By Robert Tapfumaneyi
ZIMBABWE’s legislature has effectively turned into a retirement home to which political parties ship out old people, outspoken Norton Independent MP Temba Mliswa has said.
Mliswa told a Public Finance Management Indaba, held in Harare Wednesday that political parties should lead the way in setting qualifications for aspiring MPs and councillors.
“People say I talk too much but honestly, you elect old men and women to represent you in Parliament.
“Intellectual and professional capacity is key,” said the lawmaker.
The former Zanu PF Mashonaland West chairperson argued that election of people with capacity and competence will help increase levels of debate in the August House.
“So what I see in Parliament are old men and women sleeping instead of contributing to national debate.
“Because there have served in your political party for a very long time, its politics of patronage which is there, not politics of serving, emanating from the political parties,” Mliswa said to laughter from guests.
“And even you even ask the political parties that in MDC Alliance what is the criteria of selecting a councilor? They don’t have. In Zanu PF what is your criteria of selecting councilor? They don’t have.”
He added: “The issue of selecting competent people should come from the political parties and have guidelines of what makes one to qualify as a Councilor or Member of Parliament.”
National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda has also raised concern over the quality of parliamentarians.
“The level of politicians that come to Parliament, there are few Biti’s (Biti MDC MP and Public Accounts Committee chairperson), who can articulate issues, there are few.
“With all due respect economic literacy in my Parliament is low, it’s very low,” Mudenda told local foreign chief executive officers gathered at the 6th edition of the Africa Roundtable Conference in the resort town Victoria Falls early this year.
The Constitution has only listed three qualifications for one to be elected as a Member of Parliament, that one must be 21 years of age, be a registered voter and a citizen of Zimbabwe.