Award-winning Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono took the time yesterday to question the MDC Alliance’s motives in boycotting SONA but attend an expensive budgetary seminar in Vic Falls at the expense of the taxpayers.
The thread started with MDC Secretary-GeneralCharlton Hwende telling the nation that they were in Vic Falls in this tweet:
Pre budget Seminars are always held out of Harare. We can’t boycott the budget process because we must fight and ensure that it’s pro poor. Checkthis video you will see that our @mdczimbabwe MPs are fighting for the people. We only boycott @edmnangagwa because he is illegitimate.
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Chin’ono then responded:
Dear @hwendec There is NO plausible excuse for the MDC MPs to have flown to Victoria Falls, stayed in 5 star hotels & get allowances from the starving taxpayers. Your presence there will change NOTHING. This is when you should show principle over expediency. Why not do it in HRE
Hwende then told Chin’ono it was the parliament ‘s decision:
This is a decision that was made by parliament and the ministry of finance if it was under our control we would have definitely preferred a cheaper location
But Chin]ono said:
It doesn’t matter! The decision to have ED address a SONA was also made by the same parliament, and funded by the same Ministry of Finance but you choose to stay away! Why is it you only stay away where there is no financial gain but where there are incentives you go?
Hwende responded that last year’s seminar bore some great fruits by saying:
Last year the MDC through our Chair of the Health Portfolio @LabodeRuthmanaged to fight for an increase in the Health budget.
To Which Chin’ono responded:
Does that justify blowing millions of dollars in Vic Falls when public hospitals have no medicines & are shut down bcoz doctors are incapacitated! Last year I also bought a present for my son. Could I use the same excuse this year when I don’t buy him a present & drink the money?
According to the journalist, a room in Vic Falls costs around $250 and a plane ticket around $300 per person.
A room in Vic Falls is US$250. A plane ticket is US$300. Multiply that by 350 MPs. It is US$192500 for just one day. We don’t know how much they are getting in allowances for days. US$192500 for hotels & flights would have run Harare Hospital for 3 months without any shortages!