LEGISLATORS this week blasted government for adjourning parliament to January 28, saying the decision not only undermines its oversight role, but also prevents them from making any input into the 2014 budget.
Zanu PF legislators, who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent on condition of anonymity, said the adjournment will reduce parliament to merely rubberstamping Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa’s budget statement, which is expected next Thursday.
The country’s bloated parliament had to adjourn to next year amid claims from MPs that the legislature is desperately trying to cut unsustainable expenditure by reducing sittings.
“There will not be any of the consultations or debate around the issue. Chinamasa will present and all of us will be whipped into line by the party’s chief whip,” said a Zanu PF legislator.
The MPs also queried why out of the three arms of government only the legislature has almost been shut down due to cash-flow problems while the executive and judiciary continue to discharge their mandate.
“Parliament is shutting down, but the executive and judiciary continue to operate as normal,” said Mbizo legislator Settlement Chikwinya (MDC-T).
“It is clear they are sacrificing parliament and with that the democratic process as parliament is the conduit for the expression of ordinary people’s views.
“It (the budget) cannot be expected to fully articulate the people’s concerns because there have not been any public consultations on the matter.”
The Finance ministry has cleared the uncertainty surrounding the exact date when the budget will be presented amid indications that there was no money to fund government programmes including the recently adopted Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset) economic blueprint.
Finance ministry permanent secretary Willard Manungo announced on Tuesday in an advert in the media that the budget will be presented on December 19.
This will not be the first time that Chinamasa presents a delayed budget as he also did so in January 2009 when he was acting Finance minister.