9th Parliamentparliamentyouth

What young Zimbabweans think of their MPs

By Tanyaradzwa Timbatimba

Youths who are touted as the leaders of tomorrow and constituted a significant number on the voters roll in the 2018 general elections have expressed disappointment in the way legislators have performed.

The youths say they had hoped that the legislators would focus on social issues affecting communities such as access to water, healthcare and even employment creation but one year after they took the oath of office, the situation on the ground has remained largely the same and worsened in some cases.

Most legislators in the National Assembly have underperformed with some still to deliver their maiden speeches.

So gross is the underperformance that most of them even failed to make contributions during the 2019 budget debates as well as the supplementary budget a few weeks ago.

Zimbabwe has about 350 legislators who each get ZW$2000 in monthly salaries plus ZW$75 in sitting allowances for every day they sit on Parliament business.

The legislators also get loans for vehicles, fuel coupons and are booked into hotels especially those from out of Harare when they come for Parliament business.

With the First Session of the 9th Parliament of Zimbabwe coming to an end at the end of this month (September) and Second Session starting on the 1st of October, OpenParlyZW conducted a few interviews to hear youths say about the performance of their legislators.

“These people are liars, they lie every time and everywhere even if you look at St Mary’s Maternity Clinic it has no fence and you wonder what they are doing with Constituency Development Fund (CDF),” said 23-year-old Kimberly Mazonde from St Mary’s.

According to Bright Chakacha from Chitungwiza South, they last saw their legislator Maxwell Mavhunga during the election campaigns period adding that he is yet to do feedback meetings in his constituencies.

Another youth from St. Mary’s said their legislator (Dickson Tarusenga) is not helpful in both the constituency and in Parliament in terms of performance and visibility.

“I don’t know how this man managed to win the election; he is weak and an underperformer. During the last Parliament he only spoke once in the House but we would have told him of our challenges.

“I don’t know how he thinks these challenges will be solved when he doesn’t highlight them in Parliament,” she said.

However, some youths like Kudzayi from Redcliff are happy with what their legislators have done so far adding that Honourable Lloyd Mukapiko has been very resourceful by drilling boreholes which have gone a long way in addressing water challenges in the constituency.

Kudakwashe from Dangamvura heaped praises on his legislator Prosper Mutseyami whom he claims responsive to people’s issues and also is also active in Parliament.

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is a male journalist in Zimbabwe and has been practising since September 2009. He used to the editor for The Business Connect (newspaper) in Harare, has his own news website Tourism Focus which is biased towards the tourism sector. Daniel is also working with Magamba Network on their project called Open Parliament where they do live coverage of Parliamentary activities on Twitter and Facebook. He is currently the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum, is a member of Zimbabwe Small Broadcasters Association and a board member of Digital Communication Network. He holds a Diploma in Communication and Journalism from the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA), a certificate in Youth leadership training from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a certificate in Citizen Journalism from Magamba Network and is currently a first-year student at Zimbabwe Open University studying for a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Ethics and Organisational Leadership.

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