Bulawayo legislator Kucaca Phulu, who was one of the six members of the People’s Democratic Party that were recalled from Parliament last week for joining the Movement for Democratic Change-Alliance, said he did not know that politics was such a dirty game.
According to independent legislator Temba Mliswa, Phulu, a lawyer and MP for Nkulumane, told Mliswa: “I really do not know why I got into this game Hon. Mliswa, I did not know politics was like this but anyway, I am here to serve people.”
Phulu was recalled together with Tendai Laxton Biti of Harare East, Willas Madzimure of Kambuzuma, Settlement Chikwinya of Mbizo, Sichelesile Mahlangu of Pumula and Regai Tsunga of Mutasa South.
Mliswa said the legislators who had been recalled deserved to be commended for their work in Parliament and lamented that some of the legislators still in Parliament who headed some portfolio committees were not doing their job.
Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda agreed with Mliswa said two women chairpersons were doing a sterling job but only named one Miriam Chikukwa.
Mudenda said three others were not doing their job and had been warned:
“I am aware Hon. Mliswa of three chairpersons that have not been up to scratch and they have been told. If they do not improve then we stand them down,” Mudenda said.
Parliament has 20 portfolio committees.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, mine is to acknowledge the recalling of the Members of Parliament but at the same time to also commend the work that they did when they were here. It is important to acknowledge good work of Hon. Members who were recalled and I would like to mention especially Hon. Phulu. He was a humble person, intelligent and it really hurt me to just think of how fair he was and his conduct. I remember sitting with him here the other day, he said, “I really do not know why I got into this game Hon. Mliswa, I did not know politics was like this but anyway, I am here to serve people.” It is people like him whom you wish would be here because a voice of reason from time to time is really needed in any situation. Indeed, he was a voice of reason at any given time and I would like to commend and appreciate the work that he did though of course his demise has nothing to do with you or any of us but the political parties that they belong to.
Equally, Hon. Biti, Hon. Tsunga and Hon. Chikwinya, I think were also vibrant in many ways. It is from that point that I rise to say their work is appreciated and Parliament has got to be vibrant. I think it is one of the issues which I want to thank you for, that you have allowed this Parliament to be vibrant.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of vibrancy which I am talking about, talks about the Parliamentary Committees which are currently there. There is not much which is happening. I and most people recall that when I chaired the Committee on Mines and Energy, you constantly gave us guidance and the Clerk as well. It seems Chairpersons, some of them have no confidence to discharge the duties according to the Standing Rules and Orders. For examples, we invited the former late President, R. G. Mugabe to come through and you were supportive of that because it was a matter which was in order. So, I am wondering, with many things which are happening right now, our committees seem not to be vibrant. A lot is happening and I am wondering what is really happening that is stopping them from discharging their duties. I hope the Chief Whip can really listen to this because we are now making Question Time a Parliamentary Committee business; that is why you see us bringing issues yet they should be there as an engine of Parliament and that engine, unfortunately Mr. Speaker Sir, you are the driver, your cylinders are not firing. I do not know how you are going to get to the next point when the cylinders are not firing. I implore your good office to task the chief whips to look at the capacity and to look at the work. The reports which come here are not that strong. The recommendations which other Committees have done before have not been implemented.
I say so because we were in the Public Accounts Committee doing the Dema Project but if you go to the Mines and Energy recommendations and inquiry on that, the results are there. May Committees go through recommendations previously done by other Committees? Get them implemented, call the Ministers to task that how far have you gone? The subject matter is that…
THE HON. SPEAKER: You are getting derailed.
HON. MLISWA: I am talking about the people in courts from a vibrant point of view who are trying to bring up my case – there is no vibrancy. We are weaker without the vibrancy and the Committees must discharge their duties.
Finally Mr. Speaker Sir, the welfare of Members of Parliament; thank you for the CMED fuel structure which is there. I must say it is working very well and recommendations that you put forward. But the other issue seemS to be missing, Issues like people having their stands done. We are told this is happening, but people are dying without getting their stands. How do they get them when they are dead? Can we also….
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, you speak on one item on an issue of national interest. Do not perambulate.
HON. T. MLISWA: I will stop there Sir. Thank you Sir but I think you have heard semwanavo ari kuchema kuna baba kuti zvakati wandei and tinokumbiravo your guidance kuti tiri papi nezvimwe zvacho.
THE HON. SPEAKER: It is only the driver who will know that the pistons are not firing. The car would not pull if the pistons are not firing, you know alternatively as they ought to do. I think the Committee Chairpersons as I listen from my office, they are doing very well. One of the Chairpersons is here, and I can mention a very good example. She brought her reports that have tickled debates very forcefully. The other one is there – that is Hon. Chikukwa; Local Government is there, it has tickled debates here and forced Ministers to be on a gyrating jive and have responded accordingly. I am aware Hon. Mliswa of three chairpersons that have not been up to scratch and they have been told. If they do not improve then we stand them down. Were it not for the exigencies that happened to you, you were one of the good chairpersons. Unfortunately, I hope history and the future will create some opportunity so that you are back in the fold but reformed so that you do not suffer the same exigencies that occurred resulting in your stepping down, but you were one of the good chairpersons. There is no doubt about that and you left a very impressive record, in terms of hitting the nail on the head in terms of recommendations. I can assure you, we have identified three. If they do not improve, we shall stand them down because they would not be doing good service for Parliament, the electorate and the party that proposed them to be chairpersons accordingly.