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Mudenda blames MPs, CSOs as 1 person attends Insurance Bill public hearings in Mutare

Mudenda blames MPs, CSOs as 1 person attends Insurance Bill public hearings in Mutare

Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda has blamed legislators and civic society organisations (CSOs) in Mutare for failing to mobilise people to attend the Insurance and Pensions Commission Amendment Bill public hearings.

Section 141 of the Constitution requires Parliament to engage the general members of the public in its legislative processes and consult them on any Bills that will be before it.

However, according to the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development report, only one (1) person attended the meeting in Mutare.

The other two meetings were also poorly attended with Bulawayo managing only 17, while Harare had 7.

The total number of attendances for the three meetings is 25 people despite the many resources used by Parliament in transporting the committee, food, allowances, and accommodation.

Commenting on a request from Norton legislator Temba Mliswa who had requested that public hearings be done for the second time, Mudenda said legislators and CSOs are to blame for not mobilising people.

He said legislators are obligated to ensure people in the constituencies attend the meeting in line with their representative role.

Mudenda said he was surprised by the Mutare attendance considering that there are both constituency and proportional representation legislators there and yet no one attended the meeting.

Below is the full text of what Honourable Mudenda said

HON. JACOB MUDENDA: Thank you Honourable Temba Mliswa.  You have made a request for re-engagement with the public.  Now, advertisements were made in all our media papers, social media was used to which Members of Parliament here present and those outside were privy and are privy to the website, the Parliamentary website to the group platform and every Member, whether you have a constituency or no constituency, you are obligated to ensure that the public attends. That is your representative role and your constitutional representative role.

In this case, is it not Mutare where only one person attended? Mutare – where were the Members of Parliament from Mutare?  PR members, where were they?  So, Members of Parliament, in their representative role should encourage civil society organisations, those people in the pensions sector, people that pay pensions, mobilise them to attend; that is your representative role, but you did not do this.

So, there are so many channels in which the advertisement was done to invite the public to contribute, and civil society organisations are very prone to disparaging the Government when it comes to law-making process, they are not there.  We cannot drag them by the nerves and say come and contribute.  Veritas is an exception because they publicise the times, venues, and dates very eloquently and they even go as far as telling the public that they are attending. They should desist from wearing regalia, they should observe the health protocol, and so on; Veritas does that apart from the efforts of Parliament itself.  Justice Gubbay says the law cannot protect the lackadaisical; you have to accept the law as it is. If you wake up tomorrow and you find out the issues about the law, then you can petition Parliament in terms of Section 149 and make your suggestions and the law will be amended accordingly if need be.

Mudenda blames MPs, CSOs as 1 person attends Insurance Bill public hearings in Mutare

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