CCC legislators caught napping on PVOs Bill
THE absenteeism of opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) legislators in Parliament has come under the spotlight after the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) Amendment Bill passed the second reading without any objections.
The development comes at a time when the country is at risk of losing millions of dollars in donor funding at a time nearly half of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance.
It has emerged that when the PVOs Amendment Bill second reading began in the National Assembly, only Prosper Mutseyami, MP for Dangamvura Chikanga and Judith Tobaiwa, legislator for Kwekwe Central, were physically present in the house from the CCC party.
The remaining 17 legislators who are said to have attended a bail hearing in solidarity with incarcerated Zengeza West MP Job Sikhala on the day in question supposedly joined the proceedings via Parliament’s relatively unreliable virtual platform.
Later that evening, there was a public outcry on Twitter over how CCC legislators had been ambushed by Zanu PF MPs whom they accused of fast-tracking the second reading of the Bill in the National Assembly.
However, to the surprise of the public, the second reading of the PVOs Bill was placed fifth on Parliament’s order paper which all lawmakers have access to.
When asked why opposition members from his party failed to physically attend the parliamentary session in which the PVOs Bill was set to be read for the second time, CCC chief whip Prosper Mutseyami said: “We were not aware that the Bill was going to be read for the second time on Tuesday, hence most of our members attended Honourable Job Sikhala’s bail hearing.’’
In relation to the order paper, Mutseyami said: “Our party’s legislators did not receive the regular email that we usually receive with the order paper. Maybe it was due to network glitches at Parliament.”
“Apart from that, the meetings in which chief whips sit down and determine Parliament’s business haven’t been done ever since I came back to Parliament and was appointed as CCC’s chief whip, so we were caught off-guard.”
Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda dismissed Mutseyami’s claim, insisting that the order paper for the day in question was sent to legislators and also uploaded to Parliament’s website on time.
“The order paper is sent to honourable members’ inboxes and is on the Parliament of Zimbabwe’s website a night before any session, so if there is a member of Parliament who is saying they are not receiving it, I don’t know what their problem is. They know the proper channel if they have any difficulties,” Chokuda said.