BY VENERANDA LANGA
A Zanu PF MP has demanded a special dispensation for legislators to be treated outside the country saying some of them are sick and failing to get adequate treatment in Zimbabwe.
Murewa West MP Jonah Nyikadzino Sewera last week raised a matter of privilege with the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Tsitsi Gezi demanding that legislators should be well-looked after, including getting medical treatment outside the country.
“On a point of privilege, Madam Speaker, we have noted that MPs are not feeling well and some of them are not even coming to work because their medical aid is no longer functional,” Sewera said.
“Is it not possible to work out something so that they can go outside the country to get treated as MPs?”
A number of senior government officials have been flying out of the country to access special medical care while the majority of citizens are grappling with poor health facilities.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputies, Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi, have been flying in and out of the country to receive treatment.
The late former president Robert Mugabe made several trips to Singapore to receive medical attention and eventually died outside the country.
Gezi, however, qushed Sewera’s request, saying that with Covid-19 the borders were closed and so there was nowhere to go.
“If you are saying the medical aid is dysfunctional here — can it then be functional outside the country?
“Nevertheless, all borders are closed and so where is it that you want to go for treatment?” Gezi responded.
On Wednesday, Norton MP Temba Mliswa also complained about the welfare of MPs, saying they were failing to get fuel to attend Parliament.
Mliswa’s request was a follow-up from last week’s request by Zanu PF MPs that legislators should get fuel without having to endure the long winding queues.
“On fuel, considering that this institution is one of the three pillars of the state — we pass budgets and so forth — we are not asking for anything extra, but for the office of MPs to be respected,” Mliswa said.
“We have no respect in the public. We are seen in the queues with drums. We do not sell that fuel, but we use it so that it enables us to get here.
“Fortunately for you Very Important People (VIPs) — and that is why we end up starting to look at your offices because you are well taken care of.
“The fathers are eating while the children are hungry. So what kind of country is this?
“You do not have to queue for fuel because there are arrangements for you to go and get fuel. We must be given fuel where you go and get fuel,” Mliswa said.
MPs are usually given fuel coupons, but Mliswa said they hardly get the fuel.
“We are not paid in foreign currency and if we were to convert our salaries to United States dollars, it is now US$50.
“This money is not enough to sustain us and you are failing as our leaders.”
The Norton MP also said MPs had not yet been allocated their service cars while ministers have been allocated two cars.
On the issue of fuel, Gezi said plans were underway for MPs to access fuel from Petrotrade, and Webster Shamu’s Redan Service Stations.