via Furore over MPs allowances – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 7, 2014 by Veneranda Langa
LEGISLATORS who served in the last Parliament have lashed out at government for rushing to pay out bonuses to current Members of Parliament before settling their outstanding sitting allowances for the past three years.
The former legislators, who are owed amounts ranging between $10 000 to $25 000 each, told NewsDay in separate interviews yesterday that they expected Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa to pay part of their outstanding allowances before releasing bonuses for new legislators.
“They were supposed to have started with former MPs and paid the amounts owing to them before contracting new employees, but it now seems like we worked for nothing and it is frustrating and embarrassing,” Chiredzi West former MP Moses Mare said.
“We have an irresponsible government that has been lying under oath which shows that this country lacks people who are able to manage simple affairs,” he said.
“The problem is that they decided that it was more important to fund elections than to find money to pay government employees. I am personally owed over $21 000 and that excludes pensions and more than seven thousand litres of fuel.”
Former Kwekwe Central MP Blessing Chebundo said: “It is unfortunate that such a situation is prevailing at different sectors as we have employees at Ziscosteel, Lanchashire Steel and other companies who have not been paid what is owed to them. We need a leadership that can drive the ship and put their priorities right.”
He said while it was not fair to complain about the payment of bonuses to current MPs, government should at least have offset some of its debt owed to former legislators.
However, Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya who is now in his second term defended government’s decision to pay bonuses to the serving MPs.
“The public must know that MPs are public servants and receive all perks that go along with public servants across all levels. Since Zimbabwe does not have a Parliamentary Service Commission, any benefit that accrues to public servants also accrues to MPs including pensions after one has served their required time,” Chikwinya said.