'MPs turn to vending'

HARARE - Members of Parliament are abdicating their mandate of representing the people in pursuit of vending, money changing and fuel dealing, a legislator has said.

This comes after proceedings on May 10 were terminated prematurely at 4.28pm for lack of the 70-member quorum. Only 52 MPs were present at the final count.

Four sittings since then have had to be called off because of want of a quorum.

Kuwadzana East MDC MP Nelson Chamisa said MPs were absconding Parliament because they would be moonlighting.

“Most motions are falling by the wayside on account of lack of a quorum,” Chamisa said on Thursday.

“It would appear that we need to find a permanent solution to the absenteeism of members for purposes of our business.  It may actually entail looking at the fundamental cause or the root cause of the absence of MPs.

“I have bothered to check with other members why they are not in the House when they are supposed to be debating.  We are paid by the taxpayers to do this.

“Most MPs, because of their working conditions are either vendors or are moonlighting.

“Some are proper and pure dealers who spend most of their time either on their farms or mines.

“We want to deal with those things so that we are not going to have this kind of problem honourable Speaker.

“It is a very serious issue.  These past two weeks, ...more than four motions were terminated on account of lack of quorum.  It is a disturbing trend.”

Acting speaker of the House Melody Dziva concurred, and admonished MPs.

This comes as Parliament is saddled with a motion backlog cutting across all committees of the august House with MPs flagrantly bunking.

Most MPs have developed a propensity to forego meetings of Parliament, while some take leave during session time, she said.

“It is a constitutional right for the people and you as MPs must attend Parliament business,” Dziva said.

“I put it upon your political parties. You are doing injustice to the people that voted for you and your political parties.

“…We have to accept that the country is having challenges and Parliament is having the same challenges because we are being governed by the same government.”

Dziva said Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders Committee must meet and deliberate on stiff penalties for absconding MPs.

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