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Parliament No Longer Seat Of Democracy: Tsitsi Dangarembga

 …too much power on the executive

By Shingirai Vambe

THE opposition’s complicity to current structures and systems of the expected independence of the law making processes shows not much difference in comparison to decades before Parliament had a divergent voice.

The current legal infrastructure is the brain child of the COPAC constitution that placed too much power to the Presidency, The Post On Sunday reports.

The Parliament of Zimbabwe is one institution that citizens had hope in.

The political wars, as seen in 2017, when the former late President Robert Mugabe was to be impeached brought to the fore the current complicity.

Zimbabwe President, Emmerson Mnangagwa

Various independent bodies have since described the November 2017 incident as a ‘coup’.

Parliament indeed through the speaker, Jacob Francis Mudenda read the statement of impeachment of the octogenarian, both parties the ruling Zanu PF and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) celebrated the ouster of Mugabe.

The constitutional powers, failed to exist leading to the inauguration of the current President, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Following the unprecedented recalls and absurd rulings and statements by the speaker, legislators and citizens, award winning writer, Tsitsi Dangarembga told this publication that the institution was no longer a seat of democracy.

“I think Parliament is denatured, it is no longer a seat of democracy expressing the will of the people, but a body wielding increasingly totalitarian power in the name of Zanu PF,” Tsitsi said.

She added that it does not uphold democratic government in the name of the nation Zimbabwe in all its diversity, citing citizens being ignorant of what Parliament is, how it should function. It is not surprising that Parliament is easily manipulated by totalitarian State practice.

Majority of public hearings have had poor attendances with citizens failing to see any good results from the institution, and in most, cases blaming visiting legislators on State related issues.


Besides making laws, Parliament plays an oversight role, which citizens expect accounting officers to be held accountable to public funds and development of any given area, including the sitting President, and the opposite is true.

Media and political analyst, Alexander Rusero told The Post on Sunday that the Parliament of Zimbabwe is very effective, it’s only the oversight role that have some short comings.

“What we have in Zimbabwe is an imperial presidency that is answerable to nobody, the President is not answerable to Parliament, he is not answerable to the Court, in fact it is the Parliament that is answerable to him and it’s the Court that is Answerable to him,” said Rusero.

Zimbabwe President, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Chief Justice, Luke Malaba

“We have a crippled Parliament in as much as playing an oversight role is concerned. We have reached a certain position where Parliament business is more or less just like money game, one is elected only to get vehicles without meaningful direct dividend to the masses so to speak,” added Rusero

The recalls, the blame is not on any individual, it’s currently on the structure that we have in Zimbabwe which places the impetus on the political party and not necessarily the individual and this was created by the opposition, that of Magret Dongo, the Edgar Tekere scenario, It is the opposition that has always been on this part of recalling members.

What is the nature of our democracy in Zimbabwe, what is the kind of democracy we aspire to be?

“Our democracy is so much far detached from those aspirations where Parliament becomes as vibrant as the South African parliament is, the nature of our democracy it’s a quasar constitutional democracy, we still very much want to play by the book of the constitution in the manifestation of rule by law, we bent to the law when the law suites us, when it doesn’t we even also ignore it, Said Rusero.

We are not yet there, even respecting Parliament, the Courts and their functions, it’s the current legal infrastructure that too much power was placed to the executive, to the President.

“Dangaremba said citizens should expect legislators to be a robust voice presenting the people’s concerns, many of which arise from partisan state interests defying the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe which guarantees the enjoyment of good health, access to social goods, transport, education to mention just a few including joining and voting for a political party of choice.

What are Citizens perceptions on the law?

The Voters perceptions are not going to change. People are too dumbed down, immiserated, disempowered and frightened to dare think or do anything that can liberate them.

Picture by Shingirai Vambe, captured during the CCC rally in Mutare

“Abused people become used to the endless suffering they face, they end up thinking that is how life should be. It takes powerful forces to change the mindset of citizens who have become cemented in this kind of hopelessness, said Dangarembga.

Earlier Last week there was dram at Parliament over the yellow dressing by Citizens for Coalition Change, they bulldozed their way in and challenged the speaker with constitutional provisions and political precedence in the theater.