Furthermore, the more we delay the disbursements the more it affects the development on the ground. Government does not have adequate funding. We believe that the CDF augments Government’s programmes. What can you do with $5 000 that we are being given? People had gone to the banks to borrow on the strength that they would receive CDF. We take every word that you say in this House and we go and borrow funds. Now, you are going to give me $5 000. How am I going to repay $50 000 when I was only given $5 000? My point – that are we being serious about the welfare of the people when we give them $5 000 instead of the $50 000 that you talked about? Issues such as the chiefs’ motor vehicles, funding is given. I am not saying they should not have them but equally as well, Members of Parliament should also receive what they will have been promised.
On the issue of diplomatic passports, the minority have them. The majority do not have yet we have the same constituencies. What monetary issue is involved in the issue of diplomatic passports? You do not want to give us our status. We are looked down upon when we go out of the country. We have to queue when we travel with other MPs who have diplomatic passports. Our status is deplorable as we speak. As we look into these things, it would appear you do not want to recognise that Members of Parliament are doing a good job.
When we go onto the ground there is no development. We are unable to go back to our constituencies. The political parties have different factions. There are now people on the ground contesting the forthcoming elections. Some of the MPs are not coming back in 2018 because they will contest in primary elections with candidates who are well funded. The reason why a lot of Members of Parliament do not come back is because this Parliament has failed to look into the issue of the Members.
The Clerk of Parliament is getting his allowances and now he is busy distracting you. The Clerk travels in business class and he should never stop us from getting what we need. He travels in business class and his bosses, us the MPs in the economy class. Where in the world have you ever heard a worker who travels in the business class and the boss in the economy? That is the anomaly that I am talking about. The Presiding Officers go on holiday and I have spoken about it. What do you want us to do? Our children are not going to school but you want to read in the newspapers that an MP has stolen this and that. Our names are soiled. They look down upon us.
When journalists write they say Members of Parliament varikuchema chema. Who on earth can survive on $2 000 bond notes per month? Our welfare is not good and you seem to think that we are cry-babies. Madam Speaker, it is important that we should not put in abeyance the issue of allowances. We are going to pass a Budget and what Budget are we going to pass when that Budget does not look at our interests? Why were we doing budget consultations without any money? We are just going to be in hotels in Victoria Falls, eating hotel food and seeing the water. We want things that are practical. I thank you.