HARARE - Members of Zimbabwe’s 8th Parliament yesterday went through their induction programme in Harare with some promising to carry out their duties diligently.
MDC members participated in the morning session as Zanu PF legislators were attending their party’s parliamentary caucus at the party headquarters. Zanu PF MPs did their induction later in the afternoon.
James Maridadi, MDC MP for Mabvuku Constituency, said he was looking forward to start his work as an MP.
“Being in Parliament for the first time is quite an experience, as people in my constituency have a lot of expectations from me,” he said.
“I have to debate national issues and I expect less heckling and name calling from MPs across the political sides.
“We should leave partisan politics outside parliamentary chambers and focus on debating important motions as the people who voted us expect to be represented fully. However, I know that I am still a new MP and I am going to stand guided by my party, but it does not mean that I have to rubber stamp everything that will be brought before the house without debating on it.”
Maridadi, who was the former chief of protocol in ex-prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s office, defeated Zanu PF member and lawyer Godwills Masimirembwa in the July 31 elections to clinch the Mabvuku seat.
Jonathan Samukange, an independent MP for Mudzi South, said he was ready to serve his country. He defeated Eric Navaya who had been nominated by Zanu PF as its candidate.
“I have been working as a lawyer for the past 30 years and I am now going to be a legislator and want to contribute in bringing good laws to the country,” Samukange said.
“Bad laws like Public Order and Security Act (Posa) and Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) have to be repealed because they are of no use in a democratic country.
“These laws have been abused in many instances as I represented people who were charged with Posa but were cleared by the courts. Under Posa, people are charged for insulting President Robert Mugabe, I believe that we don’t have to fear the president but we have to respect him.
“I have not supported Aippa as I don’t like the way it has been applied against journalists. If one feels that he has been defamed by a newspaper article, you can sue the newspaper and the reporter for civil defamation as I have done in the past.”
Samukange confessed that he was a Zanu PF member and was going to be supporting and voting with them in Parliament.
“I am Zanu PF at heart and I am de facto MP for the party but de jure independent MP.”
Joseph Chinotimba, Zanu PF MP for Buhera South, expressed joy in coming to Parliament and said he wanted to perform better than his predecessors. He was in a humorous mood.
“People of Buhera expect Chinotimba to repair the roads and put tarred roads, I want to ask them what Morgan Tsvangirai did for them,” Chinotimba told the Daily News.
“Did he put up tarred roads when he was prime minister but they now expect Chinotimba to do that for them. I am a small politician compared to Tsvangirai, who did not do anything to them.
“Former MP Naison Nemadziva had turned the constituency office into a private office and I have to open it to the public and this is why the people did not vote for Tsvangirai and his party, because they were cheating people.”
The MPs, who are expected to be sworn in today will elect a new speaker of the National Assembly and president of the Senate through secret ballot conducted by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).
Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma will administer the oath.