By Peacemaker Zano
The Parliament of Zimbabwe consists of two chambers thus, the upper chamber which is the Senate and the House of Assembly which is the lower chamber. Parliaments are usually defined as having two main categories of actors, the government and the opposition. The legislators in Zimbabwe are comprised of members of the ruling party, Zanu PF, opposition party, MDC Alliance and independent legislators.
All the members of parliament (MPs) represent different constituencies. The core functions of parliamentarians comprise the law making function, the consent to taxation and control of public expenditure and debate on government policies.
As elected officials, legislators are expected to speak for and air the views of those who elected them into office. They are expected to represent the aspirations of the electorate and engage in debates that give value to the wishes and will of citizens.
Contrary to that, most MDC legislators in Zimbabwe have not been doing justice to the people they represent in various constituencies. On a number of occasions, during parliament sessions MDC MPs have been behaving rowdy through disrupting parliament business.
Opposition legislators should complement government programmes or proffer solutions where possible rather than putting spanners in government programmes for political expediency. The opposition MPs have been foolishly propagating the notion that President Emmerson Mnangagwa is not the legitimate President. Their failure to recognise President Mnangagwa as the Head of State has been derailing government programmes and it can only hurt their constituency in the long run. Some of them had been openly declaring that they would make this country ungovernable, a declaration which many described as sabotaging government efforts in developing the economy.
Recently, MDC Alliance Vice President Engineer Elias Mudzuri was harassed and landed himself in hot soup for attending a parliamentary function at State House which was officiated by President Mnangagwa. As the leader of opposition in the Senate and a member of the Parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders Committee, it was essential for Mudzuri to attend such a government event as a way fulfilling his parliamentary duties. The behaviour by other MDC A MPs depicted that the opposition officials do not even understand their role in parliament anymore as they follow the dictates of their immature and delusional leader, Nelson Chamisa.
One of the MDC legislator for Kuwadzana East, Charles Hwende interrogated Mudzuri for attending that parliament event saying, “One munhu weMDC, vana chief whip vese havana kuenda. Hana yenyu yanga isangarove muri one kuState House kwacho?”
At one point, the opposition leaders walked out of Parliament building making noise as they disrupted the State of the Nation Address (SONA) which was being officiated by President Mnangagwa. Also, the legislators refused to acknowledge President Mnangagwa when he entered the National Assembly chamber during a national budget presentation last month.
If the Constitution of Zimbabwe states that the government is comprised of the executive, legislature and judiciary, how then would the opposition parliamentarians foolishly acknowledge one arm of government and not the other? The MDC parliamentarians should be encouraged to swallow their pride and start to acknowledge President Mnangagwa’s leadership or else its going to be an unpleasant five years for them to the next elections in 2023.
MDC legislators have no choice but to work with the government of the day. It is also imperative to note that even the voter in any constituency, who did not vote for that particular MP, is still being represented by that legislator who won in that constituency. For any political party, either Zanu PF or MDC A that has legislators in parliament to distance itself from the government of the day is irresponsible and ‘un-strategic’ as no amount of noise is going to change the election result in their favour.
Government programmes such as building of schools, drilling of boreholes, or distribution of food and inputs for agriculture may take place in constituencies that are under MDC A legislators and it will be their responsibility to make sure that the people they serve are well represented. Such legislators should ensure that programmes initiated by President Mnangagwa’s government are well understood by the people.
The MDC parliamentarians should rethink their “illegitimate” mantra as they are shooting themselves in the foot.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.