MPs must be accountable to electorate
By Mukachana Hanyani
The idea by the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity, who is also Zanu PF National Political Commissar, Cde Webster Shamu that Zanu PF aspiring candidates in all elections would now be asked to produce their programmes and justify to the people why they should be voted for must be commendable.
This call must be taken serious as it comes on the background of various investigations being carried out by the Ministry of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs on how the current crop of Members of Parliament used the Constitutional Developmental Fund (CDF).
The CDF, which was allocated to all the constituencies through their MPs representing those constituencies by the Ministry of Finance in the 2011 National budget in November 2010, have not seen any developments taking place in various constituencies around the country. And in some of the constituencies the CDF failed to do the intended goals but only ended up abused by MPS.
As such a lot of constituents in the country are failing to understand why those MPs who abused CDF can come again to the same people seeking re-election.
So the call by Minister Shamu had come at an appropriate time as the country is waiting eagerly to possibly hold elections next year.
Some of the MPs only last held meetings in their constituencies during campaigns for the 2008 harmonised elections when they were seeking for votes to smuggle them into parliament. From that time upto now their constituencies had become ghost areas as they rarely go there.
Most rural areas and even urban areas see no reason why their MPs could come back to them and seek their endorsements into the august house through their important â€˜Xâ€™s.
The MPs had seen it necessary to use people to vote for them into parliament so that they get to live luxuriously, forgetting to represent those who had sacrificed their time standing into meandering queues waiting to vote for them.
While this article may not be in a position to mention any MP by name, areas like Kuwadzana have gone for a long time without electricity as a result of load-shedding by ZESA.
Well, ZESA had its own shortcomings, which I cannot discuss in this article, but the bottom line is that the MP of Kuwadzana must come to the people and explain to them why Kuwadzana has been â€˜sacrificedâ€™ by ZESA in load-shedding as it seeks to satisfy other locations in Harare for their fair power distribution.
In Kuwadzana, electricity is switched on around 10pm and switched off around 5am every day but in other locations electricity remains visible in normal hours.
The MP of the area rarely comes there and some even think that there is no MP in Kuwadzana constituency. It would be good if the legislator comes out from wherever they are hiding and explains to the electorate why they cannot access him or her.
Some of us who started staying in Kuwadzana just after the 2008 elections are now regretting why in the first place we thought of going to stay there.
Water problems are the order of the day and the Kuwadzana Clinic is not also spared in the ZESA load-shedding exercise as well as water woos. It is disheartening to see such an important institution in the constituency failing to get essential services when it is there to save lives.
One wonders why people sometimes elect MPs who just come to them when they want to be elected into parliament only to disappear after elections.
Probably, the explanation for such a scenario could be that most of the MPs just come in such constituencies claiming that they are residents of those constituencies yet they would be staying in areas like Borrowdale, Belvedere, Vainona and others.
Often, the electorate is coerced into voting for such people into parliament as the leadership of various political parties would have presented to them those individuals as their representatives.
In this way people get to be given a candidate who spends his/her time in Borrowdale and failing to know the hardships which his/her constituency would be facing. As a measure to make sure that an MP fully represents his/her people, a requirement for one to be voted into parliament must also see to it that an aspiring candidate lives in the area which they wish to represent.
In addition, if one is voted into parliament and then fails to either visit his/her constituency or put in place developmental programmes within a period of Â two years, his/her seat must be declared vacant and the party which holds that seat must be given a chance to find replacement from its members within that constituency.
MPs must be bound by law to make sure that they do tangible developments in their constituencies, failure of which they are relieved of their post.
So the electorates must take seriously Minister Shamu`s advice and make sure that hard working MPs remain in parliament and lazy ones are flushed out in the coming elections.
The opinions expressed in this article are the authorâ€™s and do not necessarily represent those of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.