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Legislators urged to defend their rights

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VICTORIA FALLS – The speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo yesterday took a swipe at the Executive and Treasury for treating the Legislature as a mere rubber stamping forum and urged legislators to defend their rights.

Report by Nqobile Bhebhe Staff Reporter

Speaking at the pre-Budget workshop for Parliament, Moyo said the current powers of Parliament have been curtailed by the Executive to the extent that it cannot make amendments to any Budget brought before it.

He said Parliament had no power to make amendments to all National Budgets, which is a national crisis.

“It is the general practice that parliaments the world over would seriously debate and make amendments or concessions in dialogue with the Finance minister. Unfortunately in our situation, members really have no power to alter what is tabled as many sanctions lie in their path,” said Moyo.

The speaker, who is MDC-T national chairman, attacked Finance minister Tendai Biti for undermining Parliament’s authority.

“Our perennial complaint as the Legislature since the commencement  of the First Session of the Seventh Parliament has always had to do with the attitude of the Executive towards the Legislature and the treatment extended to it . . . an unhealthy attitude is best demonstrated in the manner in which the Treasury deals with Parliament in its day-to-day operations.”

“Why is it that Parliament has to queue alongside ministries to be served as though Parliament is a ministry? Why are the internal arrangements within the ministry of finance not reflecting the statutes? Surely, is the Ministry of Finance not aware of the difference between a government ministry and a whole arm of the State?” asked Moyo amid applause by legislators.

“Now it is time that we should all stand up and defend the integrity of Parliament, as it is clear that no one will defend the right to exist as a complement institution with a legitimate constitutional mandate,” added the speaker.

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