Proposal to have extra 90 MP’s slammed
By Lance Guma
A proposal by political parties in Zimbabwe to increase the number of legislators in parliament by an extra 90 individuals has been slammed as another attempt to increase the number of politicians on the gravy train.
It’s reported there are attempts to increase the number of parliamentary seats from 210 to between 250 and 300 to accommodate more female MP’s. The current 210 seats will be contested, while the extra seats will be allocated to individuals.
ZANU PF have suggested an extra 90 MP’s, the MDC-T 40, while the smaller MDC formation suggest 70 extra MP’s.
The plan is being driven by the three political parties in the Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) and the regulations to form the new seats will be created through an act of parliament. The Senate, which is the upper house of parliament, will have a composition that reflects the representation in the lower house.
COPAC co-Chairperson, Douglas Mwonzora from the MDC-T, is quoted as saying: “The principle of gender equity has been constitutionally provided, but can only be practically attained legislatively.” The parties argue that the new representation will be in line with the SADC Gender and Development Protocol.
Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya expressed outrage at the proposal saying: “The majority of right thinking Zimbabweans will be disturbed and surprised that the MDC is part of this proposal.” Ruhanya drew comparisons between the population of Zimbabwe and the United States compared to the number of its legislators.
The US has more than 300 million people and its congress has 435 legislators while the senate has some 100 senators, 2 senators per state in a country of some 50 states. Zimbabwe on the other has less than 15 million people but under the current proposal Zimbabwe would have 300 MP’s in parliament.
Ruhanya said: “At a time when Zimbabweans have no jobs, the economy is shrinking, these people (MP’s) are creating jobs for their friends, jobs for the families and jobs for their prostitutes.” Ruhanya said there was nothing wrong in increasing the number of women in parliament but this could still be done while reducing the number of MP’s.
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman Lovemore Madhuku also queried the need to increase the number of MP’s in parliament and said the same gender equity could be achieved by reducing the number of seats. Madhuku said parliament was already bloated and 150 seats was an ideal number. He suggested 100 seats be contested and the other 50 set aside for proportional representation.
“It’s total madness. This is just a trick by politicians who are pursuing a self-serving agenda by increasing the number of corrupt elements as evidenced by what we have seen so far. Fortunately for the country, this is going to be rejected by the people on such grounds,” Madhuku said. SW Radio Africa
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