Movement for Democratic Change Member of Parliament for Musikavanhu Prosper Mutseyami says the current debate on corruption in parliament should not just be talk. Those who stole must be arrested and the money they stole must be recovered.
Mutseyami said corruption was rampant in parastatals because there was no adequate supervision. He said some people were sitting on the boards of seven to nine parastatals so that they could make money.
“Parliament should put a stop to that practice…… The problem is that we now have career board members who sit on various boards for instance, seven to nine parastatals have a single member. That single member will spread the virus of corruption to all the seven to nine boards that he or she sits on. There should be adequate supervision by the responsible parent ministers of these parastatals so that if it is possible, there should be one member to sit on one board,” he said.
He said boards were supposed to sit quarterly but because board members want to make money they just hold meetings , “just to see each other” and are paid allowances of up to US$10 000 for a half hour meeting.
“Even if you are absent from the board meeting, you are paid the allowance…. I just hope that our deliberations will not just end here but will result in those that stole to be arrested. Not only should they be arrested, after the arrests, we would want to recover the monies that they stole so that the money goes to the State coffers. If the money cannot be found, we want the houses that they bought auctioned and the profits returned to the government.”
MR. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for according me this opportunity. I would like to thank the honourable member for moving this motion. It is quite a remarkable motion which I really appreciate and I would like to thank the House for addressing this motion in unity.
Mr. Speaker Sir, this country Zimbabwe has a Government and this Government has got three arms of State, the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature. Of these three Mr. Speaker Sir, I am sure for every government to run smoothly; we need good governance amongst the officers who are implementing a responsibility as elected or appointed.
Specifically I am looking at the aspect of having the Executive which is meant to have a responsibility and this responsibility is given to them the moment they are sworn in. They would have access to an Executive car and then they would have access to an off road vehicle maybe 24 or 72 hours soon after being sworn in.
Then we have the Legislature now which is voted in by the people, give responsibility to serve the people, three to seven months down the line, nothing has come on board for them. But, when we come to governance, these people are meant to do their duties fully with the aspiration of being resourced fully by the same Government. Then, that Legislature is expected to supervise the Executive with their poor pockets.
How do you explain a living scenario Mr. Speaker Sir, whereby we have an Executive Officer doing his duties, giving a lift to a member of the Legislature who has nothing and the member is supposed to supervise that Executive when he is poor? Doing an oversight responsibility from a poor stomach, against someone who has got a full stomach; if you look at that Mr. Speaker Sir, strongly, there is an element of influence form the Executive to do otherwise to the Legislature which has got an empty stomach. So that he will survive. So somehow, there is spiritual build-up to influence corruption in that sense.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I think it is paramount that when we are dealing with these arms of State, that we empower them according to what they are supposed to get and not for things to be done in terms of who is who and who is where. Mr. Speaker Sir, it is just food for thought to the Executive. They must appreciate the Legislature, we, Members of Parliament just like they appreciate the responsibility of the Executive.
No one is a super power. Every arm has got its responsibilities as enshrined in the Constitution and they must be respected. If they are meant to have vehicles, if they are meant to have fuel, let it be. Not to let it happen otherwise. Mr. Speaker Sir, with your full indulgence, I would now go into my vernacular, if you may pardon me for that cause.
*Mr. Speaker, if we look at this matter and look in the local government, we look at the entire country and its current state but we observe that in the local government, some of the issues they talk about, we do not want to be partisan. The issue is that what is there has to be said and has to be scrutinised across the political divide, two to three months, you will observe that the councilor will be richer than the Members of Parliament.
Where has this wealth come from? If you look at it, the councilor has a commercial stand, an industrial stand and other perks. They are working together with the local board to enjoy the money. These things should be looked at. There should be a way to put a stop to these practices.
If you look at a particular Minister regardless of his political party, you hear that he has stands all over the country and you say it is his money because he has bought all the stands. Where will he have gotten that money from? You do not need a rocket scientist to know. If you get to the bottom of the things you will unravel corruption. You see that there is a fish in the dam but we say its flying. We should catch all the fish whether they are in the dam or flying; not to look at one type of fish only.
Mr. Speaker, when you look at the issue of money, the salaries that are earned in this country by those in the parastatals, it is painful indeed. We had a workshop at the Rainbow Towers where we were taught about taxation by ZIMRA officials. A question was posed on how much Mr. Gershem Pasi earned? He said there was no problem with his salary. When we looked at his salary, we found that he earned US$310 000. Mr. Speaker, all of us at Parliament can be paid from that money and some change left.
As Parliament, we have a representative function and an oversight function. Through our various committees, we should do our work fully. Our committees or the Chairpersons of these committees should not be threatened at our various political parties. We should do our work in a clear and transparent manner without fear or favour. For us to have such powers to do so, there should be a stop on this issue of the provision of adequate fuel supply for Parliament throughout the life of Parliament.
This idea of there being fuel for one week and the next week there is no fuel will lead to apathy. This apathy in the attendance of hon. members will then breed corruption. The Committee should be empowered to call anyone they would want to seek evidence from, whether private sector or parastatals. Any person that is called by the committees, the committees should be resourced to go out and do investigations without any difficulties.
Furthermore, there should be adequate power to show that the people who are being called before the committees do not give excuses, for example, ill health. Mr. Speaker, we call Mr. Mupingu to appear before the Committee on Local Government, he says, this week I am ill, the same with the following week, that should be addressed. This is an example that I am giving, I am not saying this is the actual state of the affairs.
As Parliament, we should be given adequate resources to enable us to do our work without grumbling, so that we can do it without fear. Furthermore, as we work as Parliament, we should have the results that are self evident about theft that occurred so, that the public acknowledges that Parliament is working properly because of the results that we produce.
I will go to another issue Mr. Speaker Sir. This country has people who fought for the liberation struggle. If you go to the communal lands, some of them are ill, if being caused by their contributions during the liberation war. They are not getting adequate medication. People look at them as they are suffering yet we have individuals earning US$230 000.
When we had the liberation struggle, the war veteran in particular, were hidden in the communal areas for them to be able to phone and say, so and so has passed on so that a coffin could be procured and they could have a decent burial but some of them ended up being given a pauper’s burial. They will not be accorded gun salutes because communication will not have been done properly and yet there are people in parastatals earning US$230 000 to US$300 000 when people are suffering.
Parliament should put a stop to that practice. Mr. Speaker Sir, when we look at this painful experience, you will see that the disease that is in the parastatals, is not akin to one parastatal. The problem is that we now have career board members who sit on various boards for instance, seven to nine parastatals have a single member. That single member will spread the virus of corruption to all the seven to nine boards that he or she sits on. There should be adequate supervision by the responsible parent Ministers of these parastatals so that if it is possible, there should be one member to sit on one board.
Why is it that we have single individuals on ten boards? Do we not have adequate people to sit on these other boards? Mr. Speaker, if you look at board members and if you were to look at Mr. Charamba, one board member per sitting and maybe for half an hour sitting, an individual is paid US$10 000. They are given US$10 000 for coming up with useless policies. They were supposed to sit quarterly and they realised that the funding was inadequate. So they said, no, let us have other meetings where we just see one another. Even if you are absent from the board meeting, you are paid the allowance.
Thank you Mr. Speaker, for the contribution that I have made. I just hope that our deliberations will not just end here but will result on those that stole to be arrested, not only should they be arrested. After the arrests, we would want to recover the monies that they stole so that the money goes to the State coffers. If the money cannot be found, we want the houses that they bought auctioned and the profits returned to the Government. Thank you.