via Zanu-PF, MPs clash over party vehicles | The Herald November 26, 2013 by Lloyd Gumbo
A stand-off between Zanu-PF and its Members of the National Assembly is hotting up over the return of campaign vehicles given to party candidates ahead of the July 31 harmonised elections. Zanu-PF secretary for administration Cde Didymus Mutasa’s frustration with the legislators is threatening to boil over as he has issued several ultimatums for the vehicles to be returned but the MPs are reluctant to comply arguing that they were yet to receive theirs under the Parliamentary Vehicle Loan Scheme.
The legislators especially first timers are increasingly exasperated with the insistence by the party for them to return the vehicles.
“They know that we are yet to receive vehicles from Government and most of the new party MPs only have those party vehicles to carry out party and Government businesses,” said one of the new MPs.
“The party must allow us to continue using the vehicles until we get our allocation from Government through the Parliamentary Vehicle Loan Scheme.”
Another legislator said most of the MPs were reluctant to return the vehicles.
“It is not possible for us to return the vehicles as long as Treasury has not released funds for us to get our vehicles. Since our party is the one running Government, we would expect them to appreciate that Treasury has no money at the moment so they must allow us to continue using those vehicles until we get our allocation.
“By taking away these vehicles, they put pressure on Treasury to provide funds for our vehicles under the Parliamentary scheme. It would be wise for them to let us retain the cars while Treasury looks for money.
“At the moment almost all the MPs have not returned the vehicles because they feel we are using those vehicles for party business in Government,” said an MP.
Other legislators said it would be better if the party allowed them to buy the vehicles instead of taking them back.
Zanu-PF Chief Whip in the National Assembly, Cde Jorum Gumbo said party MPs raised concerns with the party directive for them to return the vehicles.
“As a result, I have since appealed through the Speaker of the National Assembly Cde Jacob Mudenda and leader of Government business in the House, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa (Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs) to engage the party over the issue.
“MPs can only get vehicles if Parliament provides money for that purpose but at the moment, we all know that it is broke to the extent that it cannot cater for the welfare of the same legislators in terms of allowances and fuel coupons.
“If you remember, His Excellency, President Mugabe implored party MPs to continue engaging with the people while the national chairman, Cde Simon Khaya Moyo said all party MPs would be assessed but how do they remain engaged with the people when they are not mobile? At the same time, how do they perform in their constituencies when they are not mobile?
“To be honest, I think the party must reward these legislators and all our candidates who lost for working extra hard to ensure a resounding victory for the party. That is the only way of showing gratitude to the party cadres.
“The other problem is that party candidates were not told that they would return the vehicles after the elections,” said Cde Gumbo.
But Cde Mutasa yesterday said the party would be left with no option but to impound the vehicles if party candidates continued defying the directive to surrender the vehicles.
“We have decided as a party that those vehicles must be returned. In fact we will be announcing on radio that if they don’t return those vehicles in the next three days, we will impound them.
“I am serious about this. We want those vehicles for party use in the provincial elections coming up. They were not given those vehicles for their personal interests.
“They were given those vehicles for campaigns only not for show-off. If they want to show-off they can go ahead and buy their own,” said Cde Mutasa.
On Cde Gumbo’s plea through Cde Mudenda and Minister Mnangagwa, Cde Mutasa said: “Instead, he must ask the Speaker to ask from Government for money for vehicles for the MPs.
“I am serious about this. They must return those vehicles.”