MDC defends Vic Falls excursion

Published: 07 November 2019
THE opposition MDC has defended its MPs who recently attended a government organised pre-budget seminar in Victoria Falls, where an estimated US$5 million was blown in less than a week.

Amid a backlash from its supporters, who argued the MDC had displayed hunger to live lavishly at a time ordinary Zimbabweans were struggling to make ends meet, party's chief chip Prosper Mutseyami argued Parliament and the Executive were different.

"It is in line with that mandate that we went to Victoria Falls to articulate the position of the people at a forum that was due to take place anyway, even if we had chosen not to go.

"Zimbabweans who voted for us wanted their views to be heard at that forum and as the MDC parliamentary caucus, we are the servants of the people and at the pre-budget seminar, and we raised key issues affecting the ordinary people," Mutseyami said in a statement.

"We raised to government the crisis in the health services sector and the legitimate concerns of the doctors and other medical staff, which concerns must be resolved as a matter of urgency."

Mutseyami said the MDC wanted to defend the will of the people.

"We raised the issues of fuel shortages, the low morale among teachers and other civil servants, the soaring cost of electricity on the few occasions that it is available as well as the proscription of the people's democratic rights," he said.

The opposition MPs, according to Mutseyami, also raised issues around human rights abuses that he argued government's re-engagement efforts would be greatly enhanced if they stopped.

Mutseyami said the MDC has used Parliament as a platform to highlight President Emmerson Mnangagwa's illegitimacy.

"We have stood tall on the side of the people who want us at every step to raise the issue of Mnangagwa's illegitimacy, which has cost us our allowances for several months, putting paid to the false narrative that we are lured by cheap trinkets and luxury.

"In the past one year, we have turned Parliament into a cogent arena of the people's struggle. That is why we have effectively used that platform to showcase Mnangagwa's illegitimacy, especially after the closure of other democratic spaces for the people to express themselves," he said.

The MDC parliamentarians have walked out on Mnangagwa twice since last year's general elections, the latest which forced Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, to deduct several months' allowances due to them.

"This is exactly what we went to do in Victoria Falls. We are the people's representatives. We do not shy away from any platform to articulate their concerns. We will never abdicate our key national mandate of playing the oversight role on the executive," Mutseyami said.
- newsday
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