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Chamisa ally defends move by MPs to blow US$5m in 5 days at Vic Falls

by Staff reporter
04 Nov 2019 at 06:42hrs | Views
MDC secretary-general Chalton Hwende has defended the move by the 350 Members of Parliament to camp for five days at the Elephant Hills Resorts hotel in Victoria Falls and gobble over $5 million in allowances and hotel accommodation while holding a 2020 pre-budget seminar.

A report by the Standard says that at least US$500 000 will be spent on accommodation for the five days for the 350 legislators. Elephant Hills Resorts hotel charges $248 per night for a single guest.

"MPs from Masvingo and Matabeleland were given fuel coupons so they could drive to Victoria Falls while legislators from other provinces flew from Harare.

"An MP who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were paid $3 200 in per diems ahead of the seminar. This means that more than $1 million will be splashed on per diems for conference delegates," reads the report.

Hwende told the same publication that it was important for the MDC legislators to attend in order to ensure that the budget that Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube will present will be pro-poor.

"Pre-budget seminars are always held out of Harare and we can't boycott the budget process because we must fight and ensure that it is pro-poor.

"If you look at the quality of debate that we raised at the seminar and the issues that we brought to the fore on behalf of our constituencies, you will realise that it was more than important for us as MPs elected on an MDC ticket to be there," an underfire Hwende said.

The same publication quotes Zanu-PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi said MPs had only been given part of their allowances for attending the seminar, not full allowances.

Togarepi would however not comment on why a cheaper venue was not considered, saying such decisions are made by Parliament in conjunction with its funders.

"I am not privy to comparative costs at other centres but the work done during this retreat is essential to the supervisory role of Parliament," he said.

"As of lavish spending I have no evidence, but what I am aware of is that members received only part of their allowances. So maybe members have their own resources.

"I am not aware of the figures as to what was spent but the budget consultation process cannot be avoided."

Other sympathizers of the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC including journalist Hopewell Chin'ono also put the MDC secretary-general to task for "joining with Zanu-PF to loot State resources while doctors have gone for two months without salaries."

Civil servants have also declared incapacitation and will not be reporting for duty henceforth, as government insists it cannot meet their salary demands.

Finance Ncube is expected to unveil the 2020 budget on November 14.

Source - zimbabwevoices