via ‘Channel by-elections funds to civil service bonuses’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 3, 2016
KUWADZANA East MP Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) yesterday said the millions of dollars being “wasted on unnecessary by-elections” could be channeled towards paying civil servants bonuses.
by VENERANDA LANGA
Chamisa told the National Assembly yesterday that while the economy was not performing, MPs continued being wantonly fired from Parliament by different political parties, resulting in costly by-elections.
The issue was raised soon after Speaker Jacob Mudenda had announced to the House that Guruve South MP Chriswell Mutematsaka had been expelled from Zanu PF, and in terms of section 129(1)(k) of the Constitution, subsequently fired from Parliament.
Mutematsaka, who is suspected to be loyal to former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, was fired from Zanu PF in December, prompting Mudenda to declare his seat vacant.
“I am raising this issue as a matter of public concern because we have seen an increase in the number of MPs being expelled from Parliament,” Chamisa said.
“It is important in the context of public interest because when an MP is expelled, we have to go to elections that are costly and that money is actually wasted in the context of civil servants’ bonuses that have not been paid.
Our MPs are now unable to transact the business they were elected to do because they are afraid their terms can just end, and they tell us those things nicodemously.”
More than 40 by-elections have been held in the country since 2015 after Zanu PF fired MPs perceived to be Mujuru supporters, while the MDC-T also fired 21 MPs that had crossed the floor to Tendai Biti’s MDC Team Renewal, now called People’s Democratic Party.
“The firings are a serious issue as they disturb the stability of this House and we need to deal with the clause 129(1)(k) which has caused suffering and hardship to the country and MPs, because we are continually dealing with political issues and literally absconding to talk about health,” Chamisa said.
He said the now-perennial by-elections were questionable, as they were being conducted without electoral reforms.
Mudenda said it was not Parliament’s duty to stop the firing of MPs by their political parties and advised legislators to amend the section in question if they so wished.
“They cease to be MPs due to circumstances pertaining to their own political party. I urge Honourable Chamisa to nicodemously talk to his party to withhold this galloping termination of MPs, and perhaps, also influence other political parties in a similar manner. Unfortunately, Honourable Chamisa’s issues are credible, but are being directed to a wrong platform,” he said.
In an unrelated matter, Musikavanhu MP Prosper Mutseyami (MDC-T) called for the eviction of Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko from a five-star hotel where he has been booked since 2014.
He said the money being spent on Mphoko’s hotel accommodation at Rainbow Towers could be used to buy food for drought-stricken people in different parts of the country.
“Ministers are given three state-of-the-art vehicles and other luxuries as soon as they are appointed,” Mutseyami said.
“What it means is that there is money in this country, but the priorities are wrong and people are left starving and civil servants underpaid. Maybe civil servants should be allowed to do other things to supplement their income since government is failing to support them.”
But Hurungwe East MP Sarah Mahoka (Zanu PF) shot back, saying MPs’ salaries must be cut in order to pay civil servants.