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Mliswa defends US$14 million windfall for MPs, says ‘we need to be thanked’

Norton legislator Temba Mliswa has defended the decision by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration to pay each MP US$40,000 one off payments, totalling US$14 million for 350 members using taxpayers money a few months before elections.

Both Zanu-PF and opposition MPs are being blasted by the public for accepting such an offer when hospitals, clinics among other basic service providers are struggling.

The MPs will get US$40 000 each in loans to the tune of US$14 million.

Some have also viewed the decision as a plan by Mnangagwa to buy the support of MPs ahead of the 2023 elections.

In defending the hefty allowances they are about to receive, Mliswa, an independent legislator said MPs needed to be compensated enough.

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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$30K 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?”

“How can we be effective in positions of oversight over the Executive and other arms of Gvt when we are not capacitated? Look at what the Judiciary and the Executive gets. How do you oversee such arms of the government from a position of dire poverty?

“We are on PSMAS (Premier Service Medical Aid Society) media aid and it doesn’t work. Fees we pay for ourselves. Ministers got US$500 000, Deputy Ministers US$350 000.

“We get US$40 000 and suddenly everyone is an economist attacking us! We are the poor and dull cousins who give more and get less in return really.

“Let’s continue with this line of thinking and what you get at the end of the day is corruption with MPs susceptible to bribes due to dire situations. Look at Wadyajena’s Agric Committee where the MPs have been rendered dumb and obliging to his shenanigans because of money.”

But former cabinet minister Saviour Kasukuwere blasted Mliswa saying that the loan facility was supposed to be utilised at banks and not government.

“Go to banks and get loans! Ndochii icho cho,” he said.

“Which other nation has such a precedent? What about if Cllr’s follow suit ? Shumba siyaizvo! Ko makadyiwa?” Kasukuwere said.