HARARE – After witnessing their former parliamentarian comrades fall on hard times, legislators are demanding a retirement pension.
James Makore, MDC Senator for Chitungwiza, said he was worried with the appalling standard of living of former legislators.
He said former lawmakers were in a desperate situation as they have not received any pension from Parliament following the end of their legislative tenure.
In an address to an induction workshop for MPs in Harare this week, Makore said he had been asked by some former MPs to convey the message to Parliament’s presiding officers.
“We are the worst in terms of remuneration, in Africa,” Makore said.
“There are many former MPs who did not come back into Parliament after the elections and are now living as destitutes.
“We are asking Parliament to provide a pension for us to cushion us against being the laughing stock of society after the end of our parliamentary term.
“I met a lot of MPs who are now living miserable lives, because there is no pension for them.”
Makore refused to reveal the names of the MPs who have hit hard times.
He was supported by Zanu PF MP Irene Zindi.
“I want to know how much each MP is entitled as pension money, since many former MPs are waiting for their pensions,” said Zindi.
Zindi was MP for Hatfield Constituency from 1990 to 2000 before she lost.
She bounced back to Parliament in 2013 as Zanu PF MP for Mutasa South.
Austin Zvoma, the clerk of Parliament said there was a pension scheme for the MPs.
“There is a pension scheme for MPs, but it only applies to MPs who have served two terms and above and I cannot divulge the amount of money that one is entitled as it is a confidential matter,” said Zvoma.
Many of the former legislators have fallen on hard times with some now using public transport as the transition from the high life of an MP to a commoner take its toll.
Former MP for Murewa West Ward Nezi, who was the parliamentary welfare committee chairperson, told the Daily News that he is regularly inundated with calls from his counterparts.
Apparently, the government owes the ex-legislators large sums of money in unpaid sitting allowances.