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Temba Mliswa blasts parly ad hoc committee

by Staff reporter
20 Jan 2023 at 22:28hrs | Views
OUTSPOKEN independent Norton legislator Temba Mliswa this week attacked the composition of the Parliament ad hoc committee analysing the preliminary delimitation exercise report cautioning on possible legal pitfalls in the process.

He raised the query on Tuesday this week shortly before the National Assembly debated the ad hoc committee on the Analysis of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission 2022 Preliminary Report on the Delimitation Exercise.

The members of the committee include Pupurai Togarepi (chair), Dexter Nduna, Kenneth Musanhi, Tsitsi Muzenda, Chido Madiwa, David Parirenyatwa, Musa Ncube, Cuthbert Mpame, Chief Siatabwa Siansali, Prince Sibanda, David Tekeshe, Douglas Mwonzora and Anele Ndebele.

Togarepi lost his Gutu South constituency according to the delimitation report, a situation that could have motivated Mliswa's concerns.

The committee said Zec had failed to follow procedures including delimiting ward boundaries below the maximum and minimum thresholds.

Mliswa described the composition of the Delimitation Committee as "quite disappointing" as most of the members were conflicted.

"Their constituencies are part of the problem.  So how can they represent the nation when their constituencies are affected?" Mliswa said.

He further argued that most Members of Parliament were represented by their chief whips who had the final say on agreements.

"I am an independent member.  So am I supposed to agree to what they all agree on without my input?  If the law says so, then I respect that.

"These are some of the issues Mr Speaker, Sir.  We are fortunate that we have a Speaker who is quite learned; a Speaker who recently has been appointed to be the legal secretary for the ruling party, which is important, an advocate of note.  In terms of all these issues that I have spoken about, from a legal point of view, is it proper to continuously ignore that very same person?" Mliswa questioned.

He further urged Parliament to make legal consultations on the issue.

Speaker Jacob Mudenda dismissed Mliswa's argument saying he had resigned from the Mines and Mineral Development committee he once chaired.

"The Hon. Member should have predicated his observation on the historical fact that at one point, material time, he was chosen to be a chairman of a portfolio committee where he excelled until he found himself out of that chairmanship for reasons best known to himself.

"So that historical fact must be taken into account that it has been like this august House to extend the inclusivity of Members of Parliament, including the Independent and not only that but also when we were discussing the welfare of Members of Parliament," Mudenda said.   

"In the past, this House has taken into account his potential for leading in the committees of this House.  Therefore, his observation must be tainted with graciousness in terms of the historical factor.  I am happy that in his presentation, he indicated that in the future, a member who is independent should be considered.  Indeed, in the future, the member will be considered as the member has been considered in the past.  So this House has a very good track record in that regard," Mudenda said.

The Speaker said whatever a select committee presents to Parliament is not a fait accompli because it is open to debate.

"So there is no prejudice in terms of debate on a report of a given committee including the ad hoc committee.  I am sure the Hon. Member will have the opportunity to debate accordingly in this House," he said.

Zec chairperson, Priscilla Chigumba in December last year presented the preliminary delimitation report to President Mnangagwa. Parliament on Wednesday this week adopted the ad hoc report committee which  will be submitted to Mnangagwa who will then send it back to Zec.

Source - The Independent