A lot expected from new Parly

The last time Zimbabwe had a Parliament dominated by a single party was in 2000, before the MDC contested the election and changed the trend. Now, we have reverted to that pattern.

Paul Bogaert
Paul Bogaert

While Zanu (PF)’s main rival, MDC-T, still maintains that the polls were rigged, we are alert to the reality of working with a heavily one-sided legislature for the next five years, and this is where our worry lies.

Democracy suffers whenever one party, in this case Zanu (PF), has a clear majority. A quick scan of Zimbabwe’s legislative history will prove this. After the 1987 Unity Accord, but particularly after the 1990 general elections, Parliament virtually degenerated into a one-party affair.

Even though the party had always enjoyed near monopoly of the House, the scales became too tilted in Zanu (PF)’s favour. Yes, there were glimpses of vibrancy between 1990 and 2000, thanks to the candidness of a fewMPs such as Sydney Malunga, Margaret Dongo and Eddison Zvogbo Snr. But Parliament was little more than a rubberstamping theatre.

The majority of the MPs went to the House not to make life-changing contributions, but merely to formalise decisions that had been made by the Executive and Zanu (PF)’s decision making bodies. MPs got into the habit of going to Parliament to finish off their sleep or to sing President Robert Mugabe’s praises.

This is a period that coincided with the gradual deterioration of human rights and a glaring absence of the oversight role that the legislature is supposed to play.

Considering that we are going back to the old style, there is a desperate need for the new MPs and senators to be on their guard and to govern diligently, so that Zimbabwe does not slide back into darkness. They should desist from merely rubberstamping what the Executive has directed. Of course, this may be asking for too much, considering the culture of loyalism in Zanu (PF) – not to mention the need to them to sing for their suppers, but legislators will be judged harshly if they do not heed this warning at this crucial stage in our history.

There is so much work ahead of the new Parliament. We are expecting the MPs and senators to attend Parliament and Senate regularly and to thoroughly and honestly debate issues and bills. We urge them not to be guided by partisan interests, but to work for the good of Zimbabwe and ALL its people.

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga

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