Independent legislator Temba Mliswa yesterday raised the issue of salaries and packages for Members of Parliament saying the Z$75 legislators were paid per day as sitting allowance was too little as it now translates to US$7.
This is not the first time Mliswa has raised the issue of salaries for legislators raising questions as to whether members are in the House to represent the people or themselves.
Former MDC-T legislator, Obert Gutu, tweeted way back in 2017: “Service & sacrifice should be the rallying call for MPs, not this misguided & selfish call for higher salaries and better perks.”
Here is Mliswa’s full contribution yesterday:
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am. Let me take this opportunity on behalf of all Hon. Members to congratulate Hon. Kirsty Coventry for a baby boy, all the best.
Secondly, I also want to address with a heavy heart the deteriorating situation on the welfare of Members of Parliament. We are an esteemed institution which is complementary to other pillars of the State – the Executive and the Judiciary; equally with a much difficult task of having oversight over these institutions. Madam Speaker I will draw to your attention that despite the high inflation, Members of Parliament have still not been given any increment commensurate with the current inflation.
The Constituency Development Fund of $50 000 which was given means nothing today. It has gone to waste because nothing tangible has been done with that amount of money. The allowances which Members of Parliament are entitled to which is $75 is US$7 if I am not mistaken. Members of Parliament sit in those Committees which is known as the engine room of Parliament to execute their duties but the allowances are next to nothing. Not only that, when those allowances are given, inflation would have played its part. Equally, the staff of this institution suffer the same and it becomes difficult for any work to be done if workers are not motivated. That needs to be looked into.
We sit here to pass a Budget for the country, and in passing a Budget we were accused for not being active and strong in pushing for our own welfare. For the first time in many years, Members of Parliament pushed the Budget to a point that it was good enough to allow this Parliament to function in a manner which is effective. We pushed for a Budget and we agreed even on the cars that they would be $80 000. The SROC is the highest body in terms of the decision making of this Parliament but the decisions made in that Committee are not respected at all by the Executive.
I do not sit on any Party Caucus because I do not belong to any party. I caucus myself. I am told that ZANU PF had a Caucus which they were told that the figure for their vehicles would be $50 000, having no choice and being whipped, they had no choice but to clap. MDC I am told had a Caucus again where they were told the same. The issue that I am talking about is an issue which comes through this Parliament. We cannot be a Parliament which is known for being inconsistent. If the Executive is lying to Members of Parliament, what more to the ordinary person? The integrity of this institution can only be maintained when we stick to what we agree in this House or else it is a waste of time for all of us to be passing Bills and Budgets and at the end of the day, they are not implemented. What are we doing? Who are we doing this for?
It is important therefore for the SROC resolutions to be implemented. The residential stands themselves, many a times we stand up to question where our stands are. We are told the matter is being looked into. None of the Members of Parliament has ever been given a stand. In the Eighth Parliament it was the same. In the Eighth Parliament Members of Parliament had to gang up to push for the allowances until the then President Robert Gabriel Mugabe had to tell the acting Minister of Finance Hon. Chidhakwa to then give in. Should we always get to a point where as Members of Parliament we always come together to push the Executive to do the things which are in black and white?
The health of Members of Parliament, how many Members of Parliament have died because of the facilities or the health situation or the health care not being where it is supposed to be? How many more do you want to die? We have had the late Hon Mguni who fought hard..
THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, you are now debating. I think you have already made your point.
HON. T. MLISWA: We had the late Hon Mguni who fought hard for the welfare of this august House but even when they say respect the dead, the Executive cannot even respect the dead in honouring what he stood for. As a result I have no choice but to approach the Constitutional Court and take the Executive and this Parliament, the Standing Rules and Orders Committees to court for failing to implement things which are proper. It would be a first. I am giving notice that I will be approaching the courts of this country because this Executive tends to vacillate on the rules – the Monetary Policies and decisions are inconsistent. Cabinet can make decisions but anything passed in this House is sacrosanct, supreme and as a result I am saying the welfare of Members of Parliament must be attended to according to what we have agreed. Failure of which – we shall approach the courts. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa thank you for congratulating Hon. Coventry. On your second issue I cannot give a ruling on that one. It is an administrative issue.