Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa has blasted his MPs for conniving with Zanu-PF to accept US$40 000 one off payments which are being viewed as a bribe from President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime.
Critics are blasting all legislators both from Zanu-PF and opposition, except Allan Markham of Harare North, for prioritising personal interests by accepting US$40 000 (which cumulatively is US$14 million) for all legislators a few months before elections.
MPs are getting US$40 000 each, Ministers US$500 000 and Deputy Ministers US$350 000.
Markham is the only MP who did not sign for the money.
Observers further pointed out that it was not reasonable for the legislators to accept such an offer when hospitals, clinics and social service centres are in a state of dilapidation.
Some have also viewed the decision as a plan by Mnangagwa to buy the support of MPs ahead of the 2023 elections.
Seemingly addressing the issue, Chamisa said the government had made wrong priorities, clearly in disagreement with his MPs’ move to accept the money.
“WRONG LEADERS USUALLY HAVE WRONG PRIORITIES. The role of a government is to address citizens’ most urgent and pertinent needs. When this is abandoned, such a government merits replacement. Any government that prioritizes ‘chefs’ over citizens is not fit for purpose,” Chamisa posted on his Twitter handle.
The looting drama by MPs and Zanu-PF was first exposed by top investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono last week.
Today (Wednesday) he posted a WhatsApp message that was sent to him by one of the MPs attacking him for exposing the US$14 million looting scheme.
“Hie Hopewell. I’ve a lot of respect for you and I’ve been following you throughout and I think about this US$40 000 you’re losing it because this is exactly what Zanu-PF wanted. This issue must be handled maturely.
“For example Chamisa was advised to attend national events which is proper and this money is given to all MPs to me it’s proper,” read part of the message
But Chin’ono responded and said: “You want me to handle looting maturely?
“You also want me to handle the fact that there are no medicines in hospitals maturely?
“Do you want me to handle the fact that there is no single working radiotherapy machine in the country maturely?
“You also want me to be mature about the fact that 2500 women die giving birth annually because the biggest hospital in the country only has one working maternity theater built in 1977?”
In defending the hefty allowances they are about to receive, Norton legislator Temba Mliswa said MPs needed to be compensated fairly.
He said US$30 000 of the amount was an outstanding balance of the allocation made for MPs.
“Just want to provide context and an explanation about the US$40 000 to be given to legislators. I’m the Chairperson of the Welfare Committee Pressure Group. That figure isn’t a gift but it’s a loan,” he said.
“Again, initially and as approved in the Budget, MPs had been given US$80 000 for cars. However, they acquired vehicles for US$50 000 leaving a US$30 000 change. It’s part of that figure.
“It’s also unfortunate that people operate with a mindset that MPs shouldn’t be supported in accordance with their offices and obligations. Every role and job has conditions of service. These are part of that. Why should the role of being an MP be dangerous, risky and yet thankless?” Mliswa said.