Parliament suspended as Mnangagwa claims no cash
By Tichaona Sibanda
24 October 2008
Parliament has been forced to adjourn until 11th November because of lack of funds from government, amid reports that MPs based outside Harare were this week being turned away from hotels.
The delay in forming an inclusive government means one of the top institutions in the country is now ‘broke’ and cannot sustain it’s operations.
MDC MP for Mbare Piniel Denga told Newsreel that most of their legislators from outside the capital ended up paying for their own accomodation after most hotels refused to take them in.
‘We have designated hotels used by parliamentarians but they are now owed a lot of money by parliament and were refusing to accommodate them,’ Denga said.
There are reports that parliament has failed to pay hotel bills for close to 180 MPs and about 70 senators who are mostly based outside Harare. Denga said the MDC were opposed to the suspension of parliament after the motion was tabled by ZANU PF’s Emmerson Mnangagwa.
But Mnangagwa said that constraints relating to the non-existence of the inclusive government meant the house had not been allocated money from the treasury to pay for the legislators’s accommodation and allowances during their sessions.
‘We looked at the way some of our MPs were living and struggling to get cash to buy food and decided it was best to adjourn, but otherwise it was against our wishes as there is a lot of business to be covered in parliament,’ Denga added.
Mugabe’s deliberate delaying tactics in the power sharing talks have created this very convenient situation for Zanu PF who, for the first time, no longer have a majority in parliament.
Talks begin again on Monday when the SADC troika on security arrive in Harare to mediate. But observers fear that SADC are not taking a strong enough position with Mugabe, and that more delays are inevitable.
The setting up of the inclusive government has been in the works since September 15, when the three leaders signed an historic power sharing pact to end the country’s decade old political and economic crisis.
Once if the leaders agree to the power-sharing deal, Parliament will reconvene to approve a constitution amendment giving force to the power sharing arrangement.