ZIMBABWE held elections on July 30 this year, which brought forth a Ninth Parliament dominated by Zanu PF, while Emmerson Mnangagwa was deemed elected as President when the Constitutional Court dismissed a challenge by MDC Alliance’s Nelson Chamisa.
So there is no question of legitimacy anymore because, according to Zimbabwe’s laws, Mnangagwa is the President of Zimbabwe and it is his prerogative to govern the country.
Parliament, among its responsibilities, has to hold the new Executive to account, and move the development agenda to advance the interests of the country.
But one would not know that when listening to on-going debates in the National Assembly. The House has been reduced to petty squabbles along political lines. The noise is so much that it drowns any chance of positive discourse that would help address the pertinent issues Zimbabwe is faced with.
It is not a secret that recent policy pronouncements by government have put the country in a terrible position. Yes, we mean the 2% tax which Finance minister Mthuli Ncube introduced on October 1, as a way of levying the informal sector to raise cash, ostensibly for infrastructure development, although the majority know that the bulk of the funds raised will go towards settling government’s obscene domestic debt, which now stands at almost $10 billion.
And also the move to separate United States dollar-denominated accounts from local real time gross settlement (RTGS) funded accounts, which left Zimbabweans confused as to the colour of their money, especially when government peddled the line that its surrogate bond note and RTGS balances have the same value as the US dollar.
Prices have skyrocketed, in some cases by over 500%, while salaries have remained stagnant and, in some cases, fallen! Poverty is on the increase, bad news for a people hoping to become a middle-class country by 2030. Major retailers and manufacturers have closed shop over the currency confusion, and thousands have lost jobs.
Parliament owes Zimbabweans leadership. For example, we need to know what the government did with all the money it borrowed, how it came to accrue such a debt, burdening the already suffering public with unaccounted for piles of debt. How did such borrowings escape parliamentary oversight?
We need to know what is happening in State-owned enterprises, how much money has government been pumping into the perennial lossmakers and how that money was used.
Accountability is not just a word in the dictionary, and Mnangagwa has spoken enough about it as a benchmark for his “new dispensation”.
So to our politicians in Parliament, the next election is in 2023, according to Zimbabwe’s Constitution. In the meantime, we need you to stop electioneering and chart the way forward. Zanu PF may be in power, but that does not mean it has a monopoly on sound policymaking.
Some of the most sensible ideas on how to move the country forward are coming from your counterparts on opposition benches, but political rhetoric is drowning them out and the country is losing out as the ruling party’s backbenchers appear only to hear evil from their rivals all the time.
To the MDC Alliance MPs, do not oppose for the sake of opposing, but in Parliament, you have a chance to show Zimbabweans why you deserve to lead the country going forward.