Parliament needs to be trimmed

HARARE - The Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda recently called on government to increase budget allocations for the ministry of Health and Child Care and Parliament to avoid crippling their operations.

In the case of the ministry of Health, it was allocated $400 million — representing 7,7 percent of the $5,1 billion National Budget.

Although the allocation was up from 6,9 percent the previous year, it fell short of the 15 percent benchmark set out in the Abuja Declaration of 2001.

Mudenda said the deplorable state of the country’s public health service delivery called for a bigger budget in line with the Abuja Declaration.

With respect to the National Assembly, the ministry of Finance allocated it $57,2 million instead of the $100m it had asked for.

While Mudenda and his fellow parliamentarians could be throwing tantrums over the huge funding gap, nobody really cares about them because the Executive has reduced our legislative assembly into a rubber stamping institution.

It has also become a play centre for grown up men and women who, instead of serving in the best interest of the people that voted them into office, are playing Russian roulette with the country’s legislative agenda.

Over the weekend, President Emmerson Mnangagwa hit the right chord when he admonished Zimbabweans to stop moaning about sanctions and do something to change their situation by themselves.

We must not forget that Treasury has been playing a juggling act, whereby the few resources trickling into government’s purse must be shared across competing needs in order of their importance.

Because of our shrunken economy, each of the competing needs always cries foul because the money allocated by Treasury is never going to be enough to quench their appetites for funding.

We however, believe that the real problem behind the National Assembly’s insatiable appetite for resources is the high number of parliamentarians who cannot justify their existence rather than the budget itself.

The legislative assembly has become a source of employment for politicians.

In our well considered view, the country can do with one Member of Parliament per district considering the small size of our economy, who can be paid a modest salary and no allowances, vehicle loans etc as is the current practice.

Rather than incurring avoidable costs in building a bigger Parliament when there are no resources to fund the capital expenditure, we must consider trimming the number of legislators and senators.

Comments (1)

I totally agree with the motion of trimming the Parliament. We do not need all those bootlikers who do not contribute to anything at all for nation building and treat being an MP as a source of employment. Reduce the number to 50 and minister as well and have one VP. This blotted House and Govt are bleeding our beloved country.

JJ - 16 January 2018

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