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Truant ministers cripple Parly

by Staff reporter
13 Nov 2021 at 05:53hrs | Views
CABINET ministers have continued dodging the parliamentary question time in both the National Assembly and Senate, thereby doing a heavy blow to Parliament's key oversight function.

The Q and A session involve members of both houses asking pertinent questions of national interest to cabinet ministers and is separated between impromptu question time and written questions with notices.

The National Assembly holds its question time on Wednesdays while the Senate holds its own on Thursdays.

However, ministers have been skirting questions from MPs and Senators, prompting the members to push for the session's adjournment or its complete cancellation from parliament's calendar.

"This is quite pathetic and very unfortunate for the people of Zimbabwe. This is one of the serious abuses which the senate can endure. A few days ago, they could just absent themselves without giving any reason," MDC T senator Morgen Komichi said last Thursday when just four ministers turned up.

"After the Senate had made a vehement complaint against their behaviour, they have now found a solution and the solution is to simply send an apology. Can these ministers give apologies on Tuesday when there is cabinet, the answer is no because it is planned from the schedule of the year that every Tuesday they go to cabinet," he said.

"This means a lot as far as the value and importance of Senate is concerned. This means a lot when we look at ourselves and say why are we here, what are we doing yet the people outside there, the taxpayers and ordinary people expect us to oversee Government activities but here today we have only four ministers. This is quite unfortunate and we have complained for a long time about this behaviour," he added.

The situation was no different in the lower House the previous day when Norton legislator Temba Mliswa rose on a point of order to have the Q and A session adjourned until cabinet ministers showed.

He was supported by other opposition MPs who included MDC-T Tokhozani Khupe and Anele Ndebele. Again, the same four ministers had turned up.

None of the cabinet ministers pitched up until after complaints had been raised by MPs, forcing deputy speaker Tsitsi Gezi to call them on their cell phones.

Those who came later included Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, Industry and Commerce minister Sekai Nzenza, Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe and Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, who is also leader of government business in Parliament.

Among those who gave apologies included VP Constantino Chiwenga who is also Health minister, Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Amon Murwira, and Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri -Kashiri.

"We are 10 minutes into the Q and A session, but cabinet ministers are not here. The leader of government business is not here. Can we adjourn and get the ministers here? This is beyond the Chief whip's (Zanu-PF; Pupurai Togarepi) jurisdiction. We cannot hide this anymore. Mudhara (President Emmerson Mnangagwa) ari kuparara nazvo izvi. Hazvichaita (The President is losing ground due to this behavior by his ministers)," Mliswa said.

Whilst MDC-T Senator Femai called for complete cancellation of the Q and A, Mliswa promised to raise a motion in the national assembly this coming Tuesday on the absenteeism of cabinet ministers.

"This is a futile exercise for the few cabinet ministers who are here. I believe that there might be a need for the cancellation of the Question-and-Answer segment so that we demonstrate our seriousness," Femai told Senate President Mabel Chinomona.

Chinomona responded by saying: "I feel the Senate is getting a raw deal from what is supposed to be a constitutional obligation. We will take it up with the relevant authorities. "

Source - NewZimbabwe
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