‘Parliament useless without the opposition,’ says Mliswa

Temba Mliswa

NORTON MP Temba Mliswa (Independent) yesterday said the National Assembly would be “useless” without opposition MDC Alliance MPs, adding that Zanu-PF legislators were incapable of asking probing questions to their ministers.

Mliswa also said the Zanu-PF MPs must not celebrate the demise of their MDC Alliance counterparts and should focus on ensuring they demand accountability from the Executive as enunciated in their political party manifesto.

This followed the temporary withdrawal of MDC Alliance legislators from Parliament after MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe was given the green light by Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda and Senate president Mabel Chinomona to recall four opposition legislators despite that they were elected on an MDC Alliance ticket.

The four recalled MPs are Thabitha Khumalo (leader of the opposition), Prosper Mutseyami (chief whip), Kuwadzana East MP Chalton Hwende and Senate chief whip Lillian Timveous.

There were reports that more MDC Alliance MPs would be recalled, but the opposition challenged the recalls through the courts and temporarily withdrew their MPs from parliamentary activities in protest until the issue was resolved.

“I see that we do not have members of the opposition and you will appreciate that we are here on taxpayers’ money to maintain our mandate of representation and oversight. Mutseyami was recalled and he was chief whip and it is important for efficiency to have an opposition chief whip,” Mliswa said.

“If we continue like this, we will render this House useless. I do not know whether as the only opposition now, I will be able to handle ministers alone tomorrow (today), to ask questions during question and answer session because we know that MPs from the ruling party are whipped and are not capable of asking their own ministers challenging questions.”

Mliswa said Mudenda must allow him to ask as many questions as possible.

Mudenda said the MDC Alliance MPs’ absence was a waste of taxpayers’ money, adding that “the missing MPs needed to be reminded that they took oath of office which obliged them to respect the Constitution”.

He said Parliament had Standing Rules and Orders which would be used accordingly if violated by MPs. Parliament rules state that if an MP is absent for 21 consecutive sittings then they can be fired from Parliament.

“On your observation that you are the lone opposition MP and, therefore, MPs from the ruling party may not ask substantive questions – why not wait until this happens tomorrow (today). To that extent, if your prediction becomes a reality, then you will be vindicated.”

Source – newsday