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Silent MPs have no role in Parliament


THE revelations that only 35 legislators have dominated debates in Parliament, while the other 315 or so have largely been mute, is cause for concern and raises questions about the quality of discussions in the legislature.

Comment: NewsDay Editor

Legislators are voted so they can make representations on behalf of their constituents and also speak out about laws proposed in Parliament and if the majority are silent, then they have no role in Parliament.

The excuse that some may not be gifted in oratory or that they are inexperienced does not hold water, as the Members of Parliament were voted in on their perceived ability to articulate issues that would be affecting their constituents.

Parliament has often been accused of being paper tigers and this is because most of the lawmakers are just seat warmers, who cannot justify why they are in the august House, let alone why they receive the allowances they get.

As watchdogs, there is need for the Women in Politics Support Unit (Wipsu), which revealed that most parliamentarians were mute, to name and shame them, while voters have a duty to ensure that they are not re-elected in the next elections.

While failing to represent their constituents, these legislators get allowances and fancy cars, with others having the temerity of demanding an upward adjustment of what they are paid.

When on Parliament business, legislators from outside Harare are put up in hotels all on taxpayers’ money, when the average taxpayer is struggling to make ends meet.

Thus, it is important that, regardless of party, every legislator, who has not had a meaningful contribution in Parliament in the past four years, should be made to account for their silence.

Being quiet in Parliament is equivalent to short-changing and cheating the people that voted for that legislator.

There are many issues to talk about in Parliament, meaning there is no excuse to be quiet in the legislature, for example the water situation, dilapidated roads and corruption — just to name a few — which affect just about everyone in the country.

Thus, any legislator, who is regarded as mute, is doing a disservice to the country.

Often, the executive arm of the State is often accused of overreach, running roughshod over Parliament and it is easy to see why now, it is because the majority of legislators are content with being quiet and not holding the government to account.

Such legislators ought and deserve to be outed and shamed.

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