21 June 2017

Zambia: Antonio Mwanza Cries Out - Our MPs Are Thieves

Photo: Zambia Reports
Police at a polling station in Zambia (file photo).
opinion

The colossal amounts of money that our Members of Parliament are raking in terms of allowances, salaries, gratuity, upkeep and other benefits is a pure case of institutionalized theft. It's highway robbery.

This is what your MPs get for dozing or shouting "Hear Hear Hear" in the House:

Sitting allowance: K3, 000 per sitting. Multiply that by 4 sittings per week, it comes to K12, 000 per month per MP. And if an MP sits in two committees he walks away with K9, 000 per day.

So in a month, one MP gets a whooping K48, 000 in allowances alone. Add a Salary of about K31, 000 to that, plus Accommodation allowance which is calculated at K500 per day plus upkeep allowance, plus tax free beer and food, the total amount we are spending to service one MP comes to a gigantic K100, 000 per month. Forget about the tax-free vehicle, traveling allowances, plus a staggering gratuity of about K500, 000 after five years of dozing and shouting "Hear Hear Hear!!!"

In short we are spending over K250, 000, 000 per annum feting our MPs. Preposterous!!!

What about Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Constitution Office Holders. Simply put, the poor are working for the politicians.

Now check those amounts and look at the state of the constituencies these same MPs come from, look at the poverty of their people.

How much does a qualified teacher, lecturer, nurse, police officer gets for serving the community? Masese.

The minimum qualification for being an MP is G12 or a certificate in Knitting, Photocopying and Binding, Plumbing etc but the minimum salary of an MP is K100, 000 per month. How? Why?

This COMMERCIALISATION of our politics has largely contributed to the dirt in our politics. People are ready to kill, steal, fight just to be in power or to hold on to power because of the lucrative nature of our politics. Our politics is no longer about service, it's about money, deals, corruption and all sorts of negativity in man at the expense of the poor. This must change if we ever have to achieve sanity, decency and service to mankind.

We need an independent Commission of Emoluments to calculate and peg the emoluments of MPs, Ministers and all Constitutional Office Holders to stopped. This is legalised theft and it should be stopped. It's immoral. It does not matter who is MP, you or me. it is simply immoral.

We need to revise and normalise these salaries and allowances. We cannot be working and paying taxes just to feed a handful of politicians. We are spending a bulk of our national budget paying salaries and allowamces to a few individuals leaving little or nothing for production and development. As long as we continue to expend most of our budgetary allocation on consumption and not production, Zambia will continue to wallow in poverty and destitution.

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