MPs demand gym and breastfeeding room at Parliament

Female MPs represented by Mutasa North MP Chido Madiwa demanded that there should be a nursery and breastfeeding room in Parliament to cater for MPs with young babies.

Mudenda responded: “There is nowhere in the world where you find such breastfeeding facilities.

“We will perhaps consider that when we move to the new Parliament, but at the moment, there is no necessity to establish a nursery here because I do not see any MP here who seems to have little ones.

“On a more serious note, when we move to the new Parliament building, I think it should be possible to make that arrangement. But I want to encourage you to exercise family planning as well.”

Harare East MP Tendai Biti then interjected, suggesting that there must also be a gym provided at the new Parliament Building.

“It is a good thing and Norton MP Temba Mliswa is very passionate about physical fitness. Even the Speaker needs to keep fit and so it is very important to consider that in the new Parliament Building,” Biti said.

Meanwhile, Zanu-PF legislator Christopher Peter Chingosho (Headlands MP) yesterday raised a matter of privilege with the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda, requesting that Parliament raises salaries for MPs to US$7 000 per month from the current equivalent of US$170.

Chingosho pleaded with Mudenda to forward their concerns to the relevant authorities for consideration.

He said due to poor salaries, MPs were now unable to take care of their families.

“Mr Speaker, half a loaf is better than nothing and I appreciate the salaries that we are getting as MPs, but if you convert the amount to US dollars, it means that we are getting US$170,” Chingosho said.

“However, as an MP, one is expected to do everything using that US$170 per month, from taking care of the family, servicing your vehicle and everything in your constituency.

“I also appreciate the coupons that we are getting. The salary which we should be getting per month is US$7 000 and if we get fuel coupons, these should be US dollar coupons.”

In response, Mudenda said he had met the parties’ chief whips yesterday morning to discuss the welfare of MPs and were looking into the issue.

Legislators also get US$75 for every sitting.

While their salaries have been affected by inflation, ordinary Zimbabweans are also struggling, with most workers getting on average the equivalent of US$30 salaries per month.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has been under pressure from workers over better salaries.

Teachers have vowed not to return to work when schools open next week demanding US dollar salaries.

University workers have also declared incapacitation, citing low salaries.

Source – newsday

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