MPs Salary: We are only getting ZW$200 000 per month
Legislators in the National Assembly have continued their quest for better remuneration and improved welfare, with the revelation that they are getting about ZW$200 000 monthly salary.
The salary (ZW$200 000) is about US$302 if converted using the current official rate (US$1: ZW$661) from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe auction system.
Parliamentarians told the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Tsitsi Gezi that their salaries are the lowest in the region and are also below the poverty datum line.
They proposed that it is better for them to be given the money that is spent in booking hotel accommodation so that they can sort out their accommodation.
Legislators, especially those from out of Harare, are booked in hotels when they come for Parliament business.
Zimbabwe has about 350 legislators, with the majority of them coming from out of Harare.
Speaking on behalf of the legislators, Norton legislator Temba Mliswa said they stay in hotels not because they want, but because they have no other choice.
Below is the full text of Honourable Mliswa’s speech:
HON. T. MLISWA: My point of national interest is to do with the welfare of Members of Parliament generally it is of national interest because this institution is critical regarding the governance of this country.
Madam Speaker, on the benchmarking exercises which have been done by this Parliament to various places in the SADC region, our Parliament is the least paid. As we speak, we used to be paid 70 000 RTGS, it has now gone up to 200 000 which is a mere US$150; it is even below the poverty datum line which is about $500. I would like to urge the Government to ensure that an institution like Parliament cannot be compromised. There are a lot of corruption cases, allegations in this Parliament and that emanate from the welfare of the Members of Parliament. There are so many Committees as well that are involved in these cases of corruption; Members are being paid money by certain businesspeople so that they do not bring up issues because we are not well capacitated.
If you look at the amount of money that is spent on accommodation alone, Members of Parliament can at least be given $150 000 to $200 000 each time they come to Parliament for the five years of their tenure. They do not stay in hotels but then the Government itself does not see the need of empowering them yet they spend the money paying for hotels. If that money was to be calculated, each Member of Parliament would have a house and not stay in hotels.
We do not stay in hotels because we want to stay in hotels, but we stay in hotels because we have no option, and Parliament sends us there. It is important that monies be calculated to ensure that people will have an option. We are not young children; a Member of Parliament must choose either to be given the amount of money which is going to be spent on accommodation and they do not stay in hotels. However, if one chooses to stay in a hotel that is okay. I am talking about money that is budgeted for. Why is it that we have never been given an option to take that money and use it for our own accommodation?
Once again, who is making money from us staying in hotels? It also opens a can of corruption itself. We have a right to choose whether to stay in hotels and/or not stay in hotels. The dignity of Members of Parliament has totally been affected. Members of Parliament are being kicked out of hotels all the time they come and so forth. Nobody cares about it.
Madam Speaker, the reason why and I want this to be on record, the reason why other Members of Parliament (I want the media to capture this) were seen sleeping in the new Parliament building is that they are used to stay in brothels and are used to sleeping in cars. It was the first time they were in a very comfortable position. So, you cannot blame Members of Parliament who are sleeping in cars and who are sleeping in brothels. So, it was the first time they encountered comfort, how can you blame them?
They slept because they do not sleep in good accommodation. To me, that again must show that as long as we are not given good accommodation, we will continue to sleep. It is very difficult for them to sleep here because we are congested but at the new Parliament, you could see that they were quite comfortable.
Madam Speaker, I would also like other political party leaders, especially Adv. Chamisa to really understand being a lawyer that the Members of Parliament who are here have a contract with Parliament and not with the party. I do not know why he gets involved. He can expel his members, but he cannot whip them, so he must understand the contractual issues. He was a Member of Parliament, so I expect him to stand for other Members of Parliament because he knows how we have suffered. We do not want such hypocrisy for a leader who deals with putting up his structure at CCC while we as Parliament do not get our money at the end of the day. We cannot allow him to just say what he is saying. He cannot be a one-man horse in that party. I do not know why other members of his party have not asked him who he is talking to – there is no structure. He must stay out of Parliament business – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. T. Mliswa, you have raised very important issues concerning Members of Parliament’s welfare, I am sure that has been taken care of by those who are supposed to be solving all those issues concerning Members of Parliament.-
MPs Salary: We are only getting ZW$200 000 per month