Ninth Parliament's huge task

HARARE - The incoming ninth Parliament has a huge task ahead as it tries to surpass what was achieved by the last Parliament, analysts have said.

The last Parliament was one of the most extraordinary and exciting since independence in 1980.

A major highlight was the impeachment motion moved by legislators from across the political divide in November last year to force former president Robert Mugabe’s resignation — a week after the army and his former political allies had revolted to end his near four-decade long iron-fisted rule.

Mugabe threw in the towel on November 21 moments after Parliament had begun the impeachment process, which had become the only legal way to force him out.

The proceedings were a culmination of eight tense days that began with the military intervening in the governance of the country.

Former MDC MP for Mabvuku-Tafara, James Maridadi, had for almost two years tried to move the motion to impeach Mugabe, but failed at each attempt because Zanu PF, which enjoyed the majority in the National Assembly, was simply not interested in humiliating their “icon”.

The Temba Mliswa-led parliamentary portfolio committee on Mines and Energy also took to task several high profile politicians and ministers over the looting of diamonds.

MDC legislator Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga also pleaded with Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa to consider scrapping import duty on menstrual cups as sanitary pads crisis persist in Zimbabwe.

She even brought some sanitary pads to the august House.

Political analysts believe the incoming Parliament, although with Zanu PF having a two thirds majority, has the capacity to surpass what was done by the previously Parliament.

“Yes, progress was made, but I think the opposition needs to start from day one to demand electoral reforms and aligning laws to the Constitution and put timelines and benchmarks.

“They also need to seek constitutional reviews to ensure adequate safeguards for running of free, fair and democratic elections,” political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said.

“The opposition also needs to base their motions on research, facts and figures. They need also to be able to infiltrate and influence the ruling party’s MPs. Civic society needs to sponsor developmental and democratisation motions and reach out to both ruling and opposition MPs to pass bi-partisan motions on human development issues. There is a good mix of young blood and experience. You have vibrant young female leaders and the likes of Job Sikhala and Tendai Biti bouncing back hard miles ahead. It’s going to be interesting. You also have old and experienced in Zanu PF and young.”

Piers Pigou, senior consultant at the International Crisis Group said there is need for orientation.

“There is a significant turnover of parliamentarians from the last Parliament so there is need for orientation and training for most MPs to get the new members up to speed in terms of the rules and procedure and I think that’s a huge challenge in relation to how the Parliament can be strengthened to play their roles.

“The current administration has provided a strong framework for Parliament to work with civil society to fight corruption. Parliament has a critical role to play, like the last Parliament they did well such as the Mliswa inquiry. There are many issues to deal with.”

Parliament basically has three major functions namely legislative (lawmaking), representative and oversight. While there has been widespread criticism over the other two roles — legislative and representative — not much has been said about the oversight function, despite it being just as equally important as the other two.

Oversight is a function granted by the Constitution to Parliament to monitor and oversee government actions.

Parliament derives its powers from the Standing Orders that are made in terms of section 57 of the Constitution.

The oversight role is conferred on Parliament and codified by the House of Assembly Standing Order 159(2) and Senate Standing Order 149(2).

Parliamentary portfolio and thematic committees that are formed on the basis of such provisions have powers to summon any person or institution to give evidence or produce documents, and to report to them.

Comments (2)

The writer totally failed to narrate the huge task ahead. To us, the common men, we are more worried about bread and butter issues and there is nothing about this in tbe article. On the work previous parliament, their practical achievements were not stated. The writter was only talking about how parliamentarians were outdoing each other on persnal ego contests.

Anderson - 27 August 2018

The huge task ahead is to turn around the economy for a better living of ordinary citizenry. The task is huge simply because the party that is guilty of bringing down the economy in the first place is expected to profer solutions...impossible. There is no meaningful progress from the previous house noteworthy. The so-called impeachment did not happen Mugabe resigned coz a gun was held to his head

Sinyo - 28 August 2018

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