Sunday 7 April 2024


THE government has started the process of buying top-of-the-range cars for legislators at a time Zimbabwe is looking for donations from humanitarian agencies to feed millions of people that are facing starvation this year.

Members of Parliament and senators were last week directed to different car dealers in Harare to choose their preferred vehicles.

They were told to choose either a Toyota GD6, Toyota Fortuner, Ford Ranger, Ford Everest or latest Isuzu.

Each MP is earmarked to get a vehicle worth US$60 000. Chairpersons of portfolio committees are set to get vehicles worth US$70 000 each.

There are 210 members of the National Assembly where Zanu-PF enjoys a two-thirds majority.

The constitution provides for a further 60 female members, representing a women's quota plus 10 youths under the youth quota. The Senate has 60 members.

It's a jackpot for some Zanu-PF bigwigs who have been in Parliament before as they are getting their third to fourth vehicles from the taxpayer.

Some of the bigwigs have luxury cars, which they are given as ministers and deputy ministers.

In December 2022, MPs were pampered with US$40 000 housing loans that divided public opinion countrywide.

Some Zanu-PF MPs told The Standard that they could not wait to drive away in their new top-of-the range vehicles.

"It is very true that we were in Harare choosing the types of vehicles we want so that the money can be quickly processed," said one MP on condition of anonymity.

"Some of us have already selected the type of vehicles we need.

"Those who need to import from outside the country will get them free duty and members and chairpersons of portfolio committees will be the greatest beneficiaries and will get vehicles worth US$70 000."

Leader of the opposition party the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Clifford Hlatywayo said the party's MPs could not wait to get the new vehicles.

"There is nothing wrong in taking the vehicle because this was budgeted for," he said.

"This was in the budget."

Zanu-PF chief whip Popurai Togarepi yesterday professed ignorance about the matter.

"I am not aware of that," he said.

"Who told you that there is a budget of US$60 000 for each MPs for new vehicles?" Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said the timing was wrong and exposed misplaced priorities when the country is in desperate need of money to import maize. "The priority at the moment is to see that each and every villager is well fed," Ngwenya said.

"The other option is that these MPs should get that US$60 000 and invest that money into the constituency as drought relief to mitigate the effects of drought."

Legislators representing 210 constituencies have access to the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), which is allocated by the Treasury to initiate development projects.

The government introduced the CDF in 2010.

Social commentator Tendai Reuben Mbofana said the MPs were selfish.

"What we are saying is they should at least cut the money to at least US$20 000," Mbofana said.

"US$60 000 is too much at a time when we are faced with hunger.

"I am not saying the MP's should not have transport but let's have our priorities right first."

In December, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube was arm twisted by the MPs to increase the budget allocation for Parliament after they threatened not to pass his ‘anti-poor' budget.

Last year, Zanu-PF instructed all its party candidates who lost in the August elections to return top-of-the-range cars they received ahead of the polls.

In a show of its financial muscle, Zanu-PF doled out 210 brand new branded vehicles, including 4×4 Nissan Navaras and Ford Rangers, to parliamentary representatives contesting in the polls, but had earlier warned losers would be forced to surrender vehicles.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa's ruling party gobbled millions of United States dollars purchasing the campaign vehicles in his bid to secure a second and final term in office and a parliamentary majority.

Mnangagwa last week begged for US$2 billion after declaring the drought a national disaster.

According to estimates by humanitarian agencies, at least four million Zimbabweans need food until the next harvest. Standard


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