Home » Governance » Separating Honourables From Dishonourables

When I was growing up in the early eighties, I held great veneration for our legislators. As pupils, it was everybody’s dream to join the honourables of the day in the august House. I vividly remember learning in Grade Five that Parliament is the third arm of the Government mandated to make laws of the country. It would be a bonus for us, if any question about parliament came up in our termly exams. Those were the days when we still had honourable Members of Parliament.

I am not sure if I still have the same regard for today’s legislators. Unless my dictionary misleads me, an honourable person is one who is respectable, admirable, praiseworthy, principled, morally upright and good. I am not certain if our current crop of legislators is honourable. So many nasty things have been reported about the MPs which make the tag honourable a misnomer.

The Herald issue of July 14, 2014, reported of two Zanu-PF Midlands legislators who traded blows over an inconsequential matter that can only be an issue to grade one pupils. Cdes Masango Matambanadzo and Owen Ncube dragged the name of the august House and that of the party into disrepute. Before any measures are taken against these dishonourable boxers clad in respectable garment, they must make a public apology to their constituencies, party and the nation at large.

How can adults who must be role models of their constituencies and the youths in particular, fight in public? It’s unfortunate that these militant MPs expend their energy on fighting rather than contributing meaningfully in Parliament. I am yet to hear any of them contributing in parliament.

Without taking sides, Ncube has no right to label Matambanadzo a foreigner. He was given a mandate by the residents of Kwekwe Central who voted for him conscious of his origins. Regionalism will not take the country anywhere. In a way, Ncube is telling us that anyone found in a foreign region must be persecuted. We have heard about Shona teachers who are being rejected in Matabeleland region. Does Ncube tell us that these Shona teachers must be persecuted the way he is persecuting Matambanadzo?

In any case, Ncube, whose constituency is some hundreds of kilometres from Kwekwe Central, must have notified Matambanadzo of his meeting. Even when President Mugabe holds meetings in provinces, the political leadership in that province is notified and that is the party’s standing protocol.

The embarrassing fiasco came hard on the heels of another dishonourable event when the not-so-honourable MPs put their feet in the mouth in China. A horde of legislators connived to abuse tickets meant for the disabled to go for a trip in China whose purpose did not add any value to the nation. As if that was not enough, they went on to stray and missed their flight back home, much to the embarrassment of the nation and their parties. Now these MPs are a butt of jokes in bars, kombis and on social media. One that tickled my ribs was from a tout who said the MPs were indeed disabled in the brain. If people who must be exemplary can fight in public, then the tout is spot on.

While Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa and his boss Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi have not physically clashed, they have engaged in a war of words that has attracted media attention. Disagreements are inevitable in any society but it is the way they are handled that separates honourables from dishonourables. Fighting usually begins where reasoning ends. Have the honourable members of our society stretched enough their reasoning capacity?

The MPs’ misdemeanours stultify them from effectively tackling socio-economic issues bedevilling the country. It is so because they are the chief perpetrators of these socio-economic ills. President Mugabe recently bemoaned the alarming moral decadence in the country. He seems to be fighting a lone battle.

According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics agency (ZimStats) preliminary figures of the first quarter of 2014, a woman is raped every 90 minutes. This is alarming and the nation expects our MPs to interrogate such issues. Unfortunately there are rapists within the august House. Binga North MDC-T MP, Prince Madubeko Sibanda was recently arrested for drugging and raping a 17-year old teenager in Victoria Falls. Costa Machingauta, another MDC-T MP for Budiriro, allegedly raped a Midlands State University student he had lured to his hotel room. We also have pending rape cases involving other MPs, among them Bikita West independent MP, Dr Kereke Munyaradzi and Zanu-PF Mhondoro Ngezi legislator Mike Gava.

These MPs are the ones who make laws that they break willy-nilly. Our next parliament must have virtuous personalities and voters should look beyond sloganeering.

The buck stops with us, the electorate. If we voted these dishonourables into parliament, it is a reflection of the depths of our dishonour. We can make amends in the next elections, for come they shall!

Source : The Herald