US$40 000: It’s not a gift, it’s a loan, says Temba Mliswa

US$40 000: It’s not a gift, it’s a loan, says Temba Mliswa
US$40 000: It’s not a gift, it’s a loan, says Temba Mliswa

US$40 000: It’s not a gift, it’s a loan, says Temba Mliswa

Norton legislator Temba Mliswa has defended the US$40 000 windfall that legislators are going to receive, arguing that it is part of their vehicle loan scheme and not a gift.

Legislators in Zimbabwe are set to receive the money as part of their condition of service.

Zimbabwe has 350 legislators combined (Senators and National Assembly representatives) and if all of them get US$40 000, the total figure will come to US$14 million.

Various Zimbabweans have expressed their displeasure with the move, arguing that the country should use the money to acquire the much-needed critical equipment in hospitals.

However, Honourable Mliswa has been instrumental in lobbying for hefty perks for legislators, saying the money was approved in previous budgets as part of the vehicle loan scheme.

‘’Just want to provide context and an explanation about the US$40 000 to be given to legislators. I’m the Chairperson of the Welfare Committee Pressure Group. That figure isn’t a gift but it’s a loan.

‘’Again, initially and as approved in the Budget, MPs had been given US$80 000 for cars. However, they acquired vehicles for US$50 000 leaving a US$30K change. It’s part of that figure

‘’It’s also unfortunate that people operate with a mindset that MPs shouldn’t be supported in accordance with their offices and obligations. Every role and job has conditions of service. These are part of that. Why should the role of being an MP be dangerous, risky and yet thankless?

The self-styled legislator said it is difficult for Parliamentarians to be effective in their oversight role when they are not capacitated to the same tune as the executive and other arms of the government.

‘’How can we be effective in positions of oversight over the executive and other arms of government when we are not capacitated?

‘’Look at what the judiciary and the executive get. How do you oversee such arms of government from a position of dire poverty?

MPs are being treated unfairly

He said it was not fair that people did not complain when ministers and their deputies were given loans ranging from US$500 000 and US$350 000 under the same scheme.

Mliswa said underpaid legislators are fertile ground for corruption.

‘’We are on Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) medical aid, and it doesn’t work. Fees we pay for ourselves.

‘’Ministers got US$500 000, Deputy Ministers US$350 000. We get US$40 000 and suddenly everyone is an economist attacking us! We are the poor and dull cousins who give more and get less in return really.

‘’Let’s continue with this line of thinking and what you get at the end of the day is corruption with MPs susceptible to bribes due to dire situations.

‘’Look at (Honourable Mayor) Wadyajena’s Agriculture Committee where the MPs have been rendered dumb and obliging to his shenanigans because of money,’’ he said.

Earlier this year, the government agreed to award legislators duty-free import certificates for cars, to replace those they were given under the loan scheme. The legislators had complained that their vehicles are worn out because of the poor state of roads and the many kilometres they travel on coming to Parliament.

Minister of Finance and Economic Development Mthuli Ncube agreed to also award legislators a financial allowance to help them visit their constituencies when Parliament is not sitting.

Legislators also get fuel coupons, they are booked in hotels when they come for Parliament, they are on a monthly salary and get a sitting allowance for each day they sit on Parliament business. The government also agreed to give them residential stands, among other benefits.

US$40 000: It’s not a gift, it’s a loan, says Temba Mliswa