Another windfall for MPs

HARARE - MPs in impoverished Zimbabwe are set for another windfall, just under a year before completing a five-year term full of demands for lavish living.

The Constitution Select Committee (Copac) has recommended that parliamentarians get $10 000 each for the damage to  their cars during public hearings to gather views on the drafting of a new constitution.

Copac is a special parliamentary body formed to drive the constitution-making process.

The draft constitution was stalled because the MPs’ political parties cannot agree on its contents.

But at least they agree on something — the need to milk as much money from the process, if the latest action is anything to go by.

In a report prepared by Copac’s legal committe chairperson, Hwange Central constituency MP Brian Tshuma, legislators should be paid without fail.

Tshuma is from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party.

Even more scandalous is the committee’s recommendation that even MPs who did not use their own cars be paid as if they used personal vehicles.

“Specifically, vehicles belonging to some parliamentarians were involved in some accidents while others had used Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe vehicles.

“In respect of Members of Parliament whose vehicles were involved in accidents, the committee recommended that they should be paid the maximum value of $10 000 in full and final settlement of the claim.

“In respect of Members of Parliament who used Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe vehicles, the committee recommended that they be paid as if they were using their own vehicles,” the report noted.

According to documents in our possession, Copac met on July 18 and recommended that the MPs be paid.

The meeting was chaired by Paul Mangwana (Zanu PF) and the MDC Copac co-chairpersons Douglas Mwonzora and Edward Mkhosi and attended by more than a dozen other legislators and members of the Copac secretariat.
Mangwana confirmed the development.

He said the MPs had not been paid money for vehicles used for Copac business.

“We had no money to pay them and Copac has to find the money to pay them,” said Mangwana.

“Copac had hired cars for the outreach programme and most of the vehicles from the MPs were damaged and we must compensate them for wear and tear. This is going to apply to all the vehicles hired by Copac, including from private individuals and organisations,” said Mangwana.

“It is an administrative issue as the outreach programme happened two years ago. I do not remember us paying the MPs the money for using their vehicles because we had no money and we have find it to compensate them,” said Mangwana.

From June to October 2010 Copac embarked on an outreach consultative programme to collect peoples’ views.
It used to provide fuel to the hired vehicles used during the programme.

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