The poor cousin of the EFF

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - ANALYSIS & OPINION - Nicole Hondo

THE days lead­ing to the July 30 gen­eral elec­tion gave birth to des­per­a­does, some of them claim­ing to be holier-than-thou and cam­paign­ing whilst clutch­ing the Bible. Prom­ises to serve the elec­torate were made day and night and some swore by the Lord’s name that vic­tory was cer­tain.

Four months down the line, some th­ese in­di­vid­u­als, pre­cisely 63 of them, have turned into lousy ver­sions of Alick Mach­eso.

All they do is sing and dance — badly — in Par­lia­ment. Ladies and gen­tle­men, th­ese are your lat­est crop of op­po­si­tion MDC Al­liance leg­is­la­tors.

The op­po­si­tion has tra­di­tion­ally been known to be mostly sound and fury with lit­tle to zero sub­stance.

But this group has added steroids to its clown­ish ten­den­cies.

In the short of space of time they have as­sumed the ti­tle of “hon­ourable”, the peo­ple who voted for them have watched in frus­tra­tion as they outdo Kap­fupi in the­atrics which are not as funny as the co­me­dian’s.

On Septem­ber 18 they walked out of the Pres­i­dent’s State of the Na­tion Ad­dress and open­ing of Par­lia­ment. They chose to sing and dance out­side. On Oc­to­ber 3, some MDC leg­is­la­tors re­fused to de­bate the mo­tion on the Pres­i­dent’s Sona, which sets out Gov­ern­ment’s leg­isla­tive pro­gramme for the next five years.

The de­bate about Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa’s speech was sup­posed to give the Na­tional As­sem­bly and Se­nate an op­por­tu­nity to put on record their views on the Gov­ern­ment’s plans.

Then last Thurs­day, the op­po­si­tion leg­is­la­tors were forcibly re­moved from Par­lia­ment af­ter re­fus­ing to recog­nise Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa as the Head of State and Gov­ern­ment.

The oc­ca­sion was the pre­sen­ta­tion of the all-im­por­tant 2019 Na­tional Bud­get.

Need­less to say their ac­tions have not changed a sin­gle thing in the sta­tus quo: Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa is still the Pres­i­dent; the ma­jor­ity of Zim­bab­weans are mov­ing for­ward; and the op­po­si­tion is still viewed as a back­ward lot.

The vic­tims of the MDC leg­is­la­tors’ an­tics are the peo­ple who elected them.

That old lady in Ep­worth who voted for an MDC-Al­liance can­di­date to de­bate is­sues about wa­ter, san­i­ta­tion, health and ed­u­ca­tion has to live with the fact that she sent a singer and dancer to Par­lia­ment.

The only time MDC-Al­liance leg­is­la­tors are at­ten­tive in Par­lia­ment is when the talk is about which ho­tels they will stay in, when they will be paid a sit­ting al­lowance, when their cars will be de­liv­ered, and who will buy the booze that evening.

They are a drain on the na­tional purse.

What is ob­vi­ous is that the MDC is pa­thet­i­cally at­tempt­ing to copy the South African op­po­si­tion Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers tac­tics.

But they lack the in­tel­lect to em­u­late Julius Malema.

Whereas the EFF also en­gages in boy­cotts and other gallery pleas­ing an­tics, that party’s leg­is­la­tors know when to draw the line and ac­tu­ally bring sound, re­searched and rea­soned ar­gu­ments to Par­lia­ment in that coun­try.

Our not-so-bright op­po­si­tion can only copy the danc­ing and the singing. And they can’t even do it in an en­ter­tain­ing man­ner!

At a time when the rest of the coun­try was wait­ing to hear what the Fi­nance and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Min­istry had planned for the com­ing year, the op­po­si­tion was wait­ing to heckle.

While the rest of the coun­try is di­gest­ing how the state­ment pre­sented by Fi­nance Min­is­ter Pro­fes­sor Mthuli Ncube af­fects them, the MDC Al­liance leg­is­la­tors are plot­ting their next piece of drama.

The MDC Al­liance is do­ing a very good job of brand­ing it­self as a party of im­ma­ture politi­cians who should not be in­cluded in any se­ri­ous na­tional dis­cus­sion.

It is time that we have a rule in Par­lia­ment say­ing any leg­is­la­tor who gets ejected should for­feit his/her sit­ting al­lowance for that day.

You will be sur­prised how quickly th­ese money-hun­gry MPs will start be­hav­ing.

Tellingly, dur­ing a pre-bud­get sem­i­nar in Bu­l­awayo, th­ese MDC leg­is­la­tors sat in har­mony with the same Pres­i­dent that they last week re­fused to recog­nise.

Maybe this was be­cause one of the is­sues up for dis­cus­sion was al­lo­ca­tion of ve­hi­cles.

It is also telling that th­ese same leg­is­la­tors recog­nise min­is­ters ap­pointed by Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa.

They want Prof Ncube to has­ten al­lo­ca­tion of their ve­hi­cles and to in­crease their sit­ting al­lowances.

All this re­flects on their lead­er­ship within their party. An im­ma­ture, ly­ing fel­low heads the party and so we re­ally should not ex­pect much more from his acolytes.

MDC-Al­liance leg­is­la­tors be­hav­ing weirdly out of the Par­lia­ment Build­ing in Harare

EFF pres­i­dent Julius Malema

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