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Clash Reported Between Zimbabwe House Speaker & Clerk as Costs Balloon

House Speaker Lovemore Moyo and Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma are said to have clashed over a number of issues ranging from Moyo's official portrait to the constitutional revision process, but both downplayed the conflict

Zimbabwe House Speaker Lovemore Moyo and Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma were reported have clashed over issues including the production of portraits of the speaker to be displayed in Parliament and in some 200 constituency and information centers around the country.

Parliamentary sources and news reports said Moyo contracted a photographer to produce his official portrait, but he rejected the work saying it was substandard and asked Zvoma to allocate funds for a new batch of photos.

Zvoma is reported to have rejected Moyo’s request, saying the expense was not budgeted for the 2009 financial year and that he had to seek advice in the matter from ZANU-PF Senate President Edna Madzongwe.

Moyo, chairman of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, is said to have been angered by the response.

The two men have repeatedly clashed over the appointment of parliamentary sub-committees to revise the Zimbabwean constitution.

Zvoma told VOA that he and Moyo are working well together. He acknowledged some problems with the speaker, but said he preferred to call them professional challenges. He added that he is responsible for monitoring spending.

Speaker Moyo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that Zvoma is an employee of the Parliament and if he believed the clerk was a hindrance he would take the necessary action through the appropriate channels.

Political analyst Bekithemba Mhlanga told reporter Gibbs Dube that Parliament must rein in Zvoma and Moyo, who seem to be taking decisions along partisan political lines thereby running the risk of derailing the legislative process.

There is concern meanwhile about the mounting cost of hotel accommodations for the 240 members of Parliament whose residences are outside the capital.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted Treasury sources as saying the hotel bill is running at US$17,000 a day when Parliament is in session, not to mention other allowances paid to House and Senate members.

The Herald said consideration is being given to building special accommodations for the several days members must stay in town each session of Parliament.

House member Moses Mzila Ndlovu, parliamentarian for Bulilima, Matabeleland North, and also deputy minister of foreign affairs, explained why he has been obliged to take a hotel room when Parliament is in session.