SADC parly clerks get counsel
Livingstone, July 28, 2014 ZANIS—–Southern Province Minister Daniel Munkombwe has called on Clerks of Parliaments in the SADC region and beyond to be impartial when carrying out their duties if their relevance is to be sustained.
Mr. Munkombwe said governments based on political parties could come and go at anytime but Clerks and senior parliamentary staff were expected to remain as permanent civil servants of the legislature, based on their professionalism.
“How can senior clerks handle themselves in a multi-party system? If they lean towards the party in power completely, then they are biased. Should they lean on the opposition? That is even worse. So they must find a balance by being impartial,” he said.
He advised Clerks of Parliaments against yielding themselves completely to politicians in power as that would put them in an ‘offside’ position.
“Stick to parliamentary procedures and standing orders that guide politicians,” he said.
Mr. Munkombwe said this today at the opening of the 15th Zambia/ Zimbabwe Senior Parliamentary Staff Seminar at Zambezi Sun Hotel in Livingstone.
The seminar was held under the theme, “Parliament and the public: Mechanisms for Effective Relationships”.
He urged Clerks of Parliaments at the gathering to reduce politicians to the level of conformity in the event that they made promises that were unattainable.
Mr. Munkombwe also appealed to the representatives present to continue strengthening parliamentary systems in their respective countries.
“Continue strengthening parliamentary systems in your respective countries. No parliamentary system is perfect provided it was made by a human being, but you must continue exploring margins of what constitutes a better system,” he said.
Earlier, Clerk of the National Assembly, Doris Mwinga said the strength of the legislature was anchored upon the quality of its parliamentary workforce.
Mrs. Mwinga said the seminar was a bi-annual event convened to exchange ideas and share best practices in management and administration of parliamentary affairs.
And in moving a vote of thanks, the Clerk of Parliament for Zimbabwe Austin Zvoma said it was imperative for senior parliamentary staff to exhibit mastery in their jobs if they were to justify their role as consistent service providers.
“Indeed we should be impartial, objective and professional so that we can still deserve respect and credibility,” he said.
The seminar is taking place from the 27th to 30th of July, 2014 and has attracted representatives from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Botswana, Lesotho, Uganda, Malawi and South Africa.