Time to make MPs accountable

Recent revelations that some legislators have become virtual aliens to Parliament business make for sad reading, sad because these are people bestowed with a mandate to represent the hapless electorate, yet they go cruising in Ford Rangers forgetting they are doing so at the expense of those who elected them.

Source: Time to make MPs accountable – NewsDay Zimbabwe October 18, 2016

guest column: LEARNMORE ZUZE

It is like a messenger, who decides to go Awol, while squandering company funds.

Also, it is apparent that the ignorance of the electorate has aided the uncouth behaviour by these elected representatives.

A legislator is a messenger of the people, so to speak. But how does the people’s word reach Parliament, when the messenger chooses a prodigal and profligate life, when the people they should represent are suffering?

It is irresponsibility of the worst order, which should be condemned in the strongest terms.

There is an old and true maxim that states that you cannot control, let alone ascertain, the effectiveness of something that you cannot measure.

This statement rings true for how our legislators, councillors and ministers have been doing business.

These people, who should be serving, are now self-serving.

Otherwise, how does one explain the fact that an elected member turns up for Parliament once in two months? Once elected into office, these people have not had their performances measured. We have a people who do not understand their role for their constituencies.

Most got into office, but there are no key areas to measure them and this has become overwhelmingly urgent to address.

The mentality of the MP or minister, as a chef, zooming past an emaciated electorate, should now go with the wind.

And this requires a social revolution. MPs ought to be accessible and it is sad that some MPs seem to derive importance from being “special” and absent. Such people are indeed dangerous to the nation; they are sitting on the people’s afflictions. They have not been the reflective light that they should be to the detriment of the poor.

Surely, it is a kick in the face of the electorate when one they voted for fails to represent their interests.

Growing up, most of us were treated to the idea of the local MP being some “super human”, who deserved utmost respect every time. S/he would not be questioned much.

Everybody tried to sycophantically please them. It was actually considered a cardinal sin for anyone to view a legislator as the people’s servant they should be.

An MP was the chef, who could not be taken to task. Now, it is unfortunate that this mentality has continued unabated, at times not because of the lawmakers themselves, but because the electorate has accepted this as normal.

The electorate sees nothing wrong with an MP zooming past potholed roads in a sleek Mercedes Benz, while their constituencies lack basic infrastructure.

It is this way of thinking that must now be resisted. Constituency awareness has to be increased.

It has become imperative for such groups as residents’ trusts to keep their representatives’ record of attendance in Parliament.

The electorate, through systematic ways, must now seek proper feedback from their representatives.

They must see to it that their genuine concerns have been taken to Parliament. It is quite regrettable that some supposed law-makers are even known for quietness in Parliament.

Surely, how can someone toil in political campaigns, mobilising resources and addressing rallies only to go and sleep in Parliament?

This must end. We need legislators who will kick the House out of its slumber. Development needs to be seen, not merely talked about.

Apparently, there has been nothing measurable against legislators. It has been a case of electing them into Parliament and waiting for the next election again.

A case in point is the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) that was cruelly looted by supposed representatives.

It is painful to walk into some constituencies to note that practically nothing has changed since 1980, yet there were Members of Parliament, who received $50 000 towards development of those areas.

It points to a clear case of electing criminals into office.

There should, at least be some notable growth, but I guess the pressure group was not wrong when it campaigned for the suspension of CDF disbursements.

What is the point of depositing thousands of dollars that will fall prey to looters?

Government certainly needs to enact a stringent law, which outlines the scope of use of these funds and the consequences to those who abuse.

Furthermore, it defies right-thinking that CDF allocations were placed into individual MPs’ accounts. Surely, what should we expect? Do we really expect such funds to be transparently used? Do we really expect such funds to reach the respective constituencies?

The government needs to get real. This culture of looting has stalled development since 1980. It is time a new way of doing business was found.

The electorate must now do away with voting for political parties, but for development.

It’s a paradigm shift. Yes, the people must vote for people based on merit, not because the candidate belongs to a certain party.

Of course, the economy is in the intensive care unit and the environment is disinclined to development, but legislators must justify the confidence bestowed upon them by the electorate.


  • comment-avatar

    It is the ‘system’ that has bred these still-born MPs. They, the MPs, take full advantage of this non-functioning, repressive and dictatorial regime to enable them to bury their snouts in the gravy bowl, and to steal and plunder at their will. After all, their bosses, from the president on down, all do excactly that. What is good for the the Hyeana should be good for the Jackal. Who will make these MPs accountable?….. the lions?

  • comment-avatar
    C Frizell 6 years ago

    The time to make these MP’s accountable was 36 years ago. They have got away with the arrogance with which they treat the electorate that both sides see it as “normal.

    I must say that before independence the Rhodesian MP’s were indeed held accountable because most of the people knew that MP’s were their servants, not their bosses

  • comment-avatar
    Kevin 6 years ago

    Contrary to popular opinion the only way to hold an MP accountable is to remove them at the next election. The voting along party political lines because of perceived ideological reasons instead of for competent individuals is what has caused the problem. Contrary to Mr Frizell’s assertion the problem arose in 1965 when “Rhodesians” in their ignorance, and because they were promised white government in our lifetimes voted for the Rhodesian Front. They elected many absolute incompetents. Mark Partridge springs to mind with his ridiculous comment to the British House of Lords that the Rhodesian Front Government would last a 1000 years. Their decision led them to UDI and an unwinnable war with the black population, and the result is Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF. I left the country in 1968 as a result of my disgust at the stupidity of my countrymen, notwithstanding that my Great Grandfather arrived in the country in 1893 only 55 years after Mzilikazi.