HARARE - The recent decision by Zanu PF to gag its legislators from grilling Cabinet ministers in Parliament on national issues is ill-advised as it is meant to cover-up for ministers sleeping on duty.
The development will also cow the party’s MPs who will now be forced to avoid joining robust debates initiated by opposition legislators.
The directive comes against a background where the parliamentary question time which is screened live on television with Cabinet ministers answering questions from MPs has become the most viewed programme in Zimbabwe as families from across the country follow the Wednesday afternoon debates.
With most Cabinet ministers who are also Zanu PF officials not knowledgeable enough to articulate issues when grilled to the core, the party has decided to come to their aid.
While the party’s chief whip, Lovemore Matuke says the controversial directive had “come from the top” it smacks of intimidation targeted at robust and knowledgeable legislators within the Zanu PF party.
And the “top” in Zanu PF where this directive is said to be coming from comprises, mostly, the same clueless ministers, hence their threats which are coming under the cover of party policy.
The gagging will turn Zanu PF legislators into lame ducks as most of them will now just shut up and watch proceedings without even contributing.
We have had a number of past legislators who completed their terms without uttering a single word while in Parliament and it seems Zanu PF wants to create more zombies.
Even in today’s Parliament there are members who have never contributed to debates. And Zanu PF seems content with such legislators who refuse to wash the party’s dirty linen in public.
In so doing, Zanu PF wants to kill any debate that focuses on national issues to do with the economy and the political and social wellbeing of Zimbabweans.
The party’s secretary for Administration, Ignatius Chombo is leading this crusade, claiming that they were always “too excited”, tending to “unsettle” party bigwigs.
When they are in Parliament, legislators would be speaking on behalf of the people back in their constituencies, it would be unwise to shoot the messenger and Zanu PF should know that.
This Zanu PF mentality to protect the ‘chefs’ (top officials) has seen those fingered in corrupt activities go scot-free as they do not want to be answerable to anyone.
The untouchables in our lives have destroyed the fabric of our being, lives and all that we had built.