Independent legislator Temba Mliswa yesterday said Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda, was letting legislators down because he was not whipping government ministers into line.
He said ministers were not responding to issues raised by Members of Parliament and only Mudenda could force them to do that.
“We are powerless and can only do so much to the Executive. May the Chair, the Hon. Speaker and Leader of the House, start using the powers bestowed on him to put the Executive in order? We cannot,” he said adding: “it is only the Speaker who has the ultimate authority to put everyone in order”.
“For now we are powerless Mr. Speaker. Tiri vana vari kungotarisawo baba kuti vachaitawo chii kune vamwe vana. It seems some children are favoured more than the others. We just feel that we should fold our hands, watch and wait for the father to do something. Like me as Hon. Mliswa, I just stand and watch toita kunge tinopenga. It is my plea Hon. Speaker that you should not treat the Executive with kid gloves. We have now reached our end and may we then start from where we failed.”
Mudenda said it was not him that had the power but the country’s constitution. He said that ministers had promised to respond to the issues raised by the legislators and had lined up to do so.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker, with due respect, I did not intend to rise or contribute to this session of privileges or matter of national interest but it is out of your remarks that I want to say that the issue that you brought up is pertinent. However, I think we also have to ask ourselves; do the Chairpersons and Committees understand their roles? The reason why I say this is Parliament has got a lot of powers but I think that the powers are not used. You, in the Eighth Session when I chaired the Mines and Energy Committee, set precedence that there is no one who cannot account to Parliament. Even the former late President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, with your guidance and that of the Clerk, when the issue came of the diamond inquiry that he spoke about the $15 billion and we wanted to know –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Are you debating now or seeking clarification on my response?
HON. T. MLISWA: What I am trying to say is that with the powers we have, we seem powerless because I think the Chair has also let us down in terms of the Executive. I spoke to the Chief Whip to say the Speaker spoke about the response to the State of the Nation Address, did you write a letter to the Ministers. He said, yes we did. I said how come last week they were supposed to be here to respond but if I am not mistaken, only one Minister did that. The rest did not. So, we then become powerless because we cannot then do anything. I think Hon. Nduna, the Minister of Local Government and the aspect of devolution funds being disbursed, you know I brought it up from Victoria Falls to here but why are we continuously disbursing devolution funds without the Provincial Councils being in place? The response was supposed to come but it never came.
HE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Member. What is your point of clarification to my response? Do not start debating general issues.
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