The chief executives of state enterprises who were paying themselves exorbitant salaries are economic murders because one was earning US$2 000 an hour while folks in the rural areas were struggling to get a US$1 “rekuendesa kuchigayo”, the Member of Parliament for Mutare South Nyasha Chikwinya said.
“When I was going through what other members have been debating, I came across some speech where somebody was said to have been earning US$500 000 per month. I did a rough breakdown and it came to US$2 000 hourly yet Members of Parliament here are earning less than US$1000,”she said in her contribution to the motion on good governance.
“The issue of corruption and those that practice it is devilish as these parastatals are actually economic murderers. I come from a rural constituency where people are struggling to get US$1 rekuendesa kuchigayo, whilst somebody is sitting pretty.”
Chikwinya said even if sanctions were removed people would still die with this level of corruption. Action must be taken now, not tomorrow, she said.
“I am surprised that there was an issue of a female Member of Parliament who was involved in corruption. I looked at my colleagues here ndikati ndiyani manje apa? “she said.
MS. CHIKWINYA: The issue of corruption is not a party issue but a national one. It is not about one person. I was looking at corruption…
MR. CHINOTIMBA: On a point of order!
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
MR. CHINOTIMBA: Mr. Speaker Sir, in our beautiful country and in our Parliament; when machines are not working, we are told there is no money for repairs for translation to be possible in this Chamber. This is our country and we were born Shona and Ndebele speaking people but we are taking English to be the mother language of this country. Corruption is highest here in Parliament– [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-We do not have money, coupons; we do not have anything yet this is our country. We can no longer exercise our freedom of speech yet we were elected to represent our people. We are now being silenced. If these machines are not fixed, it is better for us to adjourn this august House until the machines are fixed. I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Your concerns are noted hon. member.
MS CHIKWINYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Corruption is a disease that we must fight as a nation and everybody should be involved. Corruption is worse than HIV/AIDS; HIV/AIDS kills one person but corruption kills everybody. When I was going through what other members have been debating, I came across some speech where somebody was said to have been earning US$500 000 per month. I did a rough breakdown and it came to US$2 000 hourly yet Members of Parliament here are earning less than US$1000.
The other issue that I noted was, what does your conscience say if you are earning that much? We are talking about parastatals that handle peoples’ money; a parastatal that is supposed to be in the delivery system; a parastatal that has been unable to pay doctors for a very long time yet somebody at the helm of that organisation earns such a salary.
The issue of corruption and those that practice it, is devilish as these parastatals are actually economic murderers. I come from a rural constituency where people are struggling to get US$1 rekuendesa kuchigayo, whilst somebody is sitting pretty in such a situation. We are not talking about people who do not exist. I agree with the members who have spoken before me that action must be taken, not tomorrow but now.
The issue of sanctions, even if they are to be removed, with this level of corruption we will still die. So, I am advocating as a Member of Parliament that this issue must be dealt with thoroughly and ruthlessly, leaving no stone unturned. Really, this is something that has gone beyond our powers.
I am surprised that there was an issue of a female Member of Parliament who was involved in corruption. I looked at my colleagues here ndikati ndiyani manje apa? Let us desist corrupt tendencies my fellow female Members of Parliament. If there are also male Members of Parliament who are involved in corrupt practices; let us tackle this scourge together.
I am happy that the Hon. Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development is here; we will deal with corruption at a different level but we are saying, if there are any of us who are involved; please do not embarrass us.
If you are involved in such practices, it is a shame that you are an hon. Member of Parliament who is also a mother for that matter to be involved in such deals. I sincerely hope that we desist from such tendencies because this is a statement that I got while I was away and I feel it should be looked at.
The other thing that I would want to point out is that corruption exists even at lower levels, Kumadhumeni, in hospitals, transport, tenders and all other sectors. Could there be a team of dedicated men and women who will be paid enough to deal with this kind of a problem?
Like what the previous speaker said that we need a team probably to be appointed by the President to look into this issue thoroughly and more closely so that we get to the bottom of the issue. It is not witch hunting and those that have been pointed fingers and are not part of it must be exonerated.
Those that are fully in it, yes, I agree with the hon. member that has spoken before me that they must be dealt with so that we move ahead as a country. I thank you.