Monday, 12 December 2011

The distasteful collusion between Cabinet and Parliament on the Purchase of Luxury Vehicles.

Press Statement

27 September 2011.

The Committee of the Peoples Charter (Zimbabwe) expresses its grave disappointment at the new found collusion between the Executive Arm of Government (Cabinet) and the Parliament of Zimbabwe (Legislature) in the unjustified purchase of special utility luxury vehicles. According to a report carried in the Daily News on Sunday on 25 September 2011, the government has purchased 300 Ford Luxury Ranger vehicles for Members of Parliament at a cost of US$ 4,5 million.

This is after Cabinet had, according to the same paper, initially purchased luxury vehicles for government ministers at an estimated cost of US$20 million which the Minster of Finance has sought to explain as actually being US $1.5 million carried over from the 2010 budget allocation.

The CPC however views this latest purchase of vehicles as a distasteful and inappropriate ‘quid pro quo’ arrangement between the Executive and Parliament. Instead of playing its Constitutionally provided oversight role of the actions and policies of the central government, our national Parliament and Members of Parliament are now compromised through their evident intention to benefit without transparency from the fiscus.

While the matter of benefits and the welfare of Parliamentarians has been a valid concern, the purchase and acceptance of such luxury vehicles by members of the august house indicates a serious and unfortunate penchant for the misplaced politics of luxury at the expense of the majority poor.

It also demonstrates that our national Parliament is pre-occupied with its own material well being than that of the people of Zimbabwe. Parliament has not had a decent and productive sitting and has not interrogated any actions of the central government to their logical conclusion. Furthermore, the COPAC process has been compounded by political partisanship as well as disputes over payments of allowances, developments which can only be deemed to be informed by a culture of the politics of personal aggrandizement.

The CPC calls upon Parliament not to follow the undemocratic tendency of Cabinet and assert its parliamentary independence and call the executive to account as it is constitutionally mandated to do. This can begin by refusing these vehicles and setting up a Parliamentary enquiry as to how the Cabinet purchased luxury vehicles for itself in the first place.

Where Parliament fails to do so it will be apparent to the public that there is no difference between the Executive and Parliament and that the former is acting in undemocratic collusion with the latter, a development which would be patently unconstitutional. 

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