By KAIKO NAMUSA-
OPPOSITION members of Parliament are demanding an increase in their emoluments expressing fears of destitution after leaving the National Assembly.
MMD Mafinga Member of Parliament (MP) Catherine Namugala has said Parliamentarians need increased allowances as well as a retirement package.
Ms Namugala was contributing to debate on a notice of motion on the report of the Parliamentary Reforms and Modernisation Committee on Wednesday evening, which was unanimously adopted.
“MPs want more money, we deserve more money. We demand our salaries are increased so that our gratuity goes up. The members of the public need to know that we are poorly paid and we can’t live as impoverished leaders.
“Why should we work after five years and become impoverished? And we demand that a pension is introduced. Some of our predecessors are impoverished and we don’t want to end up like that. What we want is that the welfare of MPs should be looked at,” Ms Namugala said.
UPND Monze Central MP Jack Mwiimbu lamented that in his 12-years as a parliamentarian, the House had on different occasions discussed the welfare of MPs but without tangible achievement.
Mr Mwiimbu accused Cabinet of failing to tackle issues regarding the welfare of MPs.
Mr Mwiimbu said Parliament’s committee system was the weakest in the region detailing that its vital role as an oversight institution on the operations of Government ministries was being overlooked.
He recommended that sitting allowance for MPs should not be received but be part of the gratuity package.
“The sitting allowance should be part of our gratuity that way the salary will go up. MPs are wallowing in poverty because of poor emoluments,” he said.
He said that Parliament like other wings of Government should meet regularly as was the case with the Judiciary and Executive that held meetings on a regular basis but that this was not the case with the Legislative wing.
He said this was the only way to ensure effective management of Parliamentary affairs.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs has informed Parliament that the Zambia Police deployed 219 security personnel at Paramount Chief Chitimukulu’s palace and surrounding areas because there was a security threat.
Home Affairs Minister Ngosa Simbyakula said this in response to Lubansenshi independent Member of Parliament Patrick Mucheleka, who wanted to know how many police officers were deployed at the Paramount Chief’s palace and surrounding areas of Mungwi District from October 2013 to January 2014.
Dr Simbyakula said it was the mandate of the Police to ensure law and order in the country whenever security was threatened.
Dr Simbyakula said Police authorities deemed it fit to deploy the officers to ensure peace.
“It is the mandate of the Zambia Police to maintain law and order, whenever there was a security threat. The Police made an assessment of the prevailing situation and arrived at the conclusion to deploy the officers,” he said.
Asked by Keembe MMD MP Ronnie Shikapwasha to share the security risk that existed, Dr Simbyakula said the information was not brought to his attention as it was the decision of the Police authorities whether to share such information or not.
The minister said there were only 20 Police personnel in the area adding that the ministry’s role was to provide policy guidance.
He added that K155, 000 was used for fuel for operations, K235, 000 and K28, 000 were used for allowances for officers and motor vehicle repairs.
Meanwhile, Transport, Works, Supply and Communication Deputy Minister Panji Kaunda informed the House that the lifting of the ban on Zambian aircrafts flying into the European Union (EU) airspace would be considered when Government submits its report to the EU this month.
He was responding to Kaputa PF MP, Maxas Ngónga who wanted to find out whether the ban would be lifted and when.
He said the safety findings would be handed to the European Aviation Safety Agency, which banned Zambia’s flights into the EU airspace after an audit conducted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) between February and April 2009 which established that Zambia was not complying with international safety standards.
“The lifting of the ban will be looked at when we make our submissions to the EU. The ban has had a negative impact on our tourism sector but if this report is not submitted before we have a national airline, we can still access the EU airspace in partnership with other airlines that have access to the EU space,” he said.
Times of Zambia