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MPs say forced to stay in grubby Harare lodges

by Staff reporter
20 Oct 2022 at 06:02hrs | Views
LEGISLATORS have been forced to put up in sub-standard lodges in Harare, footing their own bills, as the treasury has not paid hotel bills since July 2022, NewZimbabwe.com can reveal.

One of the MPs who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com Tuesday on condition of anonymity showed a receipt of the payment made on Monday (October 17, 2022) saying parliamentarians were suffering owing to treasury's failure to clear accommodation bills in hotels such as the Holiday Inn, Jameson Hotel, Crown Plaza and Oasis Hotel.

"The situation is really bad. We are now staying in lodges at our own expense, parting with US$30 or more a night for accommodation only; we buy food for ourselves too," said the legislator.

"When we approach the hotels for bookings, they tell us that they are fully booked, but some of their workers have told us that the hotels are empty but the issue is about non-payment of bills by the treasury which has gone on for several months now."

Recently, secretary for finance, George Guvamatanga told journalists  that hotels were overcharging and this had created a huge bill for government.

Guvamatanga cited Elephant Hills in Victoria Falls as the main culprit in over-charging.

Welfare Committee chairperson, Temba Mliswa, expressed concern over the accommodation arrangements in Parliament on Tuesday.

"The conditions being faced by MPs are rather sad. We are fast losing our decency and dignity because of the accommodation crisis. Advise members not to come rather than exposing them to such places," said Mliswa, adding that members need to sign a contract to guide them on their entitlements.

He added that it was best to stay at home if government was not affording to fund Parliament business.

Speaker Jacob Mudenda concurred with Mliswa on the welfare situation, urging members to bring grievances to Parliament management.

This was after Mliswa reported the welfare matter to Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who came to Parliament on Tuesday after several months' absence.

"VP vana venyu havana pekugara (your MP's have nowhere to stay)," Mliswa told Chiwenga. He even went to him and had a chat with him.

Mudenda said, "Accommodation has become a challenge for all.Treasury is coming up with a solution to your challenges.

"We are aware some hotels are being owed for a long time. What you have been owed has been eaten by inflation. Your point of order Hon. Mliswa has been taken."

Meanwhile, Parliament will, next week, hold its annual pre-budget seminar for the year 2023.

The seminar's venue was changed several times with reasons not explained.

However, sources highlighted that Parliament was facing funding challenges after treasury tightened screws on payments.

Government has since stopped paying dubious tenders to service providers bent on milking state funds through profiteering.

Source - NewZimbabwe