SPEAKER of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda yesterday approved plans to introduce counselling services at the Parliament Clinic to cater for stressed legislators and Cabinet ministers.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
This came as Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa gave notice for Parliament to debate a proposal to further extend Auditor-General Mildred Chiri’s term of office.
The counselling services issue was suggested by Musikavanhu MP Prosper Mutseyami (MDC-T), who argued that the facility was required to provide counselling services to stressed Zanu PF MPs and ministers likely to lose their positions after the 2018 elections.
Mutseyami’s point of order also came at a time when the Standing Rules and Orders Committee downsized Parliamentary Portfolio Committees and reshuffled their chairmanships resulting in several Zanu PF legislators losing their posts as committee chairpersons.
Mudenda consented to the proposal, saying he had witnessed a case of a minister who became stressed when he was fired.
“We will make arrangements for that because even some MPs might not win next year,” he said.
Mudenda also announced Parliament had reduced its oversight portfolio committees to 16 following the downsizing of the Cabinet.
He said committee chairpersons had been reshuffled while others were dropped.
Some of the casualties were Mines and Energy Portfolio Committee chairperson Daniel Shumba, who was replaced by Norton MP Temba Mliswa.
Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna lost the chairmanship of the Transport Portfolio Committee to Christopher Chitindi, who used to chair the Lands and Agriculture Portfolio Committee. The Lands and Agriculture Committee will now be chaired by Gokwe-Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena.
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga will now chair the Women Affairs Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, taking over from Goromonzi West MP Biata Nyamupinga.
Makokoba MP Tshinga Dube will now chair the Defence and Home Affairs Portfolio Committee, taking over from Buhera Central MP Ronald Muderedzwa. Proportional Representation MP Yeukai Simbanegavi now takes over chairmanship of the Environment Committee from Rushinga MP Wonder Mashange.
Mutasa South MP Irene Zindi also lost chairmanship of the Local Government Portfolio Committee to Wedza South MP Michael Madanha. Mazowe South MP Fortune Chasi will chair the Justice Committee, taking over from Ziyambi Ziyambi, who is now Justice minister.
Bindura North MP Kenneth Musanhi will now chair the Education, Sport and Arts Committee taking over from Matopo North MP Never Khanye.