“You are well taken care of, murikudya anababa asi vana havasi kudya. So what kind of a country is this?” Mliswa said in Parliament yesterday.
“You do not have to queue for fuel because there are arrangements for you to go and get fuel. We must also be given fuel where you get fuel because one day you will come to find there is no single Member of Parliament who will be here. What do you think you will be doing? We are asking that you take this matter seriously.”
Below is his full contribution and the reply from the deputy Speaker.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you for giving me this opportunity. The welfare of Members of Parliament seems to be an ongoing agenda. I have never known of any agenda which continues and never stops. On fuel, considering that this institution is one of the three pillars of the State; we do everything, we pass budgets and so forth. We are not asking for anything extra but for the office of the Members of Parliament to be respected. We have no respect in the public. We are seen in the queues with drums. We do not sell that fuel but we use it so that it enables us to get here. This issue has come to you so many times but still we are dealing with it now. CMED, which service station do we go to? Other Members of Parliament are not here because there is no fuel, that is the truth of the matter. They are standing in the queues and all that. So when will you as our leaders take us seriously and take this institution seriously that we have a mandate to deliver. How can we deliver when we have no resources to get here?
Fortunately for you VIPs and that is why we end up starting to now look at your offices, you are well taken care of, murikudya anababa asi vana havasi kudya. So what kind of a country is this? You do not have to queue for fuel because there are arrangements for you to go and get fuel. We must also be given fuel where you get fuel because one day you will come to find there is no single Member of Parliament who will be here. What do you think you will be doing? We are asking that you take this matter seriously. We are given fuel coupons but there is no fuel so, why are we being given those coupons?
We are not paid in foreign currency and if we are to convert our salaries to US dollars, it is now US$50, this money is not enough to sustain us and you are failing as our leaders to review this. You go and sleep comfortably knowing that your Members of Parliament are getting US$50 but I assure you God will hear us. These are issues that are troubling us, we have not yet been allocated stands and some Members of Parliament do not have cars but Ministers have been allocated two cars. How do you honestly expect us to discharge our duties? We asked that Parliament disburse Constituency Development Fund during this COVID-19 era. Now people are saying that Members of Parliament do not have a heart for the people they represent because it is not all of us who own businesses. Some can survive from proceeds from their businesses but what about those Members of Parliament who do not have businesses. People will then say they are neglecting them.
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What I am to say also is that we must not go to the extent of taking each other to court and it is not a threat. I am prepared to go to court when Members of Parliament are not tested because I must safeguard myself and my family. What are you doing as Parliament to ensure that each Member of Parliament is safe here? We do not want this issue of using thermometers, this does not work, we want the actual tests. We are the ones that reach people. If we are found positive, then we stop spreading this disease to people, we isolate ourselves. What are you doing as Parliament to make sure that all Parliament Members are tested? We are 350 and it is only 350 kits needed so that we know where we stand because we cannot continue like this. I want to know the action that you will take from tomorrow. If you do not do that, I am going to make an urgent High Court application so that Parliament will stop sitting until everyone has been tested because the cases are increasing.
On information centres, when will funds be released? A lot of money is being channeled to corrupt people. The money is not coming to Members of Parliament to execute their duties. Money for people to do corruption is there but money for Members of Parliament to execute their duties is not there. We cannot be a Parliament that approves money that will be stolen. We want the Executive to look into this. I as an independent candidate will say what I want because no one will chase me away but I will be speaking also on behalf of everyone so that they will not be chased away. I will take the responsibility. This is unbecoming because it is now like a crime to be a Member of Parliament in Zimbabwe, we are not respected.
I also want to talk about the issue of the opposition. On the side of the MDC-T, there is no Chief Whip and this Parliament has become a ridicule out there. These Hon. Members who are here, why are they not being given the portfolio? Why are Hon. Sen. Mwonzora and Madame Khupe not giving them the job? What are they failing to do that has not warranted them to be given the job? We need an Opposition Chief Whip in order for this Parliament to be known to be a Parliament or else we are a laughing stock out there.
We also need a Leader of Government Business from the Opposition. I brought it up because this Parliament cannot function without a Chief Whip and Leader of Government Business from the Opposition. So why are they taking time to appoint? I do not know because all these Hon. Members are experienced. Hon. Vincent Tsvangirai is coming and he knows what he is doing. So when is that going to happen so that they Parliament is known as Parliament at the end of the day?
These are my points of privileges that I had and I need answers because last week the Hon. Speaker promised that he was going to engage the Opposition so that appoint a Chief Whip. We cannot continue like this, thank you.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mliswa. I will start with the last issue that you raised. I think the Hon. Speaker responded and said that the appointment of the Opposition Chief Whip does not involve the Hon. Speaker. It is within their purview.
On the issue of fuel for Hon. Members, I think it was also raised last week and plans were put in place that Hon. Members get their fuel from Petro Trade and Hon. Shamu’s Redan Service Station… – [HON. MEMBERS: Hakuna fuel uko, macoupons chete!] –
Regarding the COVID-19, the point that you raised that Hon. Members of Parliament should be tested is a valid point. However, I am being informed that everything is in the pipeline and appropriate measures are being taken. Yesterday there was a meeting to look at how we conduct business in Parliament, particularly pertaining to COVID-19. I am also informed that most of these measures are being put in place.
So your concerns have been noted Hon. Mliswa and preparations are being made. A number of meetings are being held and also Parliament cannot neglect Hon. Members. Thank you