HARARE – The eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe has come to a close with the advent of harmonised elections next year yet, more than half of the 292 legislators’ only contribution to the National Assembly debates has been a deafening silence.
Our reporter, Blessings Mashaya, carried out a snap survey and revealed that a good number of MPs from across the political divide shied away from debates in Parliament.
The Chiredzi North MP Robert Mukwena and Chiredzi South Kallisto Gwanetsa make the grade for the worst performing MPs over the second session in terms of playing both their oversight role over the Executive.
Their constituencies have a lot in common, such as hunger but the pair was just disappointingly quiet. They literally did not say anything during their entire tenure of office.
Zanu PF Highfield West MP Psychology Maziwisa and Epworth MP Zalerah Makari are also in the same bracket with the above-mentioned duo despite being some of the brightest prospects from Zanu PF when they were elected in 2O13.
They are regarded as some brightest young legislators from the ruling party; however they have performed dismally in parliament, failing to make any contribution in the National Assembly.
Mwenezi East’s Joosbi Omar and Bikita West’s Beauty Chabaya; the two ruling party MPs, who controversially won by-elections this year, proved they had nothing to offer in the National Assembly.
They were only vocal during the time of the by-elections.
Mhondoro-Ngezi MP Mike Gava: Since his election in 2013, the legislator only made news over his court case in which he was being tried for firing a volley of bullets to scare a quarrelsome girlfriend at Kadoma Rainbow Hotel the previous year. He also found fame through his highly publicised divorce from wife, Tendai Wenyika, a few years after their celebrity-like marriage. On the legislation side of things, Gava did not do much other than ask a few questions.
St Marys MP Dickson Unganai Tarusenga: Despite coming from the opposition MDC, which has contributed the most vibrant MPs that have pushed motions and taken ministers to task, Machingauta remained in the shadows. This is despite the fact that his constituency had a lot of burning issues, such as land barons and poor service delivery.
Zanu PF Shamva North MP Nicholas Goche and Shurugwi North MP Francis Nhema: the former ministers choose to keep their mouths zipped in the National Assembly.
This could probably be explained by the fact that they were once victims of the Zanu PF purges that saw the ouster of former vice president Joice Mujuru.
Malach Nkomo – The former radio personality has disappointed many especially those he represent in Insiza South.
Without much contribution in the House, he has dismally failed to justify the noise and publicity that his election victory attracted in 2013.
There is a whole legion of other MPs who have largely remained anonymous, even in their very own constituencies. Very few people can remember names such as Jeremiah Chiwetu (Marondera East), Newton Kachepa (Mudzi North), Ephraim Gwanongodza(Chivi Central), Martin Khumalo (Lupane), Phelela Masuku (Nketa), William Mutomba (Buhera North), Batsirayi Pemhenayi (Mutare North), and Phineas Chiota (Seke) from an enormous list of other MPs who make up the National Assembly.
The energetic MPs
As usual, Nelson Chamisa, Innocent Gonese, Zwizwai Murisi and Tapiwa Mashakada are linguistically adept having spent years perfecting their vocal talents in debating during the sessions of previous Parliaments.
Some of MPS who have been movers and debaters of motions regularly are:
Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna – The Chegutu West MP, perhaps, is proving to be one of the best and vocal MP from the ruling party. He has never shied away from any debate; he has moved own motions and he has asked many a pertinent question to any minister without fear or favour. It is not surprising that for a legislator who represents a predominantly agriculture constituency, Nduna’s victims have been ministers who deal with mining activities. The former military man is certainly worth his salt.
Mabvuku Tafara MP James Maridadi – is easily the best thing MDC added to Parliament by debate performance. With his witty oratory antics and public appeal, which he earned during his days inside radio broadcasting and as MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai’s spokesman, Maridadi has managed to establish himself as one of the fiercest debaters in Parliament.
Irene Zindi – The Mutasa South legislator has been one of the few positives of this Parliament.
Fanuel Munengami – what a session he has had? The Glenview North MP has been a real revelation. He has not let his young age be a hindrance, and has been a constant contributor. He certainly has a bright political future.
Bulawayo East MP Tabitha Khumalo – The sharp-tongued legislator has never disappointed all the time. She earned herself ejection from the House once during this session after leading a rebellion against absent ministers in a protest that almost completely froze Parliament proceedings for the day.
Gokwe Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena: The youthful Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator is one of the hyperactive MP. He has been famous for his popular bust-up with former Local Government Saviour Kasukuwere over unending controversies surrounding the community share ownership schemes the latter presided over during his tenure as indigenisation minister.
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga: She is one of the best female MP of the eight Parliament so far. Twice, she has paraded female underwear in Parliament to support her argument. Once she paraded sanitary wear for women and once she almost exchanged blows with Wadyajena, earning herself marching orders. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, a proportional representation legislator, has also introduced very controversial motions like that which seeks to empower women to register children in their maiden names and even raised a point of order with the speaker that sexual harassment of female legislators within Parliament precincts was rampant. She is certainly one to watch in the coming session.
Joseph Chinotimba: From the day that he was elected to represent Buhera South, it was clear that this man would set the august House alight. He has been subject of ridicule and joke, even by fellow MPs, but nothing has stopped him from being as vocal as they come.