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9th Parliament’s top 20 performers

Questions have been raised about the elimination and endorsement  of sitting Members of Parliament.

AS Zimbabwe heads  for general elections in July or August 2023 to elect Members of Parliament , it is imperative that an assessment and  performance evaluation of the Members of Parliament in the National Assembly be done.

Political parties have resorted to different candidate selection processes that have seen some seasoned political actors falling by the wayside or bouncing back into the ring to represent their respective political parties in this year’s plebscite. Questions have been raised about the elimination and endorsement  of sitting Members of Parliament.

Assessing the performance of a Member of Parliament is a difficult task given the complexities of politics in Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular. An  MP’s  performance in Parliament is affected by internal party politics. It has become evidently complicated   for MPs from Zanu PF to play proper oversight role given that Cabinet ministers and the President are their seniors at  party level.

This assessment of Members of Parliament is strictly based on the core roles of MPs which are legislative, oversight and representational. Assessment  of legislators is centred on  debates of motions and Bills as well as raising of pertinent and relevant questions in Parliament  as recorded  in the Hansard on the Parliamentary website. I have identified the following  top 20  performers in Zimbabwe’s Ninth Parliament (2018-2023).-Tendai Biti

Harare East MP is one notable figure whose contributions and arguments livened the House. He is one excellent  legislator whose well-thought contributions in Parliament have added value to the Legislative Assembly and drew   the attention of the public to some corrupt practices and fraudulent activities. He emerged  as one of the most effective and excellent committee leaders when he chaired the Public Accounts Committee  before his recall from Parliament.  When he bounced back to Parliament through by -elections, he continued to shine.-Ruth Labode

The chairperson of the Health Committee has been a marvel to watch especially on health matters. Her witty contributions and grasp of health matters as well as her ability to express herself made her the best female legislator. The electorate is keen to see a gender-balanced Parliament where women like Labode are seen proving their worth.-Edwin Mushoriwa

The Dzivaresekwa MP had an outstanding performance during the tenure of this Parliament (2018-2023). His well-researched  contributions on motions and raising of pertinent questions made him a valuable figure in Parliament. He was also key in the scrutiny of legislation and proposed amendments on several Bills. His grasp of issues to do with public finance management  was excellent.-Temba Mliswa

The Norton (Independent) MP was  lively and outstanding  in Parliament this term  with his timely raising of  points of order and  matters of  national interest. His fearless and combative attitude in his contributions made him reach  where angels fear to tread.-Rusty Markham

The Harare North legislator did exceptionally well in Parliament this term and is one of the few legislators who never slept on duty. His well-researched questions and points of national interest were a thorn in the flesh for several Cabinet ministers. He was worth listening to every Wednesday  during question-and-answer time.-Settlement Chikwinya

The Mbizo MP was brilliant as usual  especially on raising matters of national interest and points of order. He  was also a good contributor in debating motions. His presence  spices and adds value to the House of Assembly given his approach to issues.-Innocent Gonese

The seasoned Mutare Central MP was consistent in steering debates and motions in Parliament. He proposed amendments to various Bills  including the Electoral Amendment Bill.-Dexter Nduna

The Chegutu West MP has been one of the outstanding members of Parliament from the ruling party side. He spoke out in most of the debates and posed questions and is not shy to express himself when it came to pertinent issues that touch lives of many.-Mathew Nyashanu

The MP for Buhera Central had a good term as chairperson of the Budget and Finance Committee. His reports and contributions in Parliament were of high quality. He added value to the House through his excellent handling of the committee business.-Tendai Nyabani

The Rushinga MP was also a revelation as he managed to articulate issues affecting his constituency. He grew in confidence as the term progressed. A good example of a people-driven legislator with vast grassroots  knowledge.-Torerayi  Moyo

The Gokwe-Chireya MP was also a shining star from the ruling party  benches as he managed to fit into the chairpersonship of the Education Committee which was vacated by Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga.-Sipho Mokone

Her entry into Parliament  midway at the expense of a recalled member was the only worth addition to Parliament by MDC Alliance as she did well as chairperson of the Information and Publicity Committee.

The trio of Caston Matewu (Marondera Central), James Chidhakwa (Mabvuku-Tafara) and Shakespear Hamauswa (Warren Park)  had some moments of sparkle during this term in and outside the House. Renowned actor Tatenda Mavetera from the ruling Zanu PF shined beyond expectation as she  managed to steer debate from the Speaker’s chair and her contributions to Parliamentary debates were exceptionally good.-Chalton Hwende

The Kuwadzana East legislator rose from his slumber since his return  to Parliament after the by-elections. The recall and his stint outside Parliament made him find his voice. Together with Gonese and Mushoriwa, he proposed  important amendments to the Electoral Amendment Bill.

Seasoned MPs such as Willias Madzimure (Kambuzuma) and Joel Gabuza (Binga South) were on top of their game as usual on general debates and chairing the Energy and Power Development Portfolio Committee, respectively.

Last but not least is Hwange Central MP Daniel Molokele who  perfomed well in debates on motions in Parliament and also  managed to put social media to good use in promoting his parliamentary work. A necessary inclusion in the National Assembly with deeper knowledge of his role as an ambassador of the people.-Action Muchenje


Clarification needed on proclamation of election dates

ACCORDING to section 38 of the Constitution, a general election (harmonised election) must be held so that polling takes place not more than 30 days before the expiry of the five-year period which runs from the date on which the President-elect is sworn in and assumes office.

President Emmersom Mnangagwa was sworn in on August 26 2018. The 30-day period before the expiry of the presidential term runs from July 27-August 26 2023.

According to section 38 of the Electoral Act, the President must fix a date for a general election — election for councillors, Members of Parliament and the President, after consultation with the commission. The proclamation must take into consideration;

  • Nomination Court: Which must sit at least 14 days and not more than 21 days after the day of publication of the proclamation for the purpose of receiving nominations of candidates for election.
  • Polling day: Polls must be held at least 30 and not more than 63 days after the sitting of the nomination court.

Taking into account the timelines for the sitting of the nomination court and the possible election dates between July 27-August 26 2023 the President may only make a proclamation between any of the following dates — May 4-July 13, 2023

While the authority to proclaim an election date is vested in the President, he is guided by aforementioned timelines and must consult the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission before proclaiming.-Election Resource Centre

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