By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
01 July 2014
About 27 MPs from both the MDC-T and ZANU PF parties were absent when Parliament resumed sitting on Tuesday, with reports they are stranded in China where they travelled for shopping and missed their return flight.
A NewsDay report said the legislators organised a shopping trip to Beijing on their own without the involvement of Parliament and then proceeded to Guangdong resulting in them missing a return flight to Harare.
But MDC-T shadow minister for Justice Jessie Majome, who was among those who returned from China, told SW Radio Africa that contrary to media reports the trip was a ‘voluntary familiarisation trip.’ She said the trour was organized by ZAN PF deputy chief whip Mandi Chimhene, in her capacity as a member of the Zimbabwe China Friendship Association.
She said during the tour the MPs were free to do whatever they wanted and some chose sightseeing while others preferred shopping.
The stranded MPs are said to have been enticed by the cheap prices and decided to take a fast train to explore goods in the next town, hoping to be back on time for their return flight. But only a few of the adventurous legislators managed to catch the return flight together with those who had heeded advice not to proceed to the next town.
Sources yesterday said the stranded MPs are now expected back in the country Thursday.
This development comes after the MPs recently reported that they had gone for many months without salaries. However in January Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda accused legislators of swindling the government of large sums of money by overstating allowances owed to them.