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Rein in Chamisa's legislators

06 Dec 2019 at 07:09hrs | Views
Mr Speaker Sir

Parliament's Rules and Orders Committee's decision to constitute a Privileges Committee that will investigate possible breach of Parliamentary procedures and etiquette by MDC-Alliance (MDC-A) legislators is commendable.

MDC-A legislators have in the past, boycotted sittings and the latest move by Parliament seeks to put to an end the waste of taxpayers' money occasioned by such shenanigans.

Mr Speaker Sir, it is high time Parliament invokes the necessary legal statutes to whip legislators from the MDC-A so that they desist from their boycott antics. The record will show that several warnings and reprimands by you as the presiding officer, have gone unheeded. It is time to act decisively on the legislators' errant behaviour.

A case in point here, Mr Speaker Sir, is when MDC-A MPs boycotted the 2020 National Budget statement presented in the august House by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube last month. On the day, the opposition legislators failed to justify their absence.

On one hand, they said they were protesting against the presence of President Mnangagwa in the Chamber because they do not recognise him. On the other hand, they claimed to have gone to attend a funeral of their two cadres who were buried on the day of the 2020 National Budget presentation.

The MDC-A expects people to take hook, line and sinker their explanation that they had gone to Marondera to bury a cadre. Spare us these antics please! Mr Speaker Sir, they think people are gullible.

Clearly, Mr Speaker Sir, given their role in the run up to the event, the decision by MDC-A MPs to boycott the budget statement presentation was as ill-advised as it was imprudent or misdirected.

It is common knowledge that MDC-A MPs had actively participated in National Budget activities in the run up to the Budget formulation. This includes, Mr Speaker Sir, gathering evidence from ministries on their Budget estimates and the much touted annual Victoria Falls retreat. The retreat comprised huge allowances and feasting, which the MDC-A opposition legislators could not resist.

Clearly, Mr Speaker Sir, that is hypocrisy for MDC-A MPs to only attend National Budget events that carry rich pickings, and conveniently fail to attend events where they do not get monetary rewards or incentives.

One question that begs to be asked is whether the MPs would have boycotted the National Budget statement had Prof Ncube chosen to table it in Victoria Falls or any other far flung place, where rich pickings would await them? It is unfortunate that the opposition legislators do not seem to see that they are hiding behind a finger.

Any discerning person can now see their hypocrisy.

Be that as it may, Mr Speaker Sir, there is need to come up with strong punitive measures to rein in such errant behaviour. The same applies to their decision to refuse to recognise President Mnangagwa. Surprising is that during question and answer sessions, the same MPs are keen to recognise the Government ministers appointed by President Mnangagwa.

Mr Speaker Sir, the MDC-A MPs are eager to direct their questions during Wednesday's question time to Government ministers and deputies, people who were appointed by the President they want us to believe they do not recognise. The situation is the same when they dutifully accept to take delivery of Parliamentary vehicles.

The question is whether it is prudent for them to accept vehicles signed for by a President they claim not to recognise. And indeed, they have since taken delivery of the Parliamentary vehicles and enjoy fuel coupons whose release is signed for by President Mnangagwa.

The opposition legislators are also equally keen to debate on Bills that again will ultimately be signed into law by the same President they claim not to recognise. What hypocrisy and duplicity and high level of insincerity!

Mr Speaker Sir, while we are aware that the SROC is seized with the issue that has since threatened to derail Parliamentary proceedings, decisive action ought to be taken to end the circus. If nothing is done, their actions would undermine the integrity of Parliament.

Norton legislator Mr Temba Mliswa, despite his other weaknesses, has condemned the behaviour of the MDC-A lawmakers as childish and retrogressive.

Mr Mliswa has failed to see wisdom in the antics by the MDC-A and indicated that failing to recognise the Head of State and Government was devoid of logic.

Mr Speaker Sir, the earlier decisive action is taken the better for the smooth running of the country's Parliament.

The time of making threats, Mr Speaker Sir, is over. Decisive and punitive action is the only way to go otherwise there is risk that the integrity of the august House will be undermined by opposition lawmakers.

Source - the herald
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