THERE has been talk of doctors being found in graveyards due to
easily-treated ailments while lawyers have landed in prison for petty crimes, but many people are similarly wondering whether the actions by the current crop of Members of the Eighth Parliament are the mistake of the July 31 election.
The behaviour of some of the MPs of late has left many thinking whether they made the right decision to vote for them.
In the past few months, the MPs have hogged the limelight for the wrong reasons like the 27 that made news when they were stranded in China following a joy ride on a fast train.
Two MPs, Mandi Chimene and Senator Rorana Muchiwa, nearly exchanged blows in Parliament over the trip, as their electorate watched in disgust.
Political analyst Takura Zhangazha thinks that the MPs are overawed by their new roles and are clueless on how to handle their positions in a dignified manner.
“Some of them are overwhelmed by the fact they are in Parliament. Whatever orientation they got is proving to be inadequate and the tendency to fly out in return for allowances indicates they are not paid well,” Zhangazha said.
“They have also proven that they have no heart for the suffering people; they just want to make hay while the sun shines to get material benefits.”
Zanu PF Buhera South MP Joseph Chinotimba and his Binga North counterpart Prince Sibanda exchanged harsh words in Parliament dissing each other over the unpleasant personal experiences, true or perceived.
Chinotimba accused Sibanda of being a rapist, in apparent reference to the case in which he is being accused of drugging and raping a 17-year-old girl in his constituency. Sibanda is currently on $400 bail.
In retaliation, Sibanda accused Chinotimba of having avenging spirits in apparent reference to suspicion that war veterans killed people during the war and the land invasions.
“Ndezvako, wakaraper iwewe (get away, you are a rapist),” charged Chinotimba leaving other MPs amazed.
“Unofunga kuti totya ngozi dzako isu, putseki mudhara iwewe (you think we are afraid of your avenging spirits, you stupid old man),” Sibanda hit back.
Chinotimba himself, though he has been impressive with the way he takes corruption head-on in the august House, has been accused by many of being a “rebel without a cause” given the dishonourable manner he interacted with Sibanda in Parliament.
Chinoz, as the self-styled commander of the land invasions is known, was ejected from the committee room by Irene Zindi.
The scene was unpleasant and majority of the MPs were not impressed.
“Such behaviour exposes these MPs. They are an embarrassment to their constituencies,” a NewsDay reader said on social network.
Zindi tried to downplay the embarrassing incident that took place in the presence of Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo as a once-off thing as MPs in her committee were responsible people.
“I am sorry it happened, but we were able to deal with it. It’s not always obtaining in this committee, it just happened,” Zindi said.
“Political parties did not consider quality in leadership skills when they chose their MPs. This is the crisis we are now having and this circus is likely to continue for years to come,” Beatrice Musarandega said.
“If what we read in the Press is what is happening at Parliament, then we are in trouble.”
Following the China “trip of shame”, the MPs accused each other of disrespect and arrogance in a public spat that left them with no fans especially from those who elected them into office.
“Maybe it was God’s form of punishing the MPs for not obeying my advice and revolting against all my efforts,” Chimene, who had organised the trip, said.
“I did nothing wrong, but helped MPs to get exposure. Maybe God was angry. Even Moses had the same experience and God punished the Israelites by sending snakes. Maybe that was the same case here.”
In Kwekwe, two MPs both from Zanu PF fought in the full glare of their supporters after they had traded insults.
Kwekwe Central MP Masango Matambanadzo claimed that
Gokwe-Kana MP Owen Ncube wanted to mobilise youths to burn his vehicle while witnesses claimed that Ncube had mocked his colleague over a vest he said was bought in China during the trip.
One witness said: “It was like a movie. He drove straight to Ncube’s car and stopped just when it appeared they were about to crash into each other. Matambanadzo, who was wearing a vest, got out of his car and grabbed Ncube through the window and started punching him.”
The reason for their fight was unknown, but given their standing in society, their behaviour was not in tandem with their honourable tags.
“Matambanadzo was accusing Ncube of abusing the illegal gold panners for his benefit while Ncube made fun of his vest which he said had been bought in China while the plane was leaving,” another witness said.
Far away from the comedy in Parliament, several MPs have been accused by their electorate of only acting as if they were concerned with their plight during campaign periods and working against them after achieving their goals.
A case in point is one involving Goromonzi South MP Petronella Kagonye who is up in arms against five co-operatives in her constituency who accuse her of turning her back on them after they had campaigned for her in the July 31 2013 harmonised elections.
Kagonye, a former official in the Ministry of Lands, is accused of pleading with the co-operative members to campaign for her so that she would in turn facilitate land acquisition for them.
Documents seen by NewsDay allege that after winning the elections, she then claimed ownership of the land hence the fallout with more than 7 000 co-operative members.
In Chitungwiza, MP Christopher Chigumba was at loggerheads with Zanu PF supporters accusing him of allegedly using them ahead of last year’s elections before dumping them and demanding payment for the land he gave them or they would be evicted.
There again is the story of the new MPs now being referred to as Missing Persons, whose last physical appearance in their constituencies was when they were pleading with the electorate for votes.
All these stories about our Honourable MPs make people wonder whether the July 31 decision made in various constituencies was not a mistake.