ZANU PF is headed for a showdown with its legislators after they vowed not to return campaign vehicles used during the July 31 vote until they receive new wheels under the Parliamentary Vehicle Loan Scheme.
The party is desperate to get the cars back for use during provincial elections set for this weekend and administration secretary Didymus Mutasa warned the MPs that the vehicles would be impounded if they do not return them.
Zanu PF wants to avoid the chaos which affected disputed votes in three provinces which were undermined by various logistical challenges including delays in delivering ballots.
Mutasa, who is written to the legislators several times asking for the vehicles, said if the MPs wanted cars to show off with they must buy their own.
“We have decided as a party that those vehicles must be returned. In fact, we will be announcing on radio that if they don’t return those vehicles in the next three days, we will impound them,” he said on Monday.
“I am serious about this. We want those vehicles for party use in the provincial elections coming up. They were not given those vehicles for their personal interests.
“They were given those vehicles for campaigns only not for show-off. If they want to show off, they can go ahead and buy their own.”
But with the Parliamentary Scheme uncertain because of the cash squeeze government is facing, the MPs insist they need the cars for their constituency work.
“They know that we are yet to receive vehicles from Government and most of the new party MPs only have those party vehicles to carry out party and Government businesses,” said one of the new MPs.
“The party must allow us to continue using the vehicles until we get our allocation from Government through the Parliamentary Vehicle Loan Scheme.”
“It is not possible for us to return the vehicles as long as Treasury has not released funds for us to get our vehicles,” added another.
“Since our party is the one running Government, we would expect them to appreciate that Treasury has no money at the moment so they must allow us to continue using those vehicles until we get our allocation.
“By taking away these vehicles, they put pressure on Treasury to provide funds for our vehicles under the Parliamentary scheme. It would be wise for them to let us retain the cars while Treasury looks for money.”
The party’s chief whip, Jorum Gumbo, backed the legislators saying Parliament was broke and unable to provide the MPs with new cars.
“MPs can only get vehicles if Parliament provides money for that purpose but at the moment, we all know that it is broke to the extent that it cannot cater for the welfare of the same legislators in terms of allowances and fuel coupons,” he said.
“How do they perform in their constituencies when they are not mobile? To be honest, I think the party must reward these legislators and all our candidates who lost for working extra hard to ensure a resounding victory for the party.
“That is the only way of showing gratitude to the party cadres. The other problem is that party candidates were not told that they would return the vehicles after the elections.”
“He (Gumbo) must ask the Speaker (of Parliament) to ask from Government for money for vehicles for the MPs. I am serious about this. They must return those vehicles,” he insisted.