Mozambique: Luxury cars for members of parliament in a time of crisis

 parliament.jpgThe acquisition of luxury vehicles for deputies of the Standing Commission of the Assembly of the Republic at a time when the country is experiencing the worst financial crisis in its history is generating fierce controversy in Mozambique.

The 17 luxury cars cost the state about EUR 3,500,000, a sum which that has triggered a wave of indignation, given that many Mozambicans, especially in Maputo, cannot even rely on public buses and have to commute in open trucks.

Members of the public told DW Africa the money should have been spent on other things.

“We cannot explain the purchase of these vehicles in the current context. We are going through one of the most difficult periods in our history in terms of public finances, with hospitals without medicines, people transported in inhuman and degrading conditions, and still such purchases are made. One does not understand,” one man said.

Another interviewee said: “We who travel by ‘chapas’ have a hard time. We live far away while they live nearby and travel in good cars. I don’t think that’s pretty.”

National Budget Director Rogério Nkomo said that it is “legitimate for the members of the Assembly of the Republic to be transported in official cars of that level”. Nkomo told the press that “this is what happens to members of other organs of state sovereignty”.

Top vehicles in a country in crisis

The editor of MediaFax, Fernando Mbanze, however says that the allocation of these vehicles does not sit well with the crisis that the country is undergoing.

“We must try to delay a little until conditions in the country are better prepared for rights to be effectively fulfilled. These are 17 Mercedes that cost the public purse a lot of money, which could be much better used if we applied concepts like equity and fairness.”

The crisis this year has driven the Mozambican state to make many cuts in public spending. Some sectors of state administration no longer have even essential material such as paper and ink cartridges.

Analyst Fernando Gonçalves says that instead of the state buying vehicles for deputies, “they should receive an adequate salary to allow them to go to the bank and borrow enough to buy a car consistent with their status”.

Concern about the work of MPs

According to Gonçalves, the purchase of vehicles does not further the resolution of the population’s problems.

“I am not saying that the lack of transport is not important. It is important to solve this problem. What we should worry about is the quality of the work that the deputy does after he has been allocated these means of transportation.”

President Filipe Nyusi has criticized excessive expenditure in the Mozambican public administration, mainly in the acquisition of vehicles.

“You always have to buy vehicles! To do what? And this mentality of home vehicle, field vehicle. Where else has this ever been seen? When we do not have resources, why not stick with only one car? We think that top-of-the-range vehicle brands is a great thing to show that you’re the boss … What kind of boss?”, the president asked.

DW Africa contacted members of the Standing Committee who benefited from the purchase of the Mercedes, but they were unavailable for comment.

Source: Deutsche Welle

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