OPPOSITION MDC and MDC-T ministers in the then Government of National Unity (GNU) lost connection with the poor when they started dipping their hands into the Zanu PF gravy train, a former Cabinet minister has said.
Former National Healing minister Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, speaking at a Heal Zimbabwe Trust public meeting on healing and reconciliation, said the opposition became interested in luxuries dished out by the government and immediately lost touch with reality.
“We got sucked in by offers of luxury and opposition members saw kinds of money that they had never seen before and they took that money, which, up to now, they are yet to declare,” he said.
“Ask the ministers to declare how much they withdrew from government each time they went out on assignments and if they say it was less than $5 000, they would be lying.”
Ndlovu said while the opposition was vocal against the frequent travels by President Robert Mugabe, alleging this drained Treasury, once inside, they also became obsessed with travelling.
But former ICT minister Nelson Chamisa said while he never travelled much during his days in government, he was unaware of any such huge financial pickings.
I only travelled once during my time with President Mugabe when I went to Geneva (Switzerland) and the allowances I got for three days were around $1 500 and were for hotel bills and nothing to take home,” he said.
Chamisa said Ndlovu should speak for himself and his former ministry because he did not have powers to appoint himself as the spokesperson of other former ministers.
“Unless if he had a special rate of his own in his ministry, because ministries are autonomous in that regard, he cannot pass himself as the spokesperson of all ministers, he should speak for himself and those he knows,” Chamisa said.
But government officials who attended the same Geneva meeting with Chamisa confirmed they were paid up to $20 000 for that trip.
Former Justice deputy minister Obert Gutu also said he was not personally aware of such huge figures.
He said all he had got for assignments was fuel for his personal vehicle and not allowances.
“If it was happening in other ministries, I would not know, but speaking from my personal experience, nothing like that ever happened,” he said.