President Robert Mugabe’s gaffe at the official opening of the Third Session of the Eighth Parliament could have cost the country $500 000, an MP claimed yesterday.

Mabvuku legislator, James Maridadi raised the issue in the National Assembly while contributing to debate on a motion on the President’s speech.


He said it cost the government a lot of money in terms of accommodation and meals when MPs were recalled to Harare to have the correct speech tabled before Parliament.

“Corruption has cost us 75% of our economy. The President came here and delivered a wrong speech and for me that is corruption because someone deliberately took out his right speech and replaced it with a wrong one,” Maridadi said.

“That boob cost the nation a lot of money because MPs were told to stay put at their hotels, which cost $120 per night, as well as lunch and dinner costs and transport and subsistence costs. The money used will not be less than half a million dollars, and that can send to school more than 200 children in my constituency.”

He said Mugabe was wrongly advised that by 2020 the country will be generating 5 000 megawatts of electricity from Kariba.
“The year 2020 is only five years from now and for an electricity generation project, we need not less than seven years after initially putting in money,” Maridadi said.

The Mabvuku legislator also urged government to stop being over excited by Nigerian investor Aliko Dangote.

“Dangote is worth $17,5 billion, and that does not mean it is cash at bank. Those are assets and other issues. Yet, we have the second richest family in India, Essar, and five years down the line they still do not have a licence and yet they put $900 000 into the coffers of this country. The investment climate is not conducive and to think Dangote is coming will not happen,” Maridadi said.

Mutasa South MP Trevor Saruwaka said Mugabe was not sincere in addressing the scourge of corruption and land issues as bigwigs in his government owned several farms. He also accused Mugabe of nepotism in his recent Cabinet reshuffle.

“There is no sincerity in solving the land issue because the recent divorces of his nephew Leo Mugabe revealed he has three farms. He should take away Leo’s farms. I do not believe we lack information — it is implementation that we lack,” Saruwaka said.

“On corruption, the fish rots from the head. What we have seen is that corrupt ministers are rewarded. Minister Ignatius Chombo’s divorce revealed he had more than 80 stands and how does one acquire all those in a country with a long waiting list?

“But during the reshuffle that individual is given the position of minister of Home Affairs to deal with the police, and we think it is a way of fighting corruption by putting a thief to guard?”

Saruwaka said Mugabe exhibited nepotism by appointing his nephew Patrick Zhuwao as Youth minister.

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