Speaker of Parliament roasted
BULAWAYO — Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda was hauled over the coals last weekend for presiding over a “toothless” National Assembly which is yet to impact meaningfully on ordinary people’s lives.
Mudenda was in the second city last week to engage non-State actors who included civic society leaders, the business community and residents.
The major talking point during the discussion, which lasted for about three hours, was the de-industrialisation of Bulawayo.
Estimates suggest that over 20 000 people have been rendered jobless in Bulawayo since 2011.
Ntokozo Tshuma, a city businessman, said Parliament has failed to act decisively on poor corporate governance, corruption and de-industrialisation.
Members of Parliament’s carefree attitude towards the business of the House also came under the spotlight.
Residents flayed legislators for sleeping in the National Assembly instead of pushing vigorously the agendas of their constituencies.
Absenteeism has also blighted Parliament, they said.
Last Tuesday, Parliament had to be adjourned as there were only 39 legislators, far short of the 70 needed to constitute a quorum.
Residents also expressed concern over the slow pace of re-aligning laws to the new Constitution.
Alfred Ncube, a city resident, said amendments to the Urban Councils Act, which are being promised by Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere ignored totally constitutional provisions on devolution of power to provinces.
On de-industrialisation, Mudenda, said one of the lawmakers has moved a motion that seeks to designate the second city as home to Special Economic Zones (SEZ).
“As a result of that debate we have now got a bill that has come to Parliament and Bulawayo will be one of those areas that will be designated as an SEZ,” said Mudenda.
“If the process is slow, please petition Parliament and we will petition the Executive on your behalf and say the people are complaining (that) there is some slowness.”
Mudenda challenged the business community to come up with solutions on reviving industries instead of just blaming government for sitting on its laurels.
He said other countries have come up with laws that enable voters to recall MPs whom they feel are doing them a disservice.
“As for now there is no law that allows the electorate in a constituency to recall their MP. If you fight for that law as civic society and the public and amend the electoral law accordingly through your petition I tell you, no MP will run away from sitting. They will be busy trying to speak so that they are seen because they will be afraid that the electorate would recall them,” he said, adding that the ineffectiveness of some legislators should be a lesson on who to vote for in the next polls.
He admitted that Parliament was also worried by the slow process in the alignment of laws, adding that they had since suggested to the Executive to disaggregate all pieces of legislation according to their line ministries and then hand them over to faculties of law at the University of Zimbabwe, Midlands State University and Great Zimbabwe University for alignment.
Some laws to do with women’s rights could be taken to the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association, in an effort to reduce the workload on the office of the Attorney-General.
Follow us on Twitter @FingazLive and on Facebook – The Financial Gazette