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Electorate must reflect on choice of candidates


WITH the Eighth Parliament session effectively out of the picture and only awaiting official dissolution on the eve of the July 30 harmonised elections, the electorate has been presented with a golden opportunity to revisit their choice of legislators and make amends on election day.

That process starts with today’s sitting of the Nomination Court to accept nomination papers from aspiring candidates.

While it may sound a bit cynical, the bottom line is that the Eighth Session will best be remembered for having MPs who were more vocal in demanding personal benefits such as allowances and pensions than taking part in debates on motions and Bills brought before the House.

This is a session, which undesirably recorded a high number of adjournments, particularly in the National Assembly due to lack of quorums to pass important decisions affecting the general populace.

On several occasions, the House of Assembly failed to garner at least 70 legislators out of the 270 MPs to debate important motions of issues that affected the electorate.

The issue was even worsened by members of the executive who bunked Parliament’s question and answer sessions on Wednesdays.

It shows that there was lack of seriousness by our MPs and ministers during the Eighth Parliament session, and that taxpayers’ money was wasted on mute legislators whose only pre-occupation was warming up benches and queuing for stipends.

However, this is not to say that all MPs in the Eighth Parliament were not active. There were some who gave value for tax payers’ money, and they debated on almost every Bill and motion brought before the National Assembly or Senate.

We believe legislators are elected into Parliament to perform three key roles which are legislative, representative and oversight.

It means they should be visible in their respective constituencies as much as during debates in Parliament and committee meetings.

But, we have discovered that during the tenure of the Eighth Parliament several MPs failed to perform their representative roles well.

The majority never went back to their constituencies for feedback meetings with the people that elected them.

It is clear that as Zimbabweans cast their votes next month, they should choose wisely. The country needs legislators that understand different political, economic, legal and social issues affecting the citizens so that they eloquently articulate them in Parliament for the benefit of the constituents that voted them into office.

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