ZANU PF lawmakers in the National Assembly have resorted to indicating a “lack of quorum” (70 members) in order to quash any debate they deem critical of their political party, it has emerged.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
The practice has resulted in failure by the House to resolve important matters affecting Zimbabweans, including debate on the outbreak of xenophobic attacks in South Africa, which has over the years affected millions of Zimbabwean migrants exiled by social, economic and political decay at home.
A fortnight ago Hurungwe East MP Sarah Mahoka had to call for lack of quorum during a debate on a motion on a report by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs on the Registrar General’s department after Prince Dubeko Sibanda (MDC-T Binga North MP) mentioned that President Robert Mugabe and Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede were now of pensionable age, while contributing to debate.
“The notoriety lies in the fact that this is the only government department that is headed by a person who is over pensionable age. It is the only department headed by someone who is close to 80 years, when government laws say that at 60/65 years, someone should retire. I think that is the notoriety that you can see in this department and the reason why it is not performing well,” Sibanda said referring to Mudede’s age.
Mahoka immediately called for lack of quorum and the debate was immediately aborted, as there were less than 70 MPs in the House.
Last week, Mabvuku-Tafara MP James Maridadi’s motion on xenophobia was aborted after Sibanda again began attacking the Zanu PF government for failing the economy and forcing Zimbabweans to seek menial jobs in neighbouring countries like South Africa and beyond.
Zanu PF MPs again resorted to quashing the debate indicating a lack of quorum.
Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa’s motion on police brutality on demonstrators has been on the order paper for ages after it was quashed last year when he tried to introduce it and Zanu PF MPs left the House to ensure there is no quorum to discuss it.
Oliver Mandipaka (Zanu PF Buhera East MP) also gave notice to move a motion that members of some political parties were viciously attacking police officers to counter Chamisa’s motion, but it has clocked months on the order paper without it being discussed.
Chamisa’s motion on the disappearance of journalist-turned-democracy activist, Itai Dzamara, has clocked several months in the Order Paper without discussion, after Zanu PF MPs walked out when it was being discussed resulting in a lack of quorum.
Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda last week warned MPs that all motions that will remain undebated for more than 21 days will now be removed from the Order paper.