Mnangagwa says government is broke

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is also Minister of Justice and Leader of the House told the Senate this week that the government was broke. There was no money in the fiscus so it could not pay Members of Parliament their dues.

He was responding to a question by Senator Keresensia Chabuka who said that legislators were living like beggars and couldn’t feed their families because they were not being paid their dues. Senator Chabuka even suggested that Parliament be closed until the country was financially stable.

“We do not have money in our fiscus. We have members who have the responsibility of mobilising funds for the state budget. These are the people who are telling us that Treasury does not have enough money to carry out all the programmes,” Mnangagwa said.

“However, let me tell you that the Hon. Speaker stated all your problems and all the situations that you are facing. As you have stated, as beggars, we are all aware and even the Acting President of the Senate, Hon. Chief Charumbira is also aware of this situation. We have been moving up and down disseminating information on the welfare of Members of Parliament. This is nothing new, but I know that the main problem is that, in my response, I did not tell you the cut-off date that all your problems will be solved.

“Let me tell you that everything that you bring to my attention, I take it up to His Excellency and Treasury and I promise you that whatever amount will be made available by the Treasury will be disbursed to your welfare. I am glad because Hon. Chinamasa is part of you and he is also a former Minister of Justice and is aware of the Constitutional rights of the people of Zimbabwe. However, I will re-emphasise that, the problem is non-availability of cash in the country and once cash is made available; your welfare will be taken care of.”

 

Q & A:

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*SENATOR CHABUKA: My question is directed to the Hon. Vice President and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Mnangagwa who is also Leader of the House. Hon. Vice President my question is on the welfare of Members of Parliament. When we come to Parliament we are coming to perform national duty and when we go back to our homes and constituencies; people look forward to benefit from our work. As a Government and as Vice President of the country, do you have a way of supporting your Members of Parliament and avoid them from coming into and staying in hotels for about two weeks? This is because you deny them fuel to go back to their constituencies. We also believe that as the Leader of the House and the Vice President; we are living like beggars, we have nothing to take back to our constituents, we have nothing to feed our families and yet we are workers. Therefore, I am asking that you take care of our welfare.

*THE HON. VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MNANGAGWA): Thank you Mr. President of the Senate. I do agree whole heartedly. We agree with whatever the Hon. Senator has raised. We have the welfare of the Members of Parliament at heart and we wish to support them fully in all their requirements. We have problems in implementing the welfare programmes because the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and Treasury have no money to support our welfare programmes because Members of Parliament should be given their fuel coupons for travelling. They should travel using vehicles allocated by Parliament and even stay in best hotels. Unfortunately, the economy of the country is at its lowest point. We have had discussions with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Chinamasa who concurs that the welfare of Members of Parliament needs to be addressed.

Before I came to Parliament, I received a letter from the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Adv. Mudenda, requesting us to inform the President about the prevailing situation affecting Members of Parliament.

*HON. SEN. CHABUKA: I am not content with the response given by the Vice President and Leader of the House on our welfare. We are in this august House because we are working and upon adjournment, we need to go back to our constituencies and families. However, because of lack of fuel, we are being encouraged to stay in Harare instead of going back to our homes. I think the best we can do, as I am suggesting, is that we close Parliament until we are financially stable and we are able to pay for our welfare. Thank you.

HON. MNANGAGWA: Thank you Hon. President. I know we have problems in whatever will be happening in such situations because at times, you fail to express yourself in an understandable manner. However, the truth of the matter is that, as a Member Parliament, I could have raised the question on the welfare of Members of Parliament because I am also suffering.

I stated that I received a letter from the Speaker of the National Assembly, asking me to appeal to the President on the welfare of Members of Parliament. I called the Office of His Excellency and I was told that he was not there and was informed to call back at quarter past two ‘o’clock pm. I am promising you that tomorrow, on Friday; I am going to inform the President of your predicament. I told you that I really sympathise with you. Your welfare has been disturbed by lack of finance. We do not have money in our fiscus. We have members who have the responsibility of mobilising funds for the state budget. These are the people who are telling us that Treasury does not have enough money to carry out all the programmes.

However, let me tell you that the Hon. Speaker stated all your problems and all the situations that you are facing. As you have stated, as beggars, we are all aware and even the Acting President of the Senate, Hon. Chief Charumbira is also aware of this situation. We have been moving up and down disseminating information on the welfare of Members of Parliament. This is nothing new, but I know that the main problem is that, in my response, I did not tell you the cut-off date that all your problems will be solved.

Let me tell you that everything that you bring to my attention, I take it up to His Excellency and Treasury and I promise you that whatever amount will be made available by the Treasury will be disbursed to your welfare. I am glad because Hon. Chinamasa is part of you and he is also a former Minister of Justice and is aware of the Constitutional rights of the people of Zimbabwe. However, I will re-emphasise that, the problem is non-availability of cash in the country and once cash is made available; your welfare will be taken care of.-Online