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Independent MP Temba Mliswa says he feels isolated in Zim Parliament

Outspoken independent legislator Temba Mliswa says he feels that the Parliament of Zimbabwe is isolating him by failing to include him in key decision making committees in the National Assembly.

On Tuesday the Norton MP told the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda that he has not been included in various Committees which have been set up before.

Due to this, Mliswa stated that his interests are not being considered every time decisions are made by the arms of the National Assembly.

“I am speaking to an issue of national interest. Mr. Speaker Sir, this Parliament is not only made up of political parties. It was seen as necessary by the lawmakers to allow independent Members to be part of this august House.

“Section 139 (4) of the Constitution is very clear in terms of the reflection of this Parliament in whatever it does; be it ad hoc Committees, travelling and all that. I say so, so that the same mistakes cannot be repeated,” he said.

“When the nation looks at this Parliament, they see a Parliament which represents Zimbabweans. The various Committees which have been set up before, seem to leave out the Independent Member, who by the powers that he has; is not whipped.

“The rest belong to political parties and they have a Chief whip who whips them so their independence is limited. If at all the lawmakers felt that the independent Member should not be part of the august House, the law must stipulate.”

Mliswa claimed that he was not represented in the Delimitation and Welfare Committees.

“The composition of the Delimitation Committee itself, really is quite disappointing. Firstly, most of the Members in there are conflicted. Their constituencies are part of the problem. So how can they represent the nation when their constituencies are affected? Of course, you must be able to look after yourself.

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“I say so Mr. Speaker Sir, because moving forward, most of the things done without following procedure and the Constitution, which this august House must observe because it is in the business of making laws but they seem to ignore that.

“I am not represented, even in the Welfare Committee, for example. Most of the Members of Parliament are represented by their Chief Whips and everything is agreed upon and the Chief Whip has the final say. I do not sit on the Welfare Committee. I am an Independent Member.

“So am I supposed to agree to what they all agree on without my input? If the law says so, then I respect that. These are some of the issues Mr. Speaker Sir. We are fortunate that we have a Speaker who is quite learned; a Speaker who recently has been appointed to be the Legal Secretary for the Ruling Party, which is important, an Advocate of note.”

Political figures such as Jacob Mudenda, the Speaker of Parliament, are also residents of the suburb.
The Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda

Mudenda, the Speaker responded stating that the Constitution, in Section 3, indicates that Zimbabwe is a multi-party democracy “and unfortunately, my Hon. Member (Mliswa) does not qualify as a multi-party individual.”

“Thank you Hon. Mliswa. I think the Hon. Member must be fair to himself and the august House. The Hon. Member should have predicated his observation on the historical fact that at one point, material time, he was chosen to be a chairman of a portfolio committee where he excelled until he found himself out of that chairmanship for reasons best known to himself.

“So that historical fact must be taken into account that it has been in the nature of this august House to extend the inclusivity of Member of Parliament, including the Independent and not only that but also when we were discussing the welfare of Members of Parliament.

“Again, it behooved the head of Parliament to ensure that the Hon. Independent Member was part and parcel of that Committee, where again he contributed exceptionally well but that does not mean that, that should be a foregone conclusion at all times.

“The Constitution, clearly in Section 3, indicates that we are a multi-party democracy and unfortunately, my Hon. Member does not qualify as a multi-party individual.

“In the past, this House has taken into account his potential for leading in the committees of this House. Therefore, his observation must be tainted with graciousness in terms of the historical factor.

“I am happy that in his presentation, he indicated that for the future, a member who is Independent should be considered. Indeed, in the future, the member will be considered as the member has been considered in the past. So this House has a very good track record in that regard.

“Finally, whatever a Select Committee presents to this august House; what the findings of a Select Committee presents to the House are not a fait accompli because it is open to debate; where everyone else who is not in that Committee will debate.

“So there is no prejudice in terms of debate on a report of a given committee including the Ad Hoc Committee. I am sure the Hon. Member will have opportunity to debate accordingly in this House. So the horses have not bolted, the stable is still open,” Mudenda said in his response.