Nation has big expectations of new Parliament

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PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday officially opened the first session of the eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe, setting the direction the country will take in the next five years.

NewsDay Editorial

The composition of the current Parliament is different from the previous one as Zanu PF has a clear majority, which it can use to amend the Constitution and make laws to support various government policies.

We, however, would like from the outset to urge the ruling party not to abuse its numerical advantage by amending the governance charter for reasons other than genuine national interest.

The Constitution is an embodiment of the wishes and aspirations of Zimbabweans and should not be tampered with unless it becomes absolutely necessary. We also expect Parliament to move with speed in re-aligning the laws of the country with the Constitution so that Zimbabweans can begin to enjoy the fruits of the blueprint that was crafted with their input.

It is also important for this Parliament to come up with laws that will support efforts to revive the economy which has been plagued by challenges such as the high rate of unemployment partly due to lack of foreign direct investment because Zimbabwe has been regarded as a “rogue State” by some world political and economic powers.

The new legislators are expected to commit themselves fully to the business of the House. Members of Parliament are expected to help build the nation and to bring issues from their constitutencies to the House — not to turn the august House into a bedroom where they come to sleep during sessions.

In the same vein, we expect ministers to take Parliament seriously — especially to avoid truancy and to turn up to answer questions from legislators. MPs should never lose sight of the fact that other than their law-making function they have a responsibility to provide oversight over government.

We also hope the MDC-T MPs who boycotted the official opening of Parliament by Mugabe yesterday in protest against alleged rigging of the elections, realise that the nation has to move on. Those people who invested their faith in these legislators expect them to contribute meaningfully to the development of the country and not to continue crying over spilt milk. In fact, through their contributions in Parliament, MDC-T legislators should try and prove to all and sundry that they are the ones who should be in government.

However, this does not mean opposing everything brought to Parliament by Zanu PF just for the sake of opposing.

The new MPs have to be reminded that their role as legislators in a developing country is to assist in tackling basic issues affecting their constituents like access to water, electricity and establishment of community infrastructure such as schools and hospitals.

Legislators have to be agents for initiating and lobbying for projects that develop their constituencies and the country at large.

It will, therefore, be necessary for MPs to always be in touch with their constituents to understand their problems and not to disappear from their constituencies and resurface towards the next elections to seek another mandate in Parliament.

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