via Parliamentarians exude confidence, geared for challenges | The Herald by Felex Share and Elita Chikwati
MEMBERS of the Eighth Parliament are confident they will achieve more than their predecessors because of Zanu-PF’s dominance of both houses.The Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe, whose members were sworn in yesterday, becomes the first to operate under the new Constitution.
The legislators said Zanu-PF’s dominance would ease their push for progressive laws that consolidate the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme to improve the living standards of people.
They said debates would be developmental as most of the lawmakers believe in the same ideologies, unlike in the Seventh Parliament where composition was almost 50-50 and characterised by bickering.
Zanu-PF now dominates the National Assembly with 197 seats, to MDC-T’s 70 and MDC’s two.
In Senate, Zanu-PF dominates with 37 seats to MDC-T’s 21, while the MDC has two seats.
“I feel honoured to be part of the Eighth Parliament, but while we celebrate, we have a difficult task ahead of us,” said Buhera West MP, Cde Oliver Mandipaka (Zanu-PF).
“Ordinary people have suffered for long, mainly because of sanctions and it is time we enact legislation that benefits people. All the contributions we make should be about how to improve the lives of the people because those are the ones we are coming here to represent.”
Said Chegutu West MP Cde Dexter Nduna (Zanu-PF): “Everyone is looking at how we should improve our economy and for this to be achievable, we must push for laws that are for the empowerment of the majority.
“I am happy as a party we have embraced the indigenisation and empowerment concept and it is now time to take that empowerment to every Zimbabwean. We are here to push for such laws that uplift the youths and women.”
Mazowe Central MP Cde Tabeth Kanengoni (Zanu-PF) said the significant number of youths who made it into Parliament would push for laws that empower them.
“It feels great to be among the lawmakers of the country and being a youth, I will be pushing for youths and gender-related issues.
“Youths, women and the elderly should be supported so that they realise that voting for Zanu-PF is voting for empowerment. We are young and we hope to learn from our elders as we grow in politics.”
Harare West legislator Ms Jessie Majome (MDC-T) said the incoming Parliament would be a “busy one”.
“We are faced with a task of making laws that improve the lives of the people, meaning all our laws should be centred on service delivery,” she said.
“We also want laws that enable legislators to have the capacity to reach out to their constituents, unlike in the previous Parliament where there was no institutional support.”
Nyanga North legislator Cde Hubert Nyanhongo (Zanu-PF) said: “This must be a progressive one as compared to the previous ones in the last 10 years as we do not expect any quarrels as Zanu-PF dominates both houses.
“It is now time to bury political differences and focus on development, hence we welcome those from the opposition parties in working towards the upliftment of our people.”
Cde Nyanhongo said infrastructure in most rural constituencies needed improvement.
“I will push for everything that benefits the rural people because I know, like where I come from (Nyanga), there is poor road network and that means Government support is needed.”
President of the Chiefs’ Council Chief Fortune Charumbira said it was now time for constructive debates that benefit the people.
“People need good health facilities, food and jobs and we should desist from attacking each other and focus more on service delivery,” he said.
Chief Charumbira said he expected the leaders to continue demonstrating cultural leadership.
“We should promote our cultural values, respect chiefs and encourage the use of our cultural languages,” he said.
Chief Enos Musarurwa (Chikomba) urged legislators to concentrate on boosting agricultural production which he said was the backbone of the economy.
He said farmers should be availed inputs on time, with local financial institutions funding the sector. Senate President Cde Edna Madzongwe, who was retained, described the Eighth Parliament as “unique” as it was operating under a new Constitution.
“It is incumbent upon us to carry our duties diligently for the good governance of our people. The laws and motions that we shall pass and adopt in this house should be for the prosperity of the nation.
“We should treat matters that shall come to us for deliberation with the seriousness they deserve. Yes, we do come from different political parties but specifically to serve the nation.”
Buhera South Member of Parliament Cde Joseph Chinotimba said he was not going to promise anything to his electorate but was focusing on delivering.
“It is bad to promise people. Morgan Tsvangirai promised people several things and ended up marrying wives instead of fulfilling his promises.
“Even before the swearing in, I was busy implementing different projects in my constituency. I cannot say I am happy today because this is just a swearing in function. I will only be happy after fulfilling the promises I made to the people who elected me in Buhera South,” he said.