HARARE – Zanu PF MPs are ready to forego drawing from the parliamentary vehicle loan scheme to ease pressure on the government’s finances, the party’s whip Pupurai Togarepi said.
MPs are entitled to vehicles to better serve their constituencies, but Zanu PF lawmakers already have vehicles bought by the party for every candidate who ran for Parliament, the financing of which remains opaque.
Togarepi said their decision was informed by the prevailing economic crisis and pressures on treasury by public sector workers led by doctors and teachers who are demanding improved pay.
“To play our part, however, small or little, we are ready to forgo the luxury vehicles that come with our parliamentary positions as we are representatives of less-privileged people whose only access to health is public hospitals,” Togarepi said in a statement.
“We, as an arm of Government and also as the ruling party, are ready to lead by example and make sure we put our hands together in order to rebuild Zimbabwe.”
Zanu PF enjoys a two thirds majority in Parliament, while the MDC is the second largest party by representation.
MDC spokesman Jacob Mafume told ZimLive that Zanu PF was trying to deceive the country.
“Zanu PF cannot give up that which has not come. Zanu PF MPs must give up what they looted from the State: the cars they have that were bought for the campaign; the money that they took from the fiscus and the foreign currency they used to buy T-shirts and all their illicit gains,” Mafume said.
“How can they say they’re not going to get vehicles when they are driving them already? We have already stated that our caucus welfare demands will not be at the expense of the nation.”
MPs from both Zanu PF and the MDC threatened not to pass Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s 2019 budget, arguing that the allocation for Parliament was too low. Ncube was forced to revise the allocation for Parliament from $101 million to $145 million.
The MPs are traditionally advanced a fixed amount to acquire a 4×4 vehicle under a loan scheme which they almost always never pay back.