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MDC Alliance boycotts unwarranted, retrogressive

by Staff reporter
05 Aug 2019 at 07:20hrs | Views
The MDC-Alliance is known for boycotting Parliament, national events and other important occasions in a bid to create side shows and fool its supporters into thinking the party is still relevant. But the opposition party sunk to its lowest when it boycotted the presentation of the Mid-Year Budget Review Statement and Supplementary Budget in Parliament by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube last week.

The MDC-Alliance's action clearly shows that the opposition party is going against headwinds.

There are many reasons why this uncalled for boycott of parliamentary business was pointless, ill-thought out and irresponsible. When the 2019 National Budget was presented by Prof Ncube in Parliament last year, the MDC-Alliance boycotted the event, but opposition Members of Parliament went on to debate the Budget allocations and participated in approving the provisions.

From then on, some of the debate in the House was centred on that National Budget and the MDC-Alliance members were participating with vigour and sometimes initiating such debates around the Budget.

 Through this active participation, the MDC-Alliance became part of the Budget process, which they also constantly discussed in parliamentary portfolio committees they belong to.

Is it not ironic that MDC-Alliance vice president Tendai Biti chairs the Public Accounts Committee which holds ministries and other Government arms accountable when it comes to using funds allocated in the National Budget? It is now clear that the MDC-Alliance boycott of the Mid-Term Review Statement and Supplementary Budget was cheap propaganda that failed to achieve its intended purpose.

The opposition party could not even fool its supporters who are fully aware that its Members of Parliament have been actively involved in the budgetary process since last year when the National Budget was proposed.

Those who support the opposition party should have been left wondering at what exactly its Members of Parliament wanted to achieve by boycotting the presentation by Prof Ncube. This is because the Mid-Term Review Statement and the Supplementary Budget have a bearing on all Zimbabweans, despite their political affiliation.

After all, the MDC-Alliance members know too well that Zanu-PF has the majority in Parliament, and there is nothing that stops debate from proceeding and crucial decisions being made in their absence. If the opposition party has its supporters at heart, at least its Members of Parliament should show some respect for them by airing their views during debates in the House.

Boycotting is a sure sign of a political party that is abrogating its duties, and thus not worthy to be represented in the august House. What the MDC-Alliance members seem to forget is that boycotting has been part of their theme since the formation of the party in 1999.

But in all these occasions, the boycotts have been of no use as the they failed to stop proceedings, with the people participating in the events without caring about the absence of the opposition party.

The tough lesson that the MDC-Alliance legislators are yet to grasp is that boycotts have failed to work and have become an archaic strategy.

The boycotts only serve to reflect the kind of opposition party the nation is dealing with. It has now become clear even to the doubting Thomases that the MDC-Alliance legislators are only concerned with collecting sitting allowances and other benefits that come from Parliament, like vehicles.

This is why we welcome the decision by the Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda to instruct the withdrawal of sitting allowances for the session the MDC-Alliance members boycotted. It would be doing the nation injustice to use the taxpayers' money to pay the legislators for deliberately refusing to do their work. We think that in future, Adv Mudenda should look at tightening the punishment for those who boycott sittings to ensure this behaviour is not repeated.

The reasoning behind the boycott that the MDC-Alliance legislators do not recognise President Mnangagwa, who attended the session, is just superficial. The MDC-Alliance members know too well that the 2018 elections are behind the nation, which is now focusing in the future.

The opposition party candidate Nelson Chamisa lost the presidential election, and Zanu-PF scored far more than the two thirds majority in the parliamentary vote.

The MDC-Alliance went to the Constitutional Court which confirmed President Mnangagwa's win. They also contested a few parliamentary seats in court, which they too lost. It is uncalled for the MDC Alliance to try and open the elections issues at this juncture when everyone is putting the shoulder on the wheel to ensure the country prospers economically.

Source - the herald