THE Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, has challenged legislators to advance their educational qualifications to be able to eloquently debate issues brought before Parliament.
By Tinotenda Munyukwi
Mudenda made the remarks in Harare last week during a stakeholders’ meeting organised by the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust (SAPST).
Mudenda said civic players like SAPST had produced various publications in a bid to strengthen the institution of Parliament, but expressed disappointment with some legislators who had dismally failed to comprehend these publications.
“Over the years SAPST has produced several publications which have gone a long way in strengthening the institution of Parliament. Sometimes I get disappointed that some members cannot read these documents, but I have encouraged them to read,” he said.
He, however, hailed some members for heeding the call to enhance their educational qualifications.
“But I am happy to say after we said let us read beyond news publications, several Members of Parliament and staff have gone back to school with some completing their first degrees, masters and one or two doctorates,” he said.
Mabvuku-Tafara MP James Maridadi urged fellow MPs to heed Mudenda’s call and remain relevant in today’s fast-changing world.
“We pride ourselves as a country with the second highest literacy rate in Africa, second to Tunisia, so I think it is important for MPs to be educated because Parliament is about documents and the Constitution which has to be read,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, Election Resource Centre director Tawanda Chimhini said education was important for aspiring candidates in the coming 2018 elections in giving them a full understanding of their responsibilities.
“If we build the capacity of parliamentarians, the current sitting ones and those that are thinking of assuming public office, to have a full understanding of their responsibilities, we are likely to get a more accountable legislature and by effect an executive that is responsive and accountable to the public that elects them into office,” he said.