By Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S MPs Friday refused to start their pre-2018 budget seminar before they were addressed over their long outstanding allowances and the disbursement of their Constituency Development Fund (CDF) allocations by Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo.
The mini-job action was staged just as they prepared to start the seminar at Harare’s Pandhari Lodge.
MPs are owed in excess on $15 million by government while they are also demanding CDF allocations before their terms expire next year.
When the meeting was about to start Friday morning, Tafara-Mabvuku legislator James Maridadi (pictured) asked for MPs to be excused in order to have a closed door meeting with Chombo.
“I would like to humbly suggest that all people who don’t answer to the words ‘Member of Parliament’ leave this room so that we can discuss this issue once and for all.
“I am unhappy that we have over 300 MPs but there is less than half of that here,” Maridadi said.
National Assembly speaker Jacob Mudenda tried to block the discussion insisting the MPs’ outstanding allowances would be paid in due course but was overwhelmed by legislators from all represented parties who insisted the matter should be ironed out immediately.
Journalists, presenters to the seminar and parliament’s support staff were all asked to vacate the auditorium for a meeting that lasted over an hour.
Zimbabwe’s MPs earn $2000 a month and are also entitled to sitting allowances of $75.
They are also demanding government to honour its pledges to issue them with iPads and lapstops.
The Friday incident was a carryover from Thursday’s in which MPs refused to debate motions before the house as they demanded the payment of their dues.
The decision to confront government over unpaid allowances comes just when the political campaign season starts with a good number of them likely not to return after next year’s polls.
MPs are apprehensive they may not receive their outstanding allowances after many of those from the previous parliament failed to receive all their dues by the time they ceased to be legislators.
The country’s lawmakers have often been accused of putting a lot of energies towards issues to do with their welfare while failing to display the same amount of zeal on issues to do with the plight of ordinary citizens who voted them into parliament.
Zimbabwe’s parliament has failed to put the country’s extravagant executive to account in their exercise of an oversight role on the governing arm of the State.