By Anna Chibamu
MPs from across the political divide on Wednesday took turns to express their approval over the reappointment of Kennedy Chokuda as Clerk of Parliament with MDC Alliance legislator Job Sikhala running out of superlatives to describe how professional the legislative institution’s boss was.
Chokuda was Wednesday announced as having been reappointed for his second six-year term as head of administration in Zimbabwe’s parliament.
He replaced his long serving predecessor Austin Zvoma who headed parliament’s secretariat for 25 years.
Zvoma was not popular with opposition legislators for his apparent bias towards Zanu PF.
Sikhala said while debating a motion on the reappointment of Chokuda that the latter was a breath of fresh air to parliament following their nightmares with Zvoma.
“Some of us who had an opportunity to witness two regimes reining in parliament since the year 2000 up to the term of Mr. Chokuda have immense respect for the professionalism displayed by Mr. Chokuda in his institutional objectives.
“We have immense respect for his professionalism in the way he handles the different interests.
“You have heard from a number of us who have been in that parliament in 2000 when we were young boys with the former Clerk of Parliament when he literally played politics, something that we have noticed that Dr. Chokuda’s administration does not play politics but plays professionalism and administration to the satisfaction of everybody.
“I would support Mr. Speaker Sir, that with all due respect, Dr. Chokuda be given another six-year extension of his administration of parliament,” said Sikhala.
Zanu PF MP Peter Moyo supported the motion for Chokuda’s reappointment.
“I want to support the view that Mr. Chokuda be given a second and final six-year term. I have known Mr. Chokuda since 2018.
“He has performed his duties diligently and efficiently. He is a self-motivated man and he is a team player,” Moyo said.
Independent Norton MP Temba Mliswa also voiced his own approval for Chokuda’s reappointment but had other wishes to be fulfilled.
“I support his reappointment but what is critical in his second term is to ensure that the welfare of the Members of Parliament is taken care of.
“Him being the chief administrator of parliament, he must ensure that with resources permitting, I know it is probably a constraint, but the welfare of the Members of Parliament is very important.
“Sadly, Mr. Speaker Sir, we have failed as Parliament to also benchmark ourselves to some of the SADC Parliaments due to resources which are totally beyond his control, but he must push for a better welfare for the MPs in his second term and ensure that when they discharge their duties, they do so in a professional manner which is not compromising at all.
“I must say, he is a calm man, and I am not calm myself but when I go into his office, I end up being calm in the way that he conducts himself.
“He will listen to you, he will give you the advice and he will give you options to pick what is good for you. I really want to say he is still an asset to this Parliament in many ways.”
Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna also praised the decision to retain Chokuda.
“During the tenure that Mr. Chokuda was appointed, I was in the House in 2013 in the 8th Parliament leading to the 9th Parliament.
“I have seen a progressive, robust and effective way of doing business in Parliament under the stewardship of Mr. Chokuda in that I saw the strategic initiative or a strategic document arising from the operations of Parliament,” he said.