Plans to introduce the Prime Minister’s Question Time in Parliament are at an advanced stage.
Eric Matinenga, the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, on Tuesday moved a motion in the House of Assembly that PM Morgan Tsvangirai, who is the leader of government business in Parliament, should regularly answer questions from Members of Parliament on government policy implementation and formulation.
Although the motion was stopped from being moved in the House by Zanu PF chief whip Joram Gumbo because he felt it was introduced in an unprocedural manner, Matinenga said the PM’s Question Time would take place for an hour every month in each of the two Houses of Parliament.
“In the course of carrying out his constitutional duty, the PM must obviously answer to the public and must answer to Parliament,” said Matinenga.
“He can only do so if he is afforded an opportunity to make himself available to this august House to answer questions which arise from the public through their elected representatives.”
Matinenga said the PM’s Question Time would be done in a manner that MPs channelled written questions to the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Lovemore Moyo, and the President of the Senate, Edna Madzongwe.
“The rationale is to try and manage the manner in which the PM must respond to these questions and give an element of confidentiality between these questions and the Office of the PM,” said Matinenga.
He said while that confidentiality would be ensured, the Office of the PM would be advised on what questions to research upon so that when he articulated government policy formulation and its implementation in Parliament, the PM would not do so from the dark.
Gumbo however refused to allow the motion to go through and said the PM’s Question Time would bring fundamental changes to the running of business in Parliament and asked the Speaker, Moyo, to refer the motion to the Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC) before it was brought to Parliament.
“I think the motion should be referred to the SROC because that is where it belongs since it will bring in fundamental changes to the proceedings of this House,” said Gumbo.