Lloyd Gumbo Harare Bureau
PARLIAMENTARIANS say they are now living like paupers and have lost their dignity in the eyes of the public. They said while the Constitution provided that the three arms of the State – the Executive, Judiciary and Legislature – were equal, it was the legislature that was treated with disgust. MPs from across the political divide said it was high time they were treated with integrity and dignity.
The legislators were debating a report on Zimbabwe’s delegation to the consultations with the Pan African Parliament and other regional Parliaments on the provision of Constitutionalism and rule of law in Africa that was held in South Africa in November last year.
Zanu-PF MP for Buhera West, Cde Oliver Mandipaka, moved the motion urging Parliamentarians to play their role in playing an oversight role over the executive. However, MPs said they could not play an oversight role on the executive when they were not treated as equals with the other arms of the State.
Zanu-PF MP for Mutasa South, Cde Irene Zindi, said it was high time legislators rose above partisan politics and collectively discuss issues affecting them. “Why should we allow the Executive to peg our packages? The Executive that we’re talking about has got a package which is way above everybody else and which doesn’t commensurate with the salaries which they’re earning. So, in this instance, what picture are we sending to the members of public at the end of the day?” fumed Cde Zindi.
MDC-T MP for Mashonaland West, Consilia Chinanzvavana, said given their meagre earnings, MPs lived like paupers yet they were expected to meet their cconstituency’s needs.
“How can we represent our people when we’re not fully equipped? As Members of Parliament, we’re ridiculed because when we go back to the people, we don’t have anything to show. There are a lot of challenges that people are facing,” she said.
MDC MP for Matabeleland South, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga added: “The Judiciary doesn’t have to beg. Look at what the Judiciary looks like. They get different cars and they even got farms and all sorts of things because they’re seen as the special ones. The Executive does exactly the same. Who’s a poor cousin? It’s the Legislature and yet these are the people’s representatives.
“The Judiciary or Executive is not a people’s representative. The people’s representatives are ourselves and we need to start asking questions why is it that a person who represents the people out there is treated in the manner that we’re treated?” she queried.
Zanu-PF MP for Uzumba, Cde Simbaneuta Mudarikwa, said it was important for the government to fund Parliamentary business. “There’s no way we can have sovereignty when Parliamentary programmes are sponsored by donors. When a donor sponsors you, you’ve to play to their tune and you’ll have to follow what they’ve to say,” he said.
Added another Zanu-PF MP for Chipinge Central, Cde Raymore Machingura: “Lack of resources has turned people into a psychosomatic disorder. If people have what they’re supposed to have, they’ll give their full attention to Parliament business.”
But Zanu-PF MP for Hurungwe East, Cde Sarah Mahoka, said MPs must take responsibility for passing the budget without looking at their welfare. She said legislators deserved diplomatic passports just like the executive and the judiciary.