via China shopping junket MPs rescued 01 July 2014 by Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S legislators regularly plead poverty, claiming they cannot effectively discharge constituency duties or attend Parliament because the cash-strapped government has not been paying their allowances.
But this week it was revealed that 27 of the huge lot were stranded in China after straying during a shopping trip. There were fears the legislators would not be able to return home until July 7.
However, the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda told NewZimbabwe.com Tuesday that the MPs, now holed up in Beijing, would return home on Thursday.
They had flown to the Chinese capital on a private shopping trip but missed their return flight after they reportedly strayed into a distant Chinese province.
Initial reports said the MPs were likely to spend an even longer period in the Asian country due to what was said to be irregular Air Zimbabwe flights to Beijing.
But Mudenda, who distanced Parliament from the private trip, allayed fears the country’s legislators could rot in the Chinese capital.
“They are coming back on Thursday,” Mudenda said, “I can’t give you any details but all l can say is that it was a private arrangement in which the Speaker is not involved.”
Efforts to get more detail on the botched trip were unsuccessful although it was believed the MPs could have been offered discounted rates to fly to China by the struggling national flag bearer on private business.
MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese said he knew nothing about the “private” trip and referred NewZimbabwe.com to Zanu PF’s Makoni South MP, Mandi Chimene who is said to have organised the trip.
The MPs were reported to have ignored Chimene’s advice when they took off on high-speed bullet train to a Guangdong Province, which is almost 2,300 away from Beijing after they were informed things were cheaper there.