Zimbabwe MPs Demand Luxury Cars, Spouses’ Hotel Stay

Finance minister bows to pressure from legislators who threatened not to pass his budget

by Victor Adetimilehin

Zimbabwe’s finance minister, Mthuli Ncube, has agreed to increase the budget allocation for parliament to appease lawmakers who demanded luxury vehicles, hotel accommodation for their spouses, and other perks.


The legislators, who represent 210 constituencies across the country, complained that their welfare did not match their counterparts in the Southern African Development Community region. They said they were a laughing stock in their respective constituencies and needed top-of-the-range Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles, payment of salaries for their workers, and additional benefits.


They made the demands during the budget debate last week, threatening not to pass Ncube’s 2024 budget, which has been criticized as anti-poor by civil society groups and opposition parties.


Ncube, who had initially allocated 475 billion Zimbabwean dollars (about $5.6 million) for parliament, said he would increase it by another 225 billion Zimbabwean dollars (about $2.6 million) to cater for the legislators’ needs.


“I propose that we increase the budget for parliament by another ZWL$225 billion so that it becomes ZWL$700 billion in response to those needs,” Ncube said on Thursday.


He said he had budgeted ZWL$132 billion (about $1.5 million) for the importation of vehicles for the MPs, which converts to about $60,000 per vehicle at the current exchange rate.


“We have done that but I think the main issue is that we increase the budget for parliament to ZWL$700 billion,” he said.


Ncube also proposed to increase the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), which is allocated by the treasury to initiate development projects in the MPs’ areas.


According to a report by Newsday Zimbabwe, he said he was aware that the MPs needed to increase the budget for constituency offices, visits, and research officers.


He told the MPs that they could also import a second vehicle duty-free, as well as access housing loans of up to $40,000, which were offered by the government in December.


Ncube said there was a need to have a committee to put together a decent welfare package for the MPs, including the possibility of building accommodation for them.


“That is what should come to the welfare committee for discussion so that we all agree on the best model and the government stands ready to support. I agree that we need to do something with accommodation,” he said.


Ncube’s concessions to the MPs have sparked outrage among many Zimbabweans, who are struggling with high inflation, unemployment, and poverty. The country is also facing a severe economic crisis, worsened by the effects of climate change and sanctions imposed by Western countries.


Some analysts have questioned the priorities of the government and the MPs, saying they should focus on improving the lives of the ordinary people instead of enriching themselves.


However, some MPs have defended their demands, saying they are justified and necessary for them to perform their duties effectively. They have also accused the media and the public of being biased and misinformed about their situation.


The budget debate is expected to continue next week, with the MPs likely to pass it with little or no changes.


Despite the challenges facing the country, some observers have expressed hope that Zimbabwe can overcome its problems and achieve economic recovery and social stability. They have called for dialogue, reforms, and cooperation among all stakeholders, including the government, the opposition, the civil society, and the international community.


You may also like

white logo with motto

The Zimbabwe Advocate is more than just a news outlet. We are a movement, a symbol of resistance against misinformation.

Latest News

© 2024 The Zimbabwe Advocate. All Rights Reserved.