OPPOSITION MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, unhappy with the quality of debate in Parliament and the level of leadership in the country, has called on the electorate to use the 2023 elections to elect competent representatives who will effectively articulate their aspirations.
“I am also worried about the quality of debate (in Parliament) at times, but a representative can only be a representative of those represented, so to the extent that people go there (to Parliament) and do things that are below the standard and there is no questioning, there is no accountability, it says something about the quality of citizens in Zimbabwe. We must do more. It’s a reflection, I mean, your leadership reflects yourself. Just think about your leadership, it’s a reflection of who you are,” Chamisa said.
The House of Assembly has 270 seats, with 210 directly elected from constituencies, and 60 reserved for women on a proportional representative base, but having less than 20 active legislators contributing to debates.
Chamisa told NewsDay that there was need to have a critical citizen who would refuse to be represented by an unaccountable and substandard leadership.
“We must send better representatives (to Parliament), but this has to do with us being critical of our representatives, (but) in this space, we don’t question leaders. In this country, you go for ages without electricity and not a single person comes to say I am sorry, yet there is a person who is in charge of that,” he said.
“Roads are in a dilapidated state, yet nobody will come to you and say we are sorry. This is the challenge. We will do our best. (There is) no accountability. In a normal country, if you have a cent increase in fuel, there will be pandemonium, hullabaloo, but here, the country goes in any direction and we adjust.”
Zimbabwe is facing critical shortages of water, cash, electricity and fuel as the economy tanks, eroding savings and disposable income, and Chamisa said because of a timid society that allows leadership off the hook easily, things would continue to get worse.
“First, there was no water and we had to drill boreholes. We realised the boreholes were not enough and we had to do tanks. We realised tanks are not enough, we now have our own methods of buying water. There is no electricity (and) what do we do? Let’s have generators; generators are not helping, lets go solar; solar is not helping us, let’s go firewood,” he said.
“Our teachers should teach people to ask leaders questions so that they are responsible and accountable. The teacher is not teaching pupils to be critical because being critical is punished, being critical invites death, but teachers must teach us to be more critical and ask relevant questions as citizens.”