Editor's Comment

The onus is on MPs

PRESIDENT Lungu with government chief whip Richard Musukwa (right) and Kabwe Central member of Parliament Tutwa Ngulube (centre) after a meeting with parliamentarians at Parliament Building on Thursday. PICTURE: COLLINS PHIRI

MEMBERS of Parliament from the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) and independents

were in unison in voting unanimously for Government’s decision to invoke Article 31 of the republican Constitution and the subsequent proclamation of a threatened state of emergency.
They also freely attended the meeting with President Lungu on Thursday at Parliament Buildings on Thursday.
Their interaction with President Lungu did not in any way take away their role as members of the opposition to hold the ruling Patriotic Front administration accountable.
What the independent legislators as well as those from FDD and MMD demonstrated is that being in opposition is not just about opposing Government.
There have to be moments when the MPs have to agree with Government.
That is what the independents, FDD and MMD parliamentarians did by rising above partisan politics by endorsing Government’s decision to invoke Article 31 of the republican Constitution and proclaiming the threatened state of emergency.
Because Government meant well by proposing to invoke Article 31, the idea received wide support from parliamentarians across the political divide.
It is commendable that the independent, FDD and MMD legislators have chosen to work with Government.
It should not be surprising that legislators, irrespective of their political affiliation, should work with Government because Parliament is one of the three wings of Government.
Parliament is the Legislature and should collaborate with the Judiciary, which interprets and implements the laws it makes, while the President is the head of the Executive.
When Government comes up with developmental plans, it takes them to Parliament for scrutiny before they are implemented.
This is one of Parliament’s oversight roles as it decides where resources should be channelled in the development matrix.
All constituencies, especially those in rural areas, are keen to benefit from the national cake no matter how small it may be and it is the responsibility of MPs to advocate development of their areas.
In fact, under the PF’s decentralisation programme, development will be a bottom-up approach because wards, through their development committees, will identify areas in urgent need of redress.
The ward development committees will then forward the developmental needs to constituencies for onward submission to Government.
Projects that can be dealt with at parliamentary level will be funded from ward development funds and constituency development funds to which MPs restored themselves to oversee.
Capital projects will be funded by central Government. That is where MPs come in to lobby for financial support.
However, MPs can only lobby effectively for financial support from Government when they interact appropriately to present their respective cases.
MPs, especially those from the opposition, should take advantage of President Lungu’s open-door policy to work with him and his representatives, the Cabinet ministers.
During this parliamentary recess, MPs will be monitoring developmental projects in their constituencies and checking with Government ministries responsible for their implementation.
Failing to work with Government is tantamount to depriving their constituents of the much needed development.

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