By Edward Mukaro and Simbarashe Musaki
Recent Kuwadzana demonstrations by residents against the recalling of that constituency’s Member of Parliament Honourable Charles Hwende has generated debate on various issues, chief amongst them, a call for the country’s Constitution to enable residents who vote in an MP to be able to determine the fate of people they choose to represent them in the August House.
The recent infighting and disintegration of the country’s leading opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance has not been assisted by the Supreme Court’s judge Justice Bharat Patel’s judgement which nullified Advocate Nelson Chamisa legitimacy of MDC presidency, coupled with an order compelling the warring party to hold an extraordinary congress within three months, giving power to Chamisa’s nemesis, former Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe becomes the interim leader.
Thokozani Khupe immediately ‘set the ball rolling’ by recalling three (3) MPs, including Kuwadzana representative Charles Hwende from parliament, triggering the recent upheaval by Kuwadzana residents.
Hwende is also the secretary general of the MDC party.
The other recalled august house members are Dangamvura – Chikanga MP Prosper Mutseyami, and MDC chairperson Tabitha Khumalo and Senator Lilian Timveous.
The march has however has stirred debate over the essence of the voters’ voice in the ultimate fate of their chosen leaders.
Apparently indications are that concrete measures are needed to protect the democracy voice of the electorate from part or government infringements.
Commenting on the issue, on a hotly debated social forum, National Constitution Assembly spokesperson Madock Chivasa called on the Constitution of Zimbabwe to empower citizens and also to limit MPs’ terms to two terms in order to stop the recycling of MPs, who have no contribution to the development of residents and the country at large.
“The Constitution must empower ordinary citizens to recall Members of Parliament. The current provision allowing political parties to withdraw MPs is not useful because political leaders of those parties are the ones who ultimately exercise the powers to recall, instead of the ordinary members of the respective parties.
“Furthermore, there is need to for the Constitution to limit the term of office for MPs to 2 terms, which is 10 years, to avoid the problem we currently have of perennial MPS, majority of which don’t even contribute anything for the whole term of office,” said Chivasa.
Civic activist Abigail Mpambi concurred, adding that it was high time that citizens were educated on their rights while also making sure that ignorant politicians realize that real power comes from the people.
“We have a big job and role to play towards educating and liberating the citizens from the jaws of ruthless politicians who when driving those luxurious cars forget that no fish can live or survive without the water.
“In this case, politicians turn to believe that they are bosses of voters, which is vise versa, so as Civic Activists, we have a mountain climb task, to liberate the voter and advocate for Civic education around Constitution and Constitutionalism from primary education level. We have the water that houses the fish, but the water knows no value of itself,” said Mpambi.
She added that there is need for citizens to be freed from partisan bondage and address the real pertinent issues stifling the nation’s growth.
“The Citizens Agenda has to be redefined. Citizens must claim themselves out of mostly partisan bondages. It’s a serious generational obligation that can help us address the pertinent issues haunting this country today.
“Reforms are left unattended by either side of political parties, you hear of reforms agenda towards elections and that has reduced reforms agenda as a campaign tool for the opposition. On the other hand, the ruling party seems comfortable with the reforms agenda on the shelf. Citizens remain victims of this,” she added.
By Edward Mukaro and Simbarashe Musaki