dydimusmutasa.jpgThe first Speaker of Parliament in independent Zimbabwe, Cde Didymus Mutasa says there is need to expedite the reform of the parliamentary system from the Westminster model so that it reflects Zimbabwean identity.

Thirty one years into independence, the country’s parliamentary system is still modelled along the British system, a development which the Cde Didymus Mutasa says the reforms are over-due.

Expressing his sentiments regarding the operation of parliament in the country, Cde Mutasa said the same colonial master which is criticised everyday has its parliamentary system followed to book. He said the new thrust should reflect the country’s identity and value systems.

“We have been against the British for a long time but we have not made any efforts to change the way we run our parliament. We need to have a parliament that reflects our identity to show that indeed we are liberated,” said Cde Mutasa.

Clerk of Parliament, Mr. Austin Zvoma confirmed that Zimbabwe follows the British System though efforts have been made to depart from their way of business through the introduction of comprehensive reform programme designed to strengthen the capacity of MPs to contribute more effectively to Parliamentary proceedings.

“We introduced reforms but it is a process that requires time. The concerns are clear, the sitting arrangements remain the same because we have not build any new parliament building. But we have made efforts to strengthen our institution,” said Mr Zvoma.

Although Parliamentary Reforms started at Independence in April 1980, they were largely undertaken in an ad hoc manner. However, the Legislature became increasingly aware that it was still widely viewed by the public as being a remote institution which was ill – equipped and inadequately resourced to effectively represent the constituents.

 

Furthermore, there was a popular perception that Parliament was too weak to bring the Executive Branch of the state to account for its actions and for public funds.

 

In October 1996, a Parliamentary Reform Committee (PRC) was established to effect reforms.