MPs from the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs on Tuesday refused to hear oral evidence from officials in the Ministry of Regional Integration and International Cooperation after they failed to submit their report to the committee in advance.
The delegation was dismissed after Hwange Central MP, Brian Tshuma, who is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, raised a point of order and said the officials from the Ministry of Regional Integration and International Cooperation had handed their report three minutes before they were to appear before the committee, depriving MPs of time to ponder over contents of the report.
The ministry officials had been summoned before the committee to present a review of the 2011 quarter Budget.
“I propose that we send them away because they failed to submit their report in advance and there is no way we can sit down with them and ask intelligent questions for clarification because they handed their report just three minutes ago,” said Tshuma.
“It shows that they are not serious and should go back so that we call them back for the hearing when we (MPs) have studied the report.”
The legislators said they were now tired of being forced to rubber-stamp reports and quizzing government officials over reports they had not studied.
Zengeza West MP Collen Gwiyo said there was no explanation for failure of ministry officials to submit their report to the committee timeously as they had been given two weeks to do so.
“What we are raising here is a procedural issue because we gave you adequate time to prepare the document that we were supposed to discuss with you today,” said Gwiyo.
But, the government officials told the committee they never thought it was going to be a complicated issue.
“We thought we were simply going to have a discussion and interface with the committee,” said one of the ministry officials.
Recently, lawmakers in the House of Assembly tried to block the ratification of the $98 million loan between the government of Zimbabwe and the Export-Import Bank of China for construction of the National Defence College on grounds Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, had not given them time to study the terms of the loan before bringing it to Parliament for ratification.