Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, the former cabinet minister and Matebeleland Proportional Representation Member of Parliament, says MPs are guilty of addressing wrong things in Parliament while the victims of poverty and the deteriorating economic conditions in the country have nobody to speak for them.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, a law student at the University of Zimbabwe, is currently on attachment at the Civil Court in Harare where she said she has been shocked to encounter extreme poverty that MPs who claim to represent people were not aware of.
“I am really shocked at some of the things that we take for granted,” she said. “If you are in Parliament and you haven’t come here, you will not appreciate what is happening in people’s lives and understanding the real problems that people are facing,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga explained.
“Issues to do with the elderly, how they are actually being beaten up by children because of frustration around the issues of poverty and economic deterioration, and particularly issues to do with maintenance and domestic violence.” The human rights activist said: “I have been an activist myself and I am shocked that I had no idea that this is what women go through and I will push a lot in Parliament.”
She also feels guilty that MPs have been pushing for wrong things in Parliament. “It has been the shock and the guilt about how we spend so much time in Parliament doing things that may not necessarily affect the generality of people,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.
The trained journalist also advised MPs to do more to appreciate the people’s struggles and stop “visiting offices claiming to be touring such institutions” to appreciate challenges.
“Even the things we do as MPs, for example, we visit courts and offices and think that we have appreciated people’s problems. It is not enough, you have to sit whole day to appreciate what people go through.”