By Daniel Chigundu
SPEAKER of National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda has urged reporters to analyse Parliamentary bills, motions and debates to see if they make sense.
Addressing delegates, Speaker Mudenda who was guest of honour at the official launch of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum (ZPJF) said he expects the media to do more in its watchdog role over Parliament.
“I want the forum (ZPJF) to focus on legislative process, when MPs are debating a bill listen carefully, are their debates contributing to qualitative legislative processes or not, if not you must proffer possibilities because the moment you do so you are influencing the general public to think beyond what the MP is contributing and this comes clearly during the second reading.
“I have been disappointed not to read a qualitative analysis of the policy behind a Bill as espoused by the line minister who will be putting across the Bill in parly. You have to analyse these policies, is this minister making sense from what the minister is saying will it propel the proposed law to make sense and improve the life of people in Zimbabwe, but very little analysis has come from you.
“Soon after the minister has done his/her reading the chairperson of the relevant committee stands up to give the committee report on what the people have said, again I would like to see critical analysis of what is coming out of the chairman’s report. I am imploring you that this must change, so I am looking forward to an evaluative reporting approach of the committee reports, because if you don’t do so, we stall stagnant in parly in parly, but if you give us your evaluative analysis we shall take them serious and try to improve on what you have seen and are recommending,” Advocate Mudenda said.
The Speaker added that it is the role of the media to identify and highlight gaps in policies and bring them to the fore to be addressed by relevant authorities.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of Parliament has urged ZPJF to ensure it is sustainable and that it must live beyond the current members.
Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum is an association of journalists who cover Parliament activities and those of its partners.
The major objective of the association is give journalists capacity to report effectively and learn various processes of Parliament focusing on its legislative and oversight roles.
ZPJF launch was made possible with support from the Southern Africa Parliamentary Support Trust (SAPST) and was graced by officials from Women in Politics Support Unit, Elections Resource Centre and Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association among others