Bell tolls for in­com­pe­tent MPs

Look at Cde Chino­timba, he has been to sev­eral com­pa­nies look­ing for spon­sor­ship to help his con­stituency and for that rea­son he en­deared him­self to the vot­ers.

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Opinion & Analysis - Lloyd Gumbo Mr Speaker Sir

WITH the next har­monised elec­tions com­ing up next year, one is tempted to feel sorry for the ma­jor­ity of Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment who might find it dif­fi­cult to make it to the next Par­lia­ment for var­i­ous rea­sons.

When the elec­torate votes for MPs, there are clear bench­marks set for the rep­re­sen­ta­tives and fail­ure to de­liver on those nor­mally spells doom for the leg­is­la­tors.

Mr Speaker Sir, one of the ma­jor bench­marks is MPs’ de­vel­op­men­tal roles in the con­stituen­cies.

Never mind that con­sti­tu­tion­ally or their terms of ref­er­ence do not re­quire MPs to con­struct dams, build schools, pro­vide fees for pupils in the con­stituency or to pro­vide food for the con­stituents.

Un­for­tu­nately, the elec­torate does not rate MPs ac­cord­ing to their Con- sti­tu­tional man­dates, which are law­mak­ing, play­ing watch­dog role on the ex­ec­u­tive or rep­re­sen­ta­tive role.

The ma­jor­ity of the vot­ers have no idea about those roles or do they care, all they want is to see a road that has been con­structed by their MP, food that has been pro­vided by the MP or money to as­sist dur­ing fu­ner­als in the con­stituency.

And can one blame them for think­ing these are the du­ties of the MPs when the same rep­re­sen­ta­tives are the ones who prom­ise them dur­ing cam­paigns that those are the things on top of their pri­or­ity list.

Mr Speaker Sir, the day of reck­on­ing for some of the MPs is al­most here, es­pe­cially those who were “Miss­ing Peo­ple” in their con­stituen­cies and dead asleep in Par­lia­ment dur­ing de­bates.

Some vot­ers were wondering whether their rep­re­sen­ta­tives got lost when they got to Harare or they had sim­ply for­got about those who voted for them.

Some of the MPs have noth­ing to show for the time they have been in the Au­gust House, they were not seen on tele­vi­sion ask­ing ques­tions on Wed­nes­days, nei­ther were they heard on live ra­dio de­bat­ing from Tues­days to Thurs­days.

But there are some MPs who have been a joy to watch in play­ing their watch­dog and rep­re­sen­ta­tive roles.

They have out­shone oth­ers in ev­ery facet by far.

Talk of Joseph Chino­timba, Jus­tice Mayor Wadya­jena, Daniel Shumba, Bi­ata Nyamupinga, Dex­ter Nduna, Jessie Ma­jome, Masango Matam­banadzo, Pau­rina Mpariwa, Pros­per Mut­seyami, Remi­gio Matan­gira, Irene Zindi and Joseph Mapiki.

For the record, this list is not ex­haus­tive of all the MPs who I think jus­ti­fied their ex­is­tence in Par­lia­ment.

But these have done very well whether in par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tees, dur­ing de­bates in the House or in their con­stituen­cies.

Yet this does not mean they will have it easy at next year’s polls be­cause the jury is still out there.

Even if they do not make it back, they can proudly point their con­tri­bu­tions dur­ing their ten­ure.

For those who have been miss­ing in their con­stituen­cies, maybe it is time they pay for their “sins”.

It’s pos­si­ble that some of the MPs have been sell­ing fuel coupons they get from Par­lia­ment to travel to and from their con­stituen­cies when­ever the two Houses were sit­ting.

They do not go to their con­stituen­cies, yet they would have re­ceived their al­lo­ca­tion, though, ad­mit­tedly, some­times they do not get the fuel coupons reg­u­larly as Trea­sury may de­lay re­leas­ing funds.

When­ever funds are avail­able and they get their back­dated al­lo­ca­tions, some MPs still sell the coupons in­stead of go­ing to their con­stituen­cies.

Pro­ceeds from the sale of the fuel coupons are di­verted to per­sonal use.

Mr Speaker Sir, some­times it’s not re­ally how much devel­op­ment an MP has brought to the con­stituency that mat­ters, but vis­i­bil­ity.

So, there are some MPs who, when the House is not sit­ting, find time to be in their con­stituen­cies, lis­ten to the con­stituents and take them to Par­lia­ment or di­rectly to min­is­ters when they are back in Harare.

Un­for­tu­nately, some of the not so rich MPs run away from their con­stituen­cies for fear of spon­sor­ing fu­ner­als or meet­ings.

Of­ten­times, it has been proved that miss­ing MPs in their con­stituen­cies rarely make it back to Par­lia­ment, hav­ing lost ei­ther at party pri­mary elec­tions or to can­di­dates from other par­ties at the gen­eral elec­tions.

It is in­evitable that the axe will fall on the ma­jor­ity of the miss­ing MPs next year.

But there are some MPs who have not mis­ap­pro­pri­ated the fuel coupons who un­for­tu­nately are af­fected by the ir­reg­u­lar disbursement of the fuel coupons.

Nor­mally, MPs should be get­ting fuel ac­cord­ing to their of­fi­cial ve­hi­cle’s en­gine ca­pac­ity and dis­tance to the con­stituency, as well as the ve­hi­cle’s run­ning costs, but the ma­jor chal­lenge is the fact that the al­lo­ca­tion is fixed at a cer­tain price, mean­ing that if fuel prices go up, they end up get­ting less fuel.

Mr Speaker Sir, the ma­jor prob­lem is that some of the MPs have not been in­no­va­tive dur­ing their ten­ure.

They have been hop­ing that the Con­stituency Devel­op­ment Fund would be availed, but given Trea­sury’s fi­nan­cial con­straints, that can only be a dream.

But there are some MPs who have not sat on their lau­rels, as they have found ways of mak­ing them­selves rel­e­vant in the con­stituen­cies by sourc­ing sup­port from dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies or or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Look at Cde Chino­timba, he has been to sev­eral com­pa­nies look­ing for spon­sor­ship to help his con­stituency and for that rea­son he en­deared him­self to the vot­ers.

◆ Feed­back: lloyd.gumbo@zim­pa­pers.co.zw

Of­ten­times, it has been proved that miss­ing MPs in their con­stituen­cies rarely make it back to Par­lia­ment, los­ing ei­ther at party pri­mary elec­tions or to can­di­dates from other par­ties at the gen­eral elec­tions

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