By Staff Reporter
INDEPENDENT legislator for Norton, Temba Mliswa on Wednesday took Finance Minister to task over the latter’s pronouncements government was indefinitely withholding the purchase of cars for ministers and MPs in order to redirect scarce resources towards priority areas.
Ncube said during parliament’s question and answer session that government has cut down on “lavish” foreign travel by ministers and other government delegations, adding, “locally we have not authorised the purchase of vehicles for Ministers so far and also for Members of Parliament”.
But this did not go down well with the fiery lawmaker who demanded his own vehicle saying Ministers and Zanu PF MPs were already privileged with ownership of cars from government and their party.
“We are only entitled to one car yet they have got a 4 X 4, Mercedes Benz and they are also entitled to cars from parastatals.
“So, can the honourable Minister justify why Members of Parliament are put in the same category when we are expected to perform?” Mliswa said.
He said MPs needed their cars as soon as was possible insisting that they had a mandate to fulfil almost immediately.
“Zanu PF honourable members were given cars before the elections and the opposition including myself do not have cars,” Mliswa said.
“We cannot have a situation where there was money spent by the ruling party to buy the cars and members of the opposition do not have cars – so it is not balanced.
“In terms of priority, can he then prioritise members of the opposition to get cars because members of Zanu PF have got cars.”
However, Mliswa’s demands were in total contrast with his 2014 statements when he became Zanu PF MP for Hurungwe.
At the time, the former fitness trainer turned lawmaker refused to accept an official vehicle through the Parliamentary Vehicle Loan Scheme, arguing that the facility should instead be used to develop poor constituencies.
In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Mail, at the time, Mliswa said most MPs already owned vehicles and should not have, therefore, been considered ahead of constituency needs.
“Some of my colleagues might need a car, but I certainly do not,” he said at the time.
“We have not yet received the Constituency Development Fund and this should have been an opportunity for us to be given an option of helping our constituencies with that money.
“We should have had options instead of a car. I would have liked to use my money to renovate a school or a clinic in my constituency. In fact, why should MPs with cars be offered cars? Why should cattle without ticks be taken to a dip tank?”