'Mudenda must uphold Parly's legislative role'

HARARE - Our Parliamentary Editor Chengetai Zvauya (CZ) talks to former Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo (LM) about his tenure and that of his successor Jacob Mudenda.

Below are excerpts of the interview.

CZ: What was your relationship and experience working with Zanu PF legislators in the 7th Parliament?

LM: I had a cordial relationship with all Zanu PF MP’s as we had mutual respect for each other as stakeholders for Parliament business. I did not have a challenge with a specific Zanu PF MP, as I executed my mandate in a professional and non-partisan manner.

CZ: Are you saying that all was well in Parliament?

LM: Yes, it was okay except for an unfortunate incident in 2010. I remember that Jonathan Moyo, (now) minister of Information who was an independent member during my tenure, took me to court challenging my election as speaker of Parliament.

I think it was a time he was trying to find his way back into Zanu PF which he eventually did. I was suspended from my post by the Supreme Court ruling of Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku in March 2010.

The House of Assembly members had to vote again for a Speaker and I was re-elected.

This is the only time in Zimbabwe Parliament history that a Speaker of Parliament  had to be elected twice in one session. These are sad and unfortunate moments during my time as Speaker but I tend to forget them quickly as it was a short period of suspension from March 11 to March 29, 2010.

However, after my re-election, I managed to complete my tenure without problems from the legislators across the political divide.

CZ: Have you met the new Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda and what is your message to him?

LM: Yes I had a meeting with him the day he was sworn in as I handed over to him the office and all the documents I was using during my tenure. I gave him an insight on how to work as a Speaker.

We had a good chat and he promised me that I will remain a resourceful person to him when he needs my help in the running of his office.

The late vice president John Nkomo who was my predecessor did the same procedure with me as he guided me through during my time as Speaker on how to conduct my Parliament business.

My attitude is that Parliament is a bigger institution than individuals and political parties.

My message to him was that he should not turn the Parliament into a Zanu PF institution as it will cause Parliament to lose its legislative role.

CZ: Are you going to attend the official opening of the 8th Parliament by President Robert Mugabe and have you received any invitation from Parliament?

LM: It depends on the powers that be to invite me to the occasion, but I am no longer a member of Parliament and I cannot attend where I have not been invited.

As a political party we have taken a party position about the official opening of Parliament so we shall cross bridges when we get there.

CZ: What can you say were the major achievements during your tenure as Speaker of Parliament?

LM: History will record that I guided Parliament in the process of drafting of the new constitution for the country until it was signed by President Robert Mugabe in March this year.

Nobody will take away that milestone achievement from me and the legislators involved in the constitution-making process. All the legislators worked well to have a new constitution for the country despite their political differences.

CZ: Did you make any attempts to improve the welfare of the MPs during your tenure?

LM: We pushed in Parliament through the Standing Rules and Order Committee to President Mugabe to have the service conditions of MPs improved and we managed to have a review of the MPs’ salaries, introduction of funeral assistance to the MPs who would have been deceased and increment in their sitting allowances and the continuation of a vehicle loan scheme. 

Remember our MPs are not full time but are part time legislators.

CZ: The 8th Parliament will be dominated by Zanu PF as it has the majority of 197 members in the National Assembly with MDC having 70,  whilst in the Senate it has 37, whilst your party has 21. What is your feeling on the matter?

LM: It is a matter of fact that we are going to be the minority in Parliament but it does not mean that our members have to attend Parliament to sleep in the house. They have to debate and defend our democratic space and we have to live up to the expectations of the people who voted us in our constituencies.

This is the time to continue fighting for our political relevance in the country as we still have the support of the people in the country.

CZ: Talking about your political party MDC, what happened in the July 31 elections?

LM: It is very disappointing because we did not win the political power as everyone knows that the elections were stolen from us by Zanu PF as they were rigged.

In my constituency I lost with only 81 votes against Never Khanye as I got over 5 000 votes with him getting almost the same number of votes.

The results were manipulated in his favour. I know that this is what happened in many constituencies countrywide to my other colleagues.

CZ: What is the way forward as a party and do you still believe in the leadership of Morgan Tsvangirai?

LM: I am still the national chairman of the party until 2016 when we go to the national congress for the election of new leaders of the party.

We still believe in Tsvangirai as our leader as I know that he has the mandate of the party members to lead them.

The struggle for democracy is not yet over and the election results are a minor setback but we shall bounce back.

I can tell you that if Zanu PF had not rigged the elections we had defeated them and this is why we have gone to the courts to challenge the election results.

We are not going to cooperate with Zanu PF in any way as we don’t want to legitimise them because they stole the elections.

CZ: This week Mugabe appointed a new cabinet and what is your opinion on it?

LM: I was looking at the list of the individuals in the cabinet. It is made up of deadwood. There is no renewal or energy from these individuals.

It seems that the appointments were based on patronage and it is a political club.

If one looks at the ministers of State for Matabelleland provinces — what improvements can they bring to the provinces?

These people were in power for 33 years and failed to deliver anything and we cannot expect them to do so now. There is no hope in this Cabinet.

CZ: What is your message to the incoming legislators?

LM: They have to keep on working for the people and should follow our example as we did well in the 7th Parliament session. We have laid the foundation for them to follow.

CZ: What are you doing at the present moment, since you are no longer involved in Parliamentary work?

LM: I am a businessman running his business enterprises and I am also reading for my Master’s degree at National University of Science and Technology (Nust) and I am a serious politician continuing working for my party and interacting with people in my constituency working on developmental projects.

CZ: Thank you for finding time to talk me.

LM: It is always my pleasure to speak to you, Zvauya and your newspaper journalists.

 

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