Parly faces lawsuits

 parliament new PARLIAMENT faces possible litigation from former lawmakers who were not paid their allowances by the time the legislative assembly was dissolved on June 29. The Members of Parliament are owed varying amounts in unpaid allowances for sittings during the Seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe with the development being blamed on the precarious state of the country’s finances.Two days before Parliament was dissolved, Chipinge East lawmaker Mateu Mathias Mlambo said outgoing MPs were faced by a crisis because the august House was coming to an end with payments, some of which date back to five years ago, still outstanding.Constitutional Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga told the MPs that for as long as aggrieved MPs took legal action within three years from the date of dissolution, their claim to the outstanding payments remained valid at law. Matinenga said at law, if there is somebody who owes another party something, the creditor has a duty to pay back and he would be willing to back legislators in court to solidify their claims. “If you have not been given all your monies, there is a period whereby you have to go and appeal for the compensation of what you lost. It is entirely up to you that you have to make up your minds and approach the legal way so that you get your remunerations.You have to go to the courts and tell them that you are a losing Member of Parliament but all the same, you have not been paid your benefits and payments and therefore, you need that money. You have to be paid,” said Matinenga. “If they do not make payments by the 29th June, 2013 when Parliament stands dissolved, it does not mean that what you are owed has been extinguished. What it means is that you are owed that allowance or whatever it is until that date is extinguished by prescription in three years. So, within the three years, if you have not been paid, please take Parliament to court and I will defend you.” Lawmakers who served in the just-ended Parliament did so under some of the worst conditions due to lack of funds, a development that saw some of them walking on foot or hiking to come for plenary sessions. Sometimes MPs were subjected to embarrassing moments when hotels declined to accomodate them citing unpaid debts. 

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