Qualifications Of A Prospective Member Of Parliament - OPINION

2 years agoTue, 25 May 2021 14:01:52 GMT
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Qualifications Of A Prospective Member Of Parliament - OPINION

The 2023 general elections are around the corner and I can see some people are already in the campaign mood. I have seen campaign posters by prospective MPs circulating on social media.

Everyone wants to lead, almost everyone wants to be an MP of his area, everyone aspires to be the President of Zimbabwe.

It is normal for a person to have an ambition in life but do we all qualify to be MPs? Are there qualifications to talk about when it comes to selecting our area MPs?

The law of Zimbabwe doesn’t give an academic or professional qualification in order for one to be elected as a member of parliament.

It is the author’s view that a prospective MP must have a minimum of an undergraduate degree in order to be permitted to contest for the MP’s post.

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Remember MPs are lawmakers; MPs crafts, debate and passes laws in parliament. The MP’s role is very critical such that we can’t elect someone who hasn’t been to school or people who had failed their “O” levels to represent educated persons in parliament.

Some people would want to argue that education is not very important when it comes to choosing parliamentary representatives.

The author would want to ask if education is not very important why do we send our kids to school? If we believe teachers, nurses, doctors and engineers need to be educated then why do we think an MP needs not to be an educated person?

We have seen in Zimbabwe uneducated but rich people using their money to buy votes and getting elected as MPs.

However, their performance in parliament is always been overshadowed by educated lawyers and doctors MPs. Such MPs (the uneducated) suffer from an inferiority complex.

They are unable to speak in English and they cannot make any meaningful contributions in parliament. They are just there to warm the benches, laugh and making noises only and wait for their allowances at the end of the month. Education is very important especially to an MP.

The Zimbabwean law must prohibit someone who doesn’t have a home or a house within the Constituency to represent that constituency in parliament.

We have seen individuals who don’t have roots, in terms of an urban house or a homestead within a particular rural Constituency campaigning and winning elections.

The author’s views are; ” if you are not one of us how can you represent us in parliament?” If you don’t know that we don’t have clean water, dip tanks, roads, poor internet connectivity etcetera, how can you be our voice in parliament?

I believe the law must disqualify those who use money to win elections. All prospective MPs must be prohibited from splashing money or ‘ donate’ money either to individuals or to organisations few months before elections.

One wonders why these donations wait to be given only towards elections. The use of money during the campaign period makes the ground uneven to contestants.

The uneducated but rich candidates end up as our MPs. Zimbabweans don’t need uneducated rich MPs. The author is aware of MPs who are just there in parliament to make sure that a two-thirds majority is maintained, MPs who can’t contribute to any parliamentary debate.

An MP must be someone who is satisfied with his allowance, someone who is not greedy for money. The MP post is not a privilege to amass wealth at the expense of the electorate within that constituency.

I have seen a number of MPs who think each gold mine found in his Constituency must belong to him. I have witnessed MPs who would use the police to chase out gold planners from rich gold claims only for him to register that claim in his name.

Such MPs are not for the people but only there for selfish gains. I believe an MP must create opportunities for his people not to create opportunities to enrich themselves. MPs were elected to serve. MPs mustn’t be greedy and corrupt.

An MP must be a responsible and self-reliant man/ woman. I don’t think that a person who doesn’t have a home, someone who doesn’t have the means to support his family, a person who has abandoned his father or mother can be able to represent a whole constituency.

An MP must be a man/woman of good standing in the community. I am not suggesting that only rich persons must only be MPs. I am simply saying an MP must be responsible in life.

An MP must be approachable, someone who is open not a “shefu” type of a person. It is the author’s view that being an MP is a calling to serve the people and therefore an MP must have an open door policy.

An MP’s role must include spearheading development within his/her constituency. In rural areas, we don’t have roads. For example, there is a tarred road just after Kadoma, the Venice Mine-Empress Mine Chamagora road.

The road is now in bad shape. One wonders if there is an MP for Venice Mine or whether there is an MP for the Empress area, you also wonder if there is an MP covering the area from Ngondoma river to Chamagora.

I am told we do have three MPs covering those areas and all these MPs are Zanu PF MPs. The surprising part is that in 2023 those lazy MPs will be voted back into office, rewarded for doing nothing.

Our schools in rural areas don’t have running water, we don’t have mobile network, no internet network, we have orphans and the elderly, the disabled who need food, shelter, school fees etcetera. A responsible MP must make sure that all these issues are looked into.

As we approach the 2023 general elections choose wisely your MP. Refuse gifts and donations which comes a few months before elections.

Don’t be bought for your vote. Reject those people who have done nothing for your community during their tenure.

Don’t vote for people who don’t speak in parliament, don’t vote for benchwarmers but vote for people who make your voice heard in parliament. Reject the uneducated MPs, a lawmaker must be someone educated and literate.

I thank you.

Etiwel Mutero is a Gokwe peasant farmer, a professional archivist and a political analyst. Whatsapp +263773614293



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