Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Zimbabwe Government Principals Block Payment of Legislator Arrears

October 2011

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara have barred payment of back allowances for members of Parliament saying the state of government finances does not permit it.

Sources said the three unity government principals said such allowances, which in some cases amounted to US$40,000, will only be paid going forward.

The Standard newspaper said angry lawmakers nearly manhandled ZANU-PF Chief Whip Joram Gumbo and his counterparts in the two Movement for Democratic Change formations - Innocent Gonese and Edward Mkhosi - when they announced the decision.

The unity government principals did not specify a reason for blocking the payments, but sources said it was due to a lack of funds. The three ordered Parliament to pay only US$75 per sitting to the members beginning Tuesday, November 1.

Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga said Parliament had completed calculating outstanding allowances last week and was preparing to pay them.

Independent political commentator George Mkhwanazi said legislators should be paid what is due to them as cabinet ministers have received hefty travel allowances.

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