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Zimbabwe MP complains: what can I do with a paltry $1 000 a month

*HON. ZINDI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I am not going to repeat what has been said by the previous speakers, but I will just make a clear explanation on the life of a Member of Parliament.  I know you can feel it because you are a Member of Parliament and you also visit your constituency.

When we go to these constituencies, we are using monies from our own pockets.  In our constituencies if anybody passes on, as a Member of Parliament you are supposed to make a contribution.  You cannot just go and sympathise with the bereaved, but you find that you have to buy some items such as coffins, drinks, food and whatever should be consumed at that funeral.  That is what is expected of you.  When we are going to visit constituencies, you are supposed to fuel your car and take it for service.

I took my car for service and they want $6 00. I am only paid $1 000 per month, so where do I get that money from? Please, listen to my contribution.  I want you to pay attention to what I am saying – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –  I had kept quiet because I want you to pay attention to my contribution.

I am saying, as Hon. Members of Parliament, we earn $1 000.00 per month.  When people die in our constituencies, the bereaved families expect you to sympathise and mourn with them and not only that, when parents have no money to pay school fees for their children, they expect you to assist with payment of fees and the list is endless.

At our party, whenever a meeting is called, as Hon. Members of Parliament, we are expected to ferry our respective supporters to and from the meeting venue.  When there is a march being held in Harare, we are expected to hire buses and fuel them to ferry our constituents to and from Harare to attend the march.  As Hon. Members of Parliament, we are also expected to cater for the welfare of all the people whom you will have brought.  Should you fail in carrying out that duty of ferrying and feeding your constituents, they will not vote for you in the next election.

Some of us are now paupers because in order to sustain the life-style of being a Member of Parliament, we end up selling our livestock and other properties hence all our funds are depleted.  We are now paupers.  When you compare yourself to Hon. Ministers, they have ministries, they are given fuel coupons in Parliament and fuel allowances by both their respective ministries and parastatals they also have drivers who are paid by the State.  Their cars are serviced by the State but Hon. Members of Parliament have to service their own vehicles because it will break down if you do not do so and you will not be able to conduct your parliamentary duties.

 Hon. Members of Parliament are now acting as the cushions or shock absorbers between the people and the State.  As a result, the shock absorber will ensure Government safety and you always do this with the mindset of being re-elected.  What is really intriguing about this whole parliamentary business is that when people are not content with what you are doing, they will send a competitor to compete with you yet now the Administration of Parliament is telling us to wait patiently.  For how long have you been talking about our welfare issue?

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