ZANU PF legislators yesterday sang praises of President Robert Mugabe in the National Assembly for his address last week in Parliament, saying he proved he was really a pan-African leader.

This was despite the fact that Mugabe last Tuesday erroneously delivered a wrong speech which was later replaced with the correct one the following day by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The praises were showered on Mugabe during debate of a motion on the Presidential speech which was moved by Buhera North MP William Mutomba, and seconded by Zanu PF Proportional Representation MP Melody Dziva.

Not to be outdone in the praise-singing was Chegutu East MP Webster Shamu who went on to applaud First Lady Grace Mugabe saying her attendance during the official opening of Parliament gave a lot of dignity to Parliament.
Shamu was ousted from his powerful posts in Zanu PF and government after the First Lady began purges on former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s perceived sympathisers. He was one of the former powerful Zanu PF bigwigs that were publicly humiliated by Grace.

“I would like to appreciate the First Lady Grace for gracing the occasion and say it brought dignity to the occasion,” Shamu said.

Mutomba described Mugabe as a visionary pan-African leader and said MPs should complement his efforts by ensuring they minimise heckling whenever Bills are brought for crafting before Parliament.

“I am happy that 14 out of the 21 Bills announced by the President have to do with creating an investor-friendly environment. There is need for a paradigm shift in the manner we do business in this House. The culture of heckling and bickering has reached unacceptable levels in this House.

“Heckling disturbs the flow of debate and some MPs make life difficult for the Speaker Jacob Mudenda who sometimes is found sweating to bring sanity to the House,” he said.

Dziva praised the speech, but said there was need to ensure college students were supported, and that corruption was combated.
“The announcement of declaration of assets by public officials is welcome to make sure the Executive is accountable because corruption is happening at the highest levels. It is also important for MPs to declare their assets so that taxpayers’ money is not abused,” Dziva said.

But, opposition MPs lambasted Mugabe’s statement saying it failed to deliver a message of real change to poverty-stricken people of Zimbabwe.

Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Thokozani Khupe said: “For me the President’s speech failed to deliver on issues affecting the people who are hungry and live in abject poverty. Looking at the speech, I do not see where it is dealing with real change for the people.

“We need a paradigm shift in dealing with corruption, and issues of transparency and accountability must start from the highest offices. We see small fish being arrested. The big fish must be arrested if we are to deal with the cancer of corruption.”
Khupe said Mugabe failed to deal with the issue of unemployment, and had created 2,2 million vendors instead of 2,2 million jobs as envisaged in ZimAsset.

Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC) said Mugabe failed to deal with issues of regional marginalisation in his speech.

Harare West MP Jessie Majome said Mugabe failed to introduce pertinent Bills such as the National Peace and Reconciliation Bill, Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Amendment Bill, Constituency Development Fund Bill, Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill and others.

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