Call to move Parly gathers strength

Recent calls in the print and electronic media for Parliament to be moved from its colonially-established base in Harare have been welcomed as a move that will provide opportunities for democratic development, better local governance and improved service delivery.

Inside Zimbabwe parliament.
Inside Zimbabwe parliament.

The Parliament in any modern-day electoral democracy is where power resides. The national budget can be equated to a bakery that manufactures the national cake. Is it any wonder then, that a majority of the country’s civic, administrative, economic and political activities are located in the same city as the Parliament?

Every company manager wants to be near the political leaders (whether ethically or immorally) who have a say in tenders. Every government office is, by necessity rather than preference, bound to be nearby for ease of government processes. National events are undertaken in Harare for the reason that MPs all reside in the capital city for the duration of Parliament’s sitting.

Harare is the overcrowded urban slum nicknamed “Bambazonke” today because all the three arms of government are permanently stationed there – and other sectors have followed suit. The relocation of Parliament, either permanently to another city or on a rotational basis would decongest the capital city and relieve its already strained service delivery sector.

Other regions are being deprived of the opportunity to take part in the governance processes because Parliament is grounded in Harare. The principles of democratic developmental practice stipulate citizen participation as a means for residents to monitor and evaluate national policy and practice which finds best expression in Parliament.

The international community resident within the borders of the country has noted the trend and have consequently set up all the embassies in Harare. This has led to most aid or funding opportunities going to Harare or areas surrounding because of the proximity to these offices.

The call for the relocation of Parliament is a call, not for the national cake, but for the bakery that makes the cake. Only that way can all communities and regions develop equitably. – By Nhlanhla Mpofu, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association

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