"It's shameful that the UDF party wants to take us back to the dark days,"

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

search antimuluzi.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Raise level of debate in the House

By The Daily Times - 11 June 2008 - 09:23:40

Generally speaking, apart from bickering over issues of little or no
consequence for the welfare of the people they represent, our members
of Parliament are expected to bring better agenda to Parliament. All
they need is to do their homework, and work all the time.

Question time, for example, can aptly be described as time wasted in
the House. It is cluttered with requests which MPs could easily sort
out with better coordination and rapport with line ministries and
thereby spare parliamentary discussions for more pressing issues.

It is not uncommon, for example, to hear an MP asking a certain
ministry to provide them with a certain service or facility and then
the minister saying the issue being asked for could better be sought
from or handled at the MP’s respective district assembly. In some
cases, the MP is embarrassed to hear the services he or she is asking
for was already being provided or that good progress is being made on
the matter.

Some MPs ask questions in the House so that their constituents can hear
them doing something, however irrelevant. The result is that a lot of
time is wasted discussing trivialities.

The exchange of salvos in the House yesterday between the opposition
and the government side over what type of questions MPs ask is typical
of the problem we have in our Parliament. Some MPs ask questions just
to embarrass the government. These are issues we could spare our
Parliament of and use the precious time in the House—whose every
meeting costs the taxpayer a lot of money—to show how much we can do
for the good of this country.

Is it not ironical, for example, that some MPs fail to utilise the
Constituency Development Fund allocated to their constituencies simply
because they don’t spend much time with the people to hear their
problems and plan with them how to solve them? Is it not shameful that
the same MPs go to Parliament to ask a certain ministry to provide them
with boreholes?

Through the budget, MPs know and are expected to know, what projects
government has lined up for their respective areas in various sectors.
If there is unsatisfactory progress on some projects, the onus is on
each MP to follow up with the minister concerned. MPs do not have to
wait for Question Time in the Parliament to quiz a cabinet minister or
raise their concerns over a stalling project.

This also goes with all the Parliamentary Committees with oversight in
various sectors. Oftentimes, we see a committee at the end of a
financial year or two years down the line, taking a cabinet minister to
task over an undelivered promise. Why is it difficult to monitor
progress so that if there are inefficiencies, they can be promptly
sorted out?

On its part, government, through its line ministries, is expected to
give people what they deserve, timely and quality services and

We can say without fear of contradiction that government does not score
highly on responsiveness or speed when it comes to operationalising
issues. But many senior officers in the driving seat of many projects
will easily use government procedures, for example on procurement, as a
scapegoat for their own inefficiencies. This is unfortunate and is the
reason some donors will demand back their money after the period for
its allocation has expired

No comments: