Parliament was adjourned to September 3 this year. The president according to law is allowed to recall parliament to sit if there is need but Veritas said this has proved costly to the government as it will have to pay for normal expenses parliament has to incur in such an instance.
The government pays for accommodation, allowances and transport for MPs and Senators if they are attending to the House of Assembly business.
“One agreement up (for approval) is for a $164 million loan from China to finance the upgrading of the Victoria Falls airport ahead on next year’s UNWTO congress,” Veritas said adding the copy of the agreement between Harare and China is yet available.
No other reasons were given by parliament except for the approval of the Chinese loan.
The group said the signing of this and several other financial agreements between Zimbabwe and China was announced in early April during a visit by Chinese Vice premier Hui Liangyu.
“If the deal was signed in April, it would have been sensible to bring it to parliament any time then while it was still sitting. It is very costly to the nation to recall parliament,” Veritas said.
“Recalls to secure urgent approval of Chinese loan agreements signed months previously are fast becoming a government habit. The last such recall was in May 2011, when a long adjournment was interrrupted to allow Minister of Defence to get parliamentary approval of a controversial loan agreement between Zimbabwe and China to finance the national defence college,” Veritas said.
The recall in May last year coincided with a visit to Zimbabwe by a high level Chinese military delegation. On that occasion MPs from both MDC formations complained that parliamentarians were being railroaded into rubberstamping a transaction they had not had enough time to consider properly and there was public outrage over the government’s handling of the deal, the group said