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ALLOWANCE BLOW FOR APPOINTED MPS, SENATORS

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MBABANE – What was perceived as a gravy train for unelected parliamentarians is over.
This is in relation to the E5 789 monthly constituency allowance which was paid to all parliamentarians, including senators.


The report of the Royal Commission which was meant for the preparation of the circular to be issued by the Ministry of Finance on the Terms and Conditions of Service for Politicians of the 11th Parliament, has done away with the constituency allowance.


Instead, the Phil Mnisi-led Commission has introduced what was termed an Inkhundla Outreach Allowance which will be strictly for elected MPs, Indvuna Yenkhundla and Bucopho.


The Inkhundla Outreach Allowance is 12.5 per cent of the elected MP’s salaries who in total are 59. MPs get a monthly salary of E46 318. 
If this is implemented in the circular to be issued, government will make monthly savings of about E260 505 which was paid to the 30 senators, 10 appointed MPs, the four women elected from the regions and the attorney general. 


This equates to an annual saving of E3 126 060. The prime minister and the deputy prime minister are also not entitled to the allowance. 
According to Section 4.4.2 of the report, the rationale behind this according to the report, was that in terms of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Eswatini, for the purposes of political organisation and popular representation of the people in Parliament, Eswatini was divided into several areas called tinkhundla.An inkhundla is among other things, also used for the election of Members of Parliament.


The report states that an elected Member of Parliament, Indvuna Yenkhundla and Bucopho Benkhundla had a duty to hold consultations with people in his/her inkhundla or umphakatsi to enquire about the difficulties and aspirations of the people to recommend to government.


Further they could recommend to other agencies, the necessary legislation, development projects, help or benefits to provide relief or assistance to the people in the inkhundla or umphakatsi. “Government must provide an allowance to assist the elected Member of Parliament, Indvuna Yenkhundla and Bucopho Benkhundla to undertake this function,” reads the report. Elected Members of Parliament, Tindvuna and Bucopho Betinkhundla, will be entitled to an Inkhundla Outreach allowance.


Female


“For elected Members of Parliament, who are appointed to Cabinet or as Speaker of the House or Deputy Speaker, the allowance will be equal to that of an ordinary Member of Parliament payable per month,” reads the report.  Non-elected members, according to the report (including the four female members elected by the House from the four regions in terms of Sections 86(1) and 95 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Eswatini), will not be entitled to the Inkhundla Outreach Allowance.


Meanwhile, when asked about the issue of not getting any Inkhundla Outreach Allowance, Deputy Senate President Ndumiso Mdluli said he was not well-versed about the report or the proposed circular.


“Once we have had time to go through it and familiarised ourselves with it, we will have a response,” said Mdluli.
Meanwhile, a member of the commission revealed that they had engaged the non-elected parliamentarians who stated that their constituency was the country’s authorities.


The member stated that each and every citizen belonged to the authorities’ constituency and therefore their argument did not hold any water.       
The Chairperson of the Royal Commission Phil Mnisi referred all questions regarding the matter to the Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg, stating that they had already handed it over to the ministry in order for it to compile the circular using the report as a guideline. 
However, the minister had not responded to a text that was sent to him at the time of compiling  this report despite the indication that he had received the message.

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