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MPs embarrassed as Harare hotels chase them away for failing to pay

Members of Parliament have for the past four years been facing accommodation challenges as Harare hotels frequently chase them away for failing to pay residential fees.

The matter this time was raised by MDC Alliance MP David Tekeshe who told the Minister of Finance Mthuli Ncube that legislators were being embarrassed every day as they are moved from one hotel to another due to non payment of accommodation fees.

“My point of privilege arises on the issue of accommodation for Members of Parliament. We have been receiving calls from Members of Parliament who are being chased away from hotels – we are now sick and tired of this.

“As Hon. Members, it is embarrassing for one to be turned away from one hotel to the next,” Tekeshe said.

MDC Alliance MP David Tekeshe
MDC Alliance MP David Tekeshe

He suggested that they are given their money and look for their own accommodation.

“May there be an arrangement where people can be given sufficient funds to ensure that people are able to look after themselves? In Uganda, Members are not provided accommodation but they are given sufficient funds for them to look for their own accommodation.

“If Parliament cannot provide us with accommodation, we must be given funds to look for accommodation. It is embarrassing moving from one hotel to the other as Members of Parliament.

“For the four years I have been a Member of Parliament, this has been the most embarrassing year for me for failing to secure accommodation. In Uganda, they are allocated 10 000 for accommodation and fuel and they are given their salaries so that they take care of themselves.”

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament responded: “We have heard what you have said, it is demeaning indeed for an Hon. Member of Parliament to be turned away from a hotel where they will be expecting to get accommodation and where they are supposed to be respected as Hon. Members, and moving from one hotel to the other does not give them a good image. I have taken note of that.”

Temba Mliswa
Temba Mliswa

But Norton legislator Temba Mliswa slammed Tekeshe accusing him of sitting in the Standing Rules and Orders Committee where the welfare of Members of Parliament is discussed but failing to raise the matter.

“I want to remind Hon. Tekeshe that he is one of the Hon. Members who sit in the Standing Rules and Orders Committee where the welfare of Members of Parliament is discussed.

“I am a bit disturbed that he is bringing this issue up, we have brought these issues several times, and they are the ones who represent us; we have given up and we have lost hope.

“You are part of it, the Speaker chairs it, the Government Chief Whip is here and the Minister of Finance is not to be blamed because you have never reported back to us that in your deliberations as the Standing Orders Committee, you are failing to do this because of the Minister of Finance,” Mliswa said.

Buhera South legislator Joseph Chinotimba urged authorities to consider building houses for MPs while making sure they do not live at one residential place.

“In South Africa, Parliament is in Cape Town and the Government buildings are in Pretoria,” he said.

“Whenever they go to Parliament they go to Cape Town. Upon arrival they have houses where they live, they do not use hotels, they have apartments, the houses do not belong to individual members but they are allocated to members for use during their term.

“Namibia and Botswana is the same; instead of Hon. Members standing up daily raising points of order and saying they are not being looked after and being chased away from hotels; why not take the example of other countries?

“They do not live in the same place for security reasons. They are in different places for security reasons so that when there is an emergency, all Members of Parliament are not dead,” Chinotimba said.

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