THE ruling Zanu PF party has begun flexing its muscle in Parliament by shutting out key debates on national issues.

NewsDay reported yesterday that deputy Speaker of the National Assembly  Tsitsi Gezi on Tuesday blocked debate in the august House on Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party activists who were arrested on Sunday at their interim leader Jameson Timba’s house in Avondale, Harare.

 Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda last week blocked  debate in the National Assembly on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rant against neighbouring Zambia during a meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

In a meeting,  Mnangagwa told Putin that Zambia had become a regional security threat because of its close ties with the United States after it allegedly allowed the setting up of the US Africa Command base in Lusaka.

Mudenda said foreign relations were a “no go area” for the Legislature.

It is clear debates on key matters will not be allowed in future, a disservice to the electorate represented by lawmakers.

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This is made possible by Zanu PF’s super majority in the National Assembly and a weak opposition that has lost its mojo allowing Cabinet ministers to “get away with murder”.

The opposition has been a pale shadow of itself since the purging of elected lawmakers by self-imposed CCC interim secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu after the August 23 harmonised elections.

CCC splintered into factions early this year with founding leader Nelson Chamisa saying CCC has been infiltrated and become an appendage of the Zanu PF party before ditching it.

A strong Legislature is a bulwark against abuse of authority and resources by the Executive.

In a policy brief titled, The Role of Parliament in Promoting Good Governance, the Economic Commission for Africa said democracy, in its various manifestations over the centuries, is by far the most coveted political system that serves to link government to the people.

“A democratically-elected Parliament is the only true voice of the people and accountability to the people it serves is the basic plank of a democratic system and one of its core principles is the principle of political equality, meaning that political power should be distributed as widely and evenly as possible among the people,” it said.

The Legislature should be allowed to debate any matters of national interest and no one, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker included, should stand in its way.

The mandate of Parliament is to play an oversight role.

The new breed of lawmakers, especially from the opposition, has performed dismally.

It could have sold its soul after it passed the 2024 National Budget critics say is anti-people due to a slew of new taxes.

The budget was passed after the Legislature arm-twisted Finance minister Mthuli Ncube to increase their vote to accommodate the “trappings of power” that included top-of-the-range vehicles, hotel stay for their spouses, huge perks, additional benefits as well as payment of salaries for their workers.

The biggest beneficiary of a weak Legislature is the Executive which has the carte blanche in running the affairs of the State. Can a pliant Parliament question government’s excesses?

Definitely not with the new breed of lawmakers that is merely concerned about accessing 4x4 vehicles in the mistaken belief that it is its time to eat.