Matinenga says MPs should not view their seats as jobs


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Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga told Members of Parliament in April 2009, two months after the formation of the inclusive government, that they should not view their seats in Parliament as jobs. They were serving the nation.

This was after the MPs had asked when they would be paid their allowances because they had not been paid allowances since January.

Parliament was being adjourned until May because there was no money to pay allowances for MPs.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 09HARARE288, LACK OF FUNDS LEAD TO ZIM PARLIAMENTARY RECESS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE288

2009-04-06 15:30

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO0669

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0288/01 0961530

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 061530Z APR 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4336

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2764

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2886

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1332

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2151

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2507

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2934

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5375

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2053

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000288

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR J. HARMON AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR MICHELLE GAVIN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/06/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: LACK OF FUNDS LEAD TO ZIM PARLIAMENTARY RECESS

 

REF: A. HARARE 281

B. HARARE 264

 

Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (SBU) Parliament has announced it will adjourn until May

12. This is due to a lack of funds to pay MPs housing and

travel allowances while Parliament is in session.

Separately, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon

Gono’s recent offer to give MPs secondhand central bank

vehicles is causing a furor with Finance Minister Tendai Biti

who continues to challenge the bank’s quasi-fiscal

activities. END SUMMARY.

 

———————————————

No Funds for Parliament, But Gono Offers Cars

———————————————

 

2. (C) After several weeks of Parliamentary activity,

including creating portfolio committees and scrutinizing the

activities of government ministries (reftels), Zimbabwe’s

House of Assembly (HOA) announced it would adjourn until May

12. Israel Chilimanzi, a legislative advisor and training

consultant with close ties to MPs, told poloff on April 6

that the long delay was primarily due to lack of funds

available to pay hotel and fuel allowances while in Harare.

MPs have not been receiving these allowances since Parliament

resumed in January, and have been funding their travel out of

their own pockets.

 

3. (SBU) The lack of allowances has become a bone of

contention with MPs and was raised during question time on

March 25. An MP asked Eric Matinenga, the Minister of

Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs (MDC-T), when

Parliament would receive their allowances. Matinenga

responded that MPs were serving their nation and should not

view their seat in Parliament as a job. MPs interpreted this

to mean that they would not be receiving funds any time soon,

and many MPs were vocal in their displeasure.

 

4. (C) Another controversy has recently emerged surrounding

vehicles for parliamentarians. Under the standing rules and

orders of Parliament, MPs are entitled to receive a vehicle

for transport between their home district and Harare. In the

past this has typically been a twin cab Isuzu 4×4 truck,

capable of handling rural roads. However, Minister of

Finance, Tendai Biti (MDC-T) has made clear that his ministry

does not have the funds to buy new vehicles. Reserve Bank

Governor Gideon Gono has offered to give MPs used central

bank vehicles, triggering another conflict between Biti and

Gono and leading Biti to state that Gono has no business

“engaging in quasi-fiscal activities.” MDC-T chief whip,

Innocent Gonese, told Chilimanzi that the RBZ had enough

vehicles to give all 314 members of the HOA and Senate

vehicles.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

5. (C) Parliament’s adjournment is unfortunate given what is

expected to be a heavy legislative and reform workload for

the MDC-led body. However, the delay is not altogether

unexpected as many MPs have limited personal resources, and

Qunexpected as many MPs have limited personal resources, and

seasonally Parliament often recesses this time of year due to

holidays and the end of the school term. It also does not

mean that Parliament’s work will come to a halt, as there are

 

HARARE 00000288 002 OF 002

 

 

several legislative workshops involving dozens of MPs and

administrative staff taking place in the next couple of

weeks.

 

6. (C) Potentially more disturbing is Gono’s offer to

distribute cars to MPs, an offer that came just days before a

motion to debate the role of the RBZ was to have occurred in

Parliament. END COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

(11 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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