Parliament reconfigures committees

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PARLIAMENT has reconfigured its portfolio committees to accommodate new members, including MDC leader Thokozani Khupe and six other MPs, recently sworn in, the Daily News reports.

Last week, Parliament swore in Khupe, Khaliphani Phugeni, Yvonne Musarurwa, Lindani Moyo, January Sawuke, Memory Munochinzwa, Lwazi Sibanda, Sipho Mokone, Molly Ndlovu, Tamani Moyo, Gertrude Moyo, Piniel Denga, Chief Ndlovu, Nomalanga Khumalo and Teti Chisorochengwe in terms of the Constitution.

Following Tuesday’s announcement by National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda that he had slotted in the new legislators into Parliament’s committee system, Independent Norton MP Temba Mliswa expressed hope that they would, unlike their predecessors, respect President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“I know Honourable Khupe is a seasoned politician who is mature. I hope she leads in that manner. I think we are here for national interest and a lot of time has been wasted and this Parliament has lost credibility because of us not putting national interest first.

“The president remains the head of State and Parliament…I am hoping that during the State of the Nation Address (Sona), you shall be exemplary in showing the nation that national interest binds us,” Mliswa said.

Khupe will serve on the portfolio committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development while Lindani Moyo was seconded to the Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services and Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement committees.

Thokozani Khupe

On the other hand,  Emma Muzondiwa will serve on the portfolio committee on Health and Child Care as well as Women’s Affairs, Communities, Small and Medium Enterprises Development while Sawuke was also given the Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services as well as Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement with Lwazi Sibanda on the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Health and Child Care committees.

Mokone will serve on the portfolio committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade as well as Energy and Power Development while Musarurwa serves on the portfolio on committees on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs as well as Media, Information and Broadcasting Services.

The swearing-in of the new legislators also came despite the fact that a voter, Charles Madhiwa of Mbizo, Kwekwe, approached the High Court last week on  Monday seeking to stop the swearing-in ceremony, ostensibly because they did not belong to the party that sponsored the recalled MPs — the MDC Alliance.

 In his application, Madhiwa was seeking an order to stop the 15 MPs from taking oath of office.

Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda, Zec, it’s chairperson Priscilla Chigumba, Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda, Senate president Mabel Chinomona and Khupe, along with 14 other nominees from her party, were cited as respondents.

 “The Government Notice 2553 of 2020 is declared to be inconsistent with section 157(1)(9d) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, in that it purported to award seats in Parliament said to be vacant to the sixth to twentieth respondents as nominees of MDC-T without ensuring that those nominated by MDC-T and appointed by Zec were members of another political party MDC Alliance, whose members had won and held those seats; and accordingly that Government Notice 2553 of 2020 and all appointments announced therein are null, void and of no legal force or effect,” Madhiwa  said.

He said his decision to challenge Khupe and her team form taking office was a matter of principle in his effort to “stop people from one distinct political party being sworn in as MPs to fill seats won and previously held by members of another distinct political party, without any election.”

“If allowed, it will also alter the election results announced in 2018 by Zec and the chairperson, although under our law, changing an election result can only be done by a court ruling on an election petition, neither of which has occurred here,” he submitted.

“Zec has in effect usurped the role of the courts and purported to alter Zimbabwe’s 2018 parliamentary election results as proclaimed by itself.

“It will alter our Parliament’s composition in a way that is not, by any stretch of the imagination, based on the will of the people as expressed at the last general elections held in July 2018.”

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