Hurungwe West National Assembly member Mr Temba Mliswa has refused to accept an official vehicle through the Parliamentary Vehicle Loan Scheme, arguing that the facility should instead be used to develop poor constituencies.
In an attack on the scheme, the outspoken legislator questioned the decision to award the vehicle purchase contract to Croco Motors ahead of local car assembler Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries (WMMI).
He said the initiative should have prioritised WMMI under the banner of creating employment and supporting local industry.
Mr Mliswa — in an exclusive interview with The Sunday Mail last week — said many legislators already own vehicles and should not have, therefore, been considered ahead of constituency needs. Last month, Parliament announced that it would facilitate the purchase of all-terrain vehicles for members through Croco Motors. Under the scheme, the cars will be supplied on credit with Government settling the bill over eight months.
The legislators are, in turn, expected to make instalments during the five-year tenure of Parliament. Mr Mliswa said a car was not one of his immediate needs.
“Some of my colleagues might need a car, but I certainly do not. We have not yet received the Constituency Development Fund and this should have been an opportunity for us to be given an option of helping our constituencies with that money.
“We should have had options instead of a car. I would have liked to use my money to renovate a school or a clinic in my constituency. In fact, why should MPs with cars be offered cars? Why should cattle without ticks be taken to a dip tank?”
Mr Mliswa also questioned the rationale of awarding the vehicle supply tender to a private company instead of helping recapitalise the State-linked WMMI.
“There was no reason why Government did not give the contract to Willowvale. The fact of the matter is that Croco Motors does not manufacture those vehicles. They simply import. So, why was that contract not given to Willowvale?
“We cannot talk about Zim Asset (the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation) without implementing it ourselves. If we are serious about Zim Asset, why did we not order locally assembled cars from Willowvale and, in the process, create 2 000 jobs? I have nothing against Croco Motors, but the contract should have been given to Willowvale.”
Mr Mliswa said he would never accept a vehicle under the loan scheme unless it supported WMMI and local job creation.
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