Glenview South legislator Vincent Tsvangirai has finally broken his five-months silence in the National Assembly.
Tsvangirai who won the Glenview South seat through a by-election in September last year is one of the sons of the late MDC founding president Morgan Tsvangirai and is currently the youngest legislator in the National Assembly.
However, his silence was not a surprise as he had promised that he will not rush to speak but that he will take his time to learn the processes and procedures of Parliament before contributing.
Rising on a point of privilege the soft-spoken legislators questioned Parliament’s preparedness in case of Coronavirus outbreak in the country.
“My point of privilege is with regards to my fear of how unprepared as an institution and as Parliament, we are with regards to the Coronavirus. Mr Speaker, if you go all over the Parliament building, you will see that there are no measures being taken in terms of safeguarding the health of Honourable Members and also the staff here at Parliament.
“There are no masks being given to staff and sanitizers being offered … I am just hoping that it can be addressed because for those who are following on the Coronavirus – it is spreading at an alarming rate. Now my fear is that it is not a matter of if but a matter of when and I think that it is already in Zimbabwe and in Parliament and if you notice how fast it is moving. I think that we will be affected quite severely here,” he said.
By speaking in the National Assembly, Tsvangirai has proved that he will be different from other legislators who are yet to speak in the National Assembly since being elected in July 2018.
Zimbabwe Parliament has had non-participating legislators who attend Parliament religiously but never contribute to any debate and their only participation comes through voting or clapping hands.
The situation was even worse in the 8th Parliament as there are some legislators who finished their entire 5-year terms without having their names recorded in the Hansardsand the only their names were recorded was in the attendance register.
Currently, most women legislators who came to Parliament through Proportional Representation have failed to make a meaningful contribution in the House with Honourable Esther Chikuni attributing it to lack of education and confidence.
Norton legislator Temba Mliswa has described the non-performing legislators as time and money waters who only come to Parliament to warm benches and get allowances.