About 35 new Members of Parliament sworn in last year are still to receive their vehicles amid indications that some are using public transport to attend sessions.
This comes as it emerged that Parliament is struggling to recover more than $1,2 million arising from vehicles that were given to more than 30 legislators who were eventually expelled from the August House at the instigation of their respective political parties for various misdemeanours.There are indications that the bulk of those fired had fallen on hard times and were incapable of making repayments.
Despite a few having made some payment plans after Parliament threatened to take legal action against them, none of them had made payments in lieu to settle the value of the vehicles they took delivery of when they assumed office after the July 31, 2013, general elections.
In an interview on Wednesday, Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda confirmed that the August House had not provided the new legislators with vehicles, but remained optimistic that they would get the cars.
“We have not provided the MPs with their vehicles. There are a few issues that we want to iron out. They will get the vehicles because it is one of their entitlement,” said Mr Chokuda.
“It has to do with funding. Once we get funding from Treasury we will get the vehicles.”
“We are still pursuing them to ensure that they pay back the money. We are determined to recover that money,” said Mr Chokuda.
One of the expelled MPs said it will be an uphill task for Parliament to recover the money from them as the majority are struggling to make ends meet.
“Most of us fell into several debts. While we were paid our outstanding sitting allowances, the money came late when we had already fallen into debts. We had already been trapped in deep debts. We are aware of our obligation to Parliament to repay the money but we just cannot afford to pay,” said one legislator who preferred anonymity.
Another ex-MP said they are struggling to service the vehicles while most of them are tempted to dispose the Ford Ranger vehicles in return for cheaper cars but are hamstrung by a legal requirement that interdicts them from selling before the expiry of the Parliamentary term.
The majority of the legislators fired from Parliament were from MDC-T after they crossed the floor to former secretary general Mr Tendai Biti’s MDC-Renewal.
Those from Zanu-PF were fired for their links to deposed Vice-President Dr Joice Mujuru who was fired from both Government and the ruling party for allegedly plotting to assassinate President Mugabe. Herald