HARARE – Zimbabwe is one of the few countries that are not paid-up members of the African Parliamentary Union (APU), owing the institution about $14 000 in unpaid subscriptions.
This was revealed yesterday by Zanu PF Senator Thokozile Mathuthu in the Senate while moving a motion to take note of the report of the 62nd Session of the Executive Committee of the APU held in Abidjan, Cote d’ Ivoire last month.
Mathuthu told the house that it was saddening that Zimbabwe was counted among countries that were in arrears, paying only $18 324 out of a possible total of $32 879.
This, she said, constituted about 44 percent of what the country is supposed to pay.
“It is embarrassing that notwithstanding that our Senate president Edna Madzongwe is the deputy president of the APU, the country is not a fully paid-up member having paid just about 44 percent of our total dues,” Mathuthu said.
“I therefore recommend that government makes it a priority to pay up our arrears to protect the image of the country.”.
The motion was seconded by another Zanu PF Senator Patrick Chitaka, who however, told the house that the arrears were not as bad as portrayed in the report.
“We are asking government to clear the said arrears but it is not as bad as it is sounds from the report,” he said.
“There are other countries that have arrears dating back to between three and four years yet ours is a current debt.”
Chitaka also thanked Madzongwe for “ably chairing the proceedings of APU” on September 28 and 29.
Contributing to the motion, Senator Matson Hlalo of the MDC said it was important for the APU to encourage other African member countries to get fully paid up to ensure the smooth running of the institution’s business.
“We have always boasted about Africa being for Africans and by the same speaking, we should be seen to be able to fund our own processes,” he said.
“While it is true that we must pay our dues as a country, it is important that other countries, our other African brothers and sisters are also encouraged to pay up so the business of the organisation is not hindered.”
The APU, formerly the Union of African Parliaments, is a continental inter-parliamentary organisation set up in Abidjan on February 13, 1976.
APU has a mandate to, among other things, bring together the parliamentary institutions of Africa as well as encouraging continued co-operation of African parliamentarians on one hand and between African parliamentarians and those of other continents on the other.