National Assembly speaker, Jacob Mudenda, has shot down a proposal by Chimanimani East legislator, Joshua Sacco, for Parliament to have a special filling station designated for legislators, especially those whose constituencies are far away from Harare.
This comes at a time when Zimbabwe is battling with fuel challenges owing to acute shortages of foreign currency, a situation that is compromising service delivery across sectors of the economy.
Speaking in Parliament recently, Chimanimani East legislator Joshua Sacco, said fuel shortages in the country were making it difficult for MPs to attend parliamentary session in the capital.
“My point of privilege Honourable Speaker touches on the issue of availability of fuel for Honourable Members of this House,” said Sacco.
“We are facing challenges in acquiring fuel to attend Parliament. I would like to raise a suggestion. Is it possible for Parliament to have a designated filling station for Members of Parliament?”
However, Mudenda immediately questioned the request.
“Why? We must suffer like all citizens.”Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda.
But Sacco further pressed on and explained his suggestion.
“I am raising this issue Honourable Speaker Sir because not all of us live in Harare like Honourable [Job] Sikhala. We come from rural constituencies.”
Sikhala had earlier on also questioned Sacco’s request.
“My point is that the bulk of Members of Parliament here come from rural constituencies and we are failing to access fuel to attend Parliament,” explained Sacco.
“Our role is to represent the people. Our role also is of oversight and we travel long distances weekly. So is it possible to have a designated filling station for Honourable Members of Parliament because this is impacting negatively on our role as Members of Parliament?”Chimanimani East legislator Joshua Sacco.
Mudenda said while Sacco’s point was valid it needed to be contextualised within the national interest.
“We need to contextualise the problem because while it is true that we need fuel to be mobile but we also represent constituencies where the electorate whom we must meet must also be mobile. It is important that when we advance our welfare it should be contextualised to the welfare of the electorate as well.”
Mudenda further explained: “So this issue must be viewed as a national problem where, as Members of Parliament, we can press it upon the Honourable Minister responsible to ensure that there are sufficient supplies of fuel, not only for the Members of Parliament but also for the nation as such.”