last week to adopt the CDF con­sti­tu­tion, which gives guide­lines for its dis­burse­ment to en­sure ac­count­abil­ity.

In his con­tri­bu­tion, Nor­ton MP Mr Temba Mliswa (in­de­pen­dent) de­manded to know the cur­rency that the Ex­ec­u­tive would use in the dis­burse­ment of the CDF and their out­stand­ing al­lowances given that bond notes were in prac­tice not equiv­a­lent to the United States dol­lar.

“I asked yes­ter­day in what cur­rency are we go­ing to be given the out­stand­ing money be­cause our coun­try says one US dol­lar is equal to one bond note but what is hap­pen­ing on the ground is the op­po­site,” said Mr Mliswa.

“We want the Gov­ern­ment to dis­burse this money in US dol­lars

and not RTGS or bond notes, which re­quires one to top up with a cer­tain per­cent­age.

“The rate of de­pre­ci­a­tion of the US dol­lar is far much bet­ter com­pared to bond notes. We want this con­sid­er­a­tion to be taken on board that the CDF be dis­bursed in for­eign cur­rency.” Mr Mliswa said there was need to make a once off pay­ment of $50 000 of their CDF in­stead of get­ting it in dribs and drabs for it to make a mean­ing­ful im­pact. Buhera West MP Cde Oliver Mandi­paka (Zanu-PF) said it was im­por­tant that their con­cerns should not be mis­con­strued to mean that they were greedy leg­is­la­tors be­cause they were in most cases us­ing their own re­sources to fund ac­tiv­i­ties in their con­stitu- en­cies. Zanu-PF Chief Whip Cde Love­more Matuke sup­ported the idea of the leg­is­la­tors get­ting du­tyfree ve­hi­cles ar­gu­ing that those they got un­der the Par­lia­men­tary Ve­hi­cle Loan Scheme were no longer ser­vice­able.

“Go­ing for­ward, we re­quest that the Min­is­ter of Fi­nance and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment ad­dresses the is­sues that were raised by Hon Mem­bers for duty-free cer­tifi­cates to im­port ve­hi­cles be­cause most of their ve­hi­cles are di­lap­i­dated,” said Cde Matuke. On CDF, leg­is­la­tors - mostly pro­por­tion­ate rep­re­sen­ta­tion MPs - said the money should not be re­stricted to those with ge­o­graph­i­cal con­stituen­cies num­ber­ing 210 but all the 350 law­mak­ers.

Bu­l­awayo MP and MDC-T vice pres­i­dent Ms Thokozani Khupe said in the Stand­ing Rules and Or­ders com­mit­tee, there was no dis­tinc­tion be­tween a pro­por­tion­ate rep­re­sen­ta­tive MP or one that is not hence the need to al­lo­cate the CDF to all the 350 leg­is­la­tors.

Kuwadzana MP Ad­vo­cate Nel­son Chamisa (MDC-T), who was steer­ing the mo­tion, shot down the pro­posal to give all MPs CDF ar­gu­ing that non-con­stituency MPs and Sen­a­tors would par­tic­i­pate as ex-of­fi­cio mem­bers.

“If there is any de­bate, which is con­sti­tu­tional, it has to be ad­dressed con­sti­tu­tion­ally, but the Con­sti­tu­tion is very clear, we have 210 con­stituen­cies and that is where we are go­ing to have our re­sources dis­bursed,” said Adv Chamisa, who chairs the Le­gal and Pro­ce­dure Sub-com­mit­tee of the SROC.

— Pic­ture by Tawanda Mudimu

Zim­babwe Pris­ons and Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices ( ZPCS) Chap­lin Ju­dith Rug­wiji bap­tises Cathrine Chigu at Chiku­rubi Fe­male Prison last Satur­day. ZPCS’s man­date is re­ha­bil­i­tate in­mates so that they can suc­cess­ful rein­te­grate into so­ci­ety.

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