Buhera South legislator Joseph Chinotimba yesterday complained that some Members of Parliament were on Monday forced to sleep in their cars because they could not find accommodation as some hotels were demanding cash upfront.
He said one woman legislator was saved by her male colleague who offered her his accommodation when she failed to find her own.
Chinotimba said he was told by the chief whip that Parliament had no money.
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda assured Chinotimba that the problem would be resolved because Parliament’s budget had been approved so money for accommodation should be availed.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: I also rise on a matter of national importance concerning Members of Parliament’s (MPs) accommodation. Yesterday MPs had to sleep in their vehicles because there was no accommodation at hotels. Some MPs who arrived on Sunday were given accommodation but those who arrived on Monday did not get accommodation. The hotel administration said an upfront payment should be made. We enquired from our Chief Whips who said Parliament has said they cannot pay – Treasury said they want to pay a certain amount which is not what Parliament needs for hotel accommodation. Up to this day, there are some MPs who do not have hotel accommodation and are still sleeping in their vehicles. Maybe this is happening because we are coming to the end of our term – we do not understand.
We know you Mr. Speaker as someone who stands up for us even during budget time. May you intervene with regards to accommodation or maybe arrange for virtual meetings or we close for some time until this is resolved. We will only have a problem of connection since there is no electricity most of the time and electricity poles are falling – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I saw a female MP who had nowhere to sleep and one male MP had to give up his accommodation to her and he slept in his car. We have to pass a lot of Bills and I do not think virtual is ideal. May you please intervene with regards to this issue Mr. Speaker? – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Chinotimba. I was told by the Clerk of Parliament about the issue and he told me that he spoke to Mr. Guvamatanga, the Permanent Secretary. I believe that Treasury is going to pay so that Hon. Members have accommodation. – [HON. CHINOTIMBA: Inaudible interjection.] – You have engaged me, so why not wait until the end of the day; this issue is going to be resolved this afternoon.
If there is a challenge, we are going to escalate the issue like what we did regarding the Delimitation Report. We had a challenge like the one that we are facing and we engaged His Excellency the President. His Excellency then gave an instruction that there should be payment of that money. So we do not want to continue engaging His Excellency as if he is the Minister of Finance. The budget is there, Parliament passed that budget, so the money should come to Parliament. I thank you.