Hotels in Harare this week embarrassed Members of Parliament by turning them away when they came to check in, telling them their accommodation fees had not been paid.
The legislators who mostly book hotels such as Cresta, RTG and Holiday Inn were left mortified after being told they could not check-in because residential fees had not been paid.
Norton legislator Temba Mliswa raised the matter in Parliament on Thursday. He also reminded the Speaker of National Assembly Jacob Mudenda that their salaries were not enough.
“It is just something that needs to be addressed for certainty. When Hon. Members of Parliament wanted to check into the hotels this week, they were told they could not. I am glad that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is here, I wanted him to pay attention to this one,” Mliswa said
“It involves the issue of Parliament not paying, but I think it is the Ministry of Finance that has not paid Parliament to pay. It was quite embarrassing and humiliating for Hon. Members of Parliament to be told ‘you cannot check in.’
“I am glad that there was some quick reaction to that. There was a quick response to that intervention and they were accommodated but it is an issue which really talks about their welfare.
“Most Hon. Members of Parliament – if I am not mistaken, we were paid RTGs4 000 after deductions of PSMAS and it is quite something. If you think of RTGs4 000 for a mother and father to carry home to say this is the money, I do not know how we can comprehend and continue on that.
“So I know you have been looking at the welfare of Hon. Members of Parliament but an update would surely help Hon. Members understand where they are in terms of those negotiations which we once did with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and the Permanent Secretary pertaining to a number of issues.
“Hon. Members are not immune to inflation as well. So I know that they do not have the energy to speak about it, but a response is needed to what is the way forward for the welfare of the Hon. Members of Parliament in spite of the inflation which is there.”
Mudenda responded by assuring the legislators that engagements between Parliament and the line Ministry had resulted in a “substantial increase” of their salaries.
“I am aware of what has been done following the meeting between the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development on the welfare of Hon. Members of Parliament and generally Government at large.
“I do not think I will be privileged to announce what has been agreed to and I do not know whether the Hon. Minister may also want to announce that at this point in time.
“What I know is a substantial increase has been agreed to as well as an increase in your sitting allowances effective 1st July, 2022. So something has been agreed to. I think at the appropriate time, the Hon. Minister will make some pronouncements, not only for us here but for the entire State,” Mudenda said.