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‘Is Zim govt pro-poor or Queen B?’

MDC legislators on Wednesday grilled Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi over the effects of government’s austerity measures while bigwigs are living an extravagant life.

President Mnangagwa consoles Mr Kudakwashe Tagwirei while flanked by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga before the burial of the businessman's father, Sekuru Phineas Tagwirei, in Shurugwi yesterday. - (Picture by John Manzongo)
President Mnangagwa consoles Mr Kudakwashe Tagwirei while flanked by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga before the burial of the businessman’s father, Sekuru Phineas Tagwirei, in Shurugwi yesterday. – (Picture by John Manzongo)

MDC MP for Glen Norah, Wellington Chikombo set the ball rolling after he asked Ziyambi if the government is pro-poor or not.

“I want to know the ideology of your government. I am referring to whether you are for communism, social democracy or capitalism? To put it more singular, is your government a pro-poor government or it is for the elite or it is for the Queen B?”

In his response Ziyambi said the policies of government are guided by the Constitution.

“We have a Constitution of Zimbabwe which is our Supreme Law that guides us and government once in a while also spells out our programmes. 

“Last year, we came up with a transition stabilisation programme that spells out what we need to do within the short term and within the next five years.”

However, Chikombo insisted saying people are suffering while top government officials are living an extravagant life.

“If we read those documents that he is trying to tell this House, he is talking of social democracy but on the ground, we are realising that the poor are the people who are continuously suffering. They face high taxation, low salaries and recently we have witnessed operation Murambatsvina which is contentiously targeting the poor.” 

Ziyambi said his job is not to describe ideology but to represent government policy.

“If he is interested in those ideologies, I will be glad to allow him to come to my office so that we can deliberate on those, but if we want to focus on the policy of government, we have a whole document that was presented and we have a budget that was presented by the minister and all those issues that he wants me to articulate in an ideological document are well presented in those documents.”

After Ziyambi’s response, Chikombo blasted the government saying it doesn’t have an ideology.  “A policy is supposed to be rooted from an ideology.  What I asked the minister is to explain and articulate the ideology that is running this government.”

However, Ziyambi stuck to his guns saying the legislator was totally lost.

The response did not go down well with opposition MPs who demanded an explanation.

MDC MP for Binga North Prince Dubeko Sibanda questioned the minister on why the situation on the ground is different from government’s policy.

“Before the minister becomes emotional, I am sure the reason why these questions are coming is because we have got a budget which is styled ‘austerity for posterity’.  

“However, the actions that are taking place in the executive are different from the theory that is in the budget.

 “I want to give an example. The executive has been flying in hired jets instead of commercial airlines. How does government intend to ensure that its policies as pronounced in the documents that the minister indicated and its actions on the ground tally?”

However, a defiant Ziyambi said Parliament is the one which approves budgets and whatever happens in government is approved in the august House. Daily News