By Daniel Chigundu
Government of Zimbabwe which is failing to buy even essential drugs for hospitals and to pay its workers meaningful wages is set to host 350 legislators at the majestic Elephant Hills Hotel in Victoria Falls from the 30th of October to the 4th of November for a pre-budget seminar.
To make matters worse, the government is chattering a plane for legislators from Harare, Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West Provinces.
Those legislators from Masvingo, Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Midlands Provinces are expected to drive to Victoria Falls meaning they will get thick booklets of fuel coupons.
Announcing the itinerary Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda urged legislators to confirm their attendance to Parliament’s Public Relations Department.
“I wish to inform the House that the 2019 Pre-Budget Seminar will be held from 30th October to 4th November 2019 at the Elephant Hills Hotel in Victoria Falls. Honourable Members must confirm their attendance with the Public Relations Department. Officers from that department will be stationed at the Members Dining Hall on 22nd and 23rd October 2019.
“Honourable Members from Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Midlands and Masvingo Provinces will drive to Victoria Falls, while those from Harare, Manicaland, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central provinces will fly.
“A charter flight has been arranged for those that are flying and it departs Harare on 30th October 2019 at 0900 hours and arrives in Victoria Falls at 1000 hours. The return charter flight leaves Victoria Falls on 4th October 2019 at 0900 hours and arrives in Harare at 1000 hours,” he said.
While the pre-budget seminar is important for the country’s budget, the cost of hosting the event in Victoria Falls raises questions on the government’s sincerity to its austerity measures.
There have also been concerns that legislators are living large while the electorate is struggling through various challenges being faced in the economy.
It is believed that legislators recently received a generous sitting allowance increase, received diplomatic passports and are in line to get their vehicles any time soon.