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were 'occasional visitors' to Parly
Phyllis Mbanje, The Standard (Zimbabwe)
November 10, 2013
Most MPs and
senators who served under the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) were “occasional visitors”
to parliament and did not contribute to any meaningful debate, a
local advocacy group has said.
In an analysis
carried out by Research
and Advocacy Unit (RAU), which accessed the performance of the
Seventh Parliament, noted that the legislators did not attend sessions.
“The patterns of
non-attendance in the Senate are shocking. Out of a possible 50
sittings in the Senate, the average rate of attendance was only
33%,” read part of the first of a three part series of an
intensive analysis on the performance of the Seventh Parliament
running from June 2012 to June 2013.
RAU said the
shortest sitting in the House
of Assembly lasted five minutes, while the shortest in the Senate
lasted four minutes.
This scenario cast a
shadow on the competencies of the legislators, more so when a baseline
survey on Specific Capacity Building Requirements for Committees
of Parliament revealed that the Seventh Parliament had a 70% skills
The study revealed that
it failed largely to deliver its full mandate to the general populace.
civil and political reforms, there was an expectation for improvements
to the social and economic status of citizens, including improvements
to access to health care, education, housing, and food security,”
“Expectations for visible development in communities, such
as improvements to roads and other infrastructure also existed among
The lobby group noted
that the larger part of the role of the parliamentarians would have
been to represent their constituencies by attending sessions and
thus have a duty to be available to represent the communities that
elect them. Such representation is possible if they attend parliamentary
sessions, participate effectively, and seek to influence policy
in ways that respond to the needs of their constituencies,”
read the RAU statement.
The analysis also looked
into the issue of then having a technocratic government. A technocratic
government is a government in which the ministers of government
are not career politicians, and, in some cases, they will not even
be members of political parties.
are skilled, capable, and perform their duties in an objective,
unbiased, and non-partisan manner.
of ministers is based on their political affiliation and their loyalty
to the president of the party.
This is despite
the fact that it contravenes the selection criteria set out in the
that ministers must be chosen for their “professional skills
and competence”, with considerations made to regional and
“Instead of their
level of loyalty to the political party nominating them and their
seniority within the party”.
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