By Mugove Tafirenyika
HARARE – Two Zanu PF National Assembly members have rejected official vehicles offered through the Parliamentary Vehicle Loan Scheme, saying they did not go to Parliament for that but to improve the lot of their constituents.
Justice Mayor Wadyajena, MP for Gokwe-Nembudziya and his Hurungwe West counterpart Temba Mliswa, noted that while the vehicles were necessary to enable legislators to access their constituencies easily, they particularly did not need them as they already owned cars.
“I did not take delivery of that vehicle because that is not the reason why I was elected into office,” Wadyajena told a Youth Forum employment conference in Harare last week. “My constituents are more concerned about my representing them in the august House than the privileges associated with that.”
He was responding to youths who wanted him to explain government’s wisdom in awarding the contract to Croco Motors ahead of local car assembler Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries (WMMI).
The youths argued that the initiative should have prioritised WMMI which would benefit them through employment creation when the car assembly is revived.
Earlier in the week, Mliswa said there was no need for MPs, who already owned vehicles, to benefit from the scheme.
Mliswa argued that the cash used to purchase vehicles should have been used to benefit the poor in various constituencies.
“We should have had options instead of cars,” Mliswa said. “I would have liked to use my money to renovate a school or a clinic in my constituency. Cattle without ticks should not be taken to a dip tank. In fact, why should MPs with cars be offered cars?”
Remigeous Matangira, Zanu PF legislator for Bindura South, told the Daily News when the vehicles were availed to MPs he was elated to receive one but, he could do without it as he already owns another one.
Matangira said he wanted to see government showing commitment to improve the lot of civil servants.
“I am an individual who has worked hard and I have a farm and a small mine so I can afford to buy my car,” he said. “The parliamentary vehicle is a bonus, so I think government should also consider civil servants’ welfare because it is important and I know they will be taken care of,” added the dreadlocked lawmaker.
Government is buying 360 new Ford Ranger vehicles worth about $12 million for legislators, at a time it is struggling to pay civil servants’ salaries on time.
The purchase of the off-road vehicles is likely to further rock the boat for a government accused of profligate spending on perks for ministers and government officials while turning a blind eye to the plight of lowly paid civil servants.
Government also reportedly spent about $6 million recently to buy 100 fuel-guzzling vehicles for ministers.
Zimbabweans are urging the MPs to grow the economy before they demand more perks. Daily News