By Daniel Chigundu
Binga North legislator Prince Dubeko Sibanda says he has now matured and will not exhibit bad behaviour in the National Assembly.
Legislators have come under fire most of the time for behaving badly through hackling, singing and making noise while in the National Assembly at a time when they are supposed to be putting their serious minds in trying to find solutions to the problems bedevilling the country.
In an interview at a workshop on media and peace organised by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, Honourable Sibanda said he is one of the legislators who behaved badly but has now matured.
“Let me start with the behaviour before I come to debates, you see Parliament is a community, and obviously in any community, you are bound to see people behaving differently either because some are less mature than others or something of that sort.
“Let me be honest, in the last Parliament which was my first Parliament, I am also one of those who exhibited not so good behaviour, disruptive behaviour in the House but this second Parliament everyone is surprised if I have nothing to say I will just be sitted and listening to others debating. I don’t make noise, why because maybe I have now matured,” he said.
Honourable Sibanda who is also the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Media and Broadcasting Services added that the other challenge is that Parliament is overcrowded which makes it difficult to control people.
“So yes I am not really happy with some of the behaviour that is why at times you see me when others are singing I will just be sitted because that is what I expect of the decorum that is required of the House so we might need to do better but you see that House is a crowd you are talking of over 300 people.
“It’s not easy to control the behaviour of over 300 people sitted in one place,” he said.
With regards to the quality of debates in the House, Honourable Sibanda said quality usually comes with experience adding that it takes time for new legislators to start delivering quality debates.
“When it comes to debates, I totally agree that at times depending on who you look at, if you look at South Africa, for example, it’s not every MP or political party that debates very well in that Parliament but there are certain debates that you can see that these are quality similarly in our situation you will find that there are individuals that are able to deliver quality debates, but some of it comes with experience.
“Stage-fright for a first time MP, let me be honest you begin to make meaningful debate in Parliament after 3 or 4 years of being in Parliament, below that it will be asking for too much unless you have been already a public speaker and debater in some other instances but remember qualification for Parliament is age only.
“So obvious quality control is not part and parcel of the selection process so you cannot expect everyone therefore to deliver ‘A-quality-debate’, but let me hasten to say for me the 9th Parliament appears to mere effective than the 8th Parliament that I was a member of as well,” he said.
He said in the 9th Parliament he has seen a number of Bills that have come and “the executive have put up a Bill in the manner that they want it to go and we conduct surgery on it in Parliament and turn it to a different law from what the executive had wanted.
“Why because we are applying the principles of the constitution which in Section 141 says when making laws involve members of the public so that involvement is not just a gesture it is something that is serious.
“We take seriously contributions that citizens make towards lawmaking and that is why you say that this year you have seen ministers compromising on a number of Bills because Parliament says no this is the position that people say is what they want so in my view we are getting better by day,” he said.-