MPs across the political divide have castigated ministers for their failure to take Parliamentary business seriously during question-and-answer sessions on Wednesdays.
They called upon the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Lovemore Moyo, to take stern measures against ministers who bunk sessions and pleaded with Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, to make sure ministers respond to questions posed by MPs.
The following is what MPs said about the issue.
Fidelis Mhashu – Chitungwiza North MP (MDC-T)
First of all it is not ethical and it is irresponsible for ministers to avoid question time, either by design or by omission because MPs would be having very important national issues that they would want responses to.
What we do in Parliament on Wednesdays is that we (MPs) raise very pertinent questions regarding national policy and if ministers are not present there is no way we can proceed and have those answered.
The Speaker of the House of Assembly must take stern measures by appealing to Cabinet to compel these ministers responsible to answer questions to attend because the whole House is concerned about this issue.
Dorothy Mhangami — Gokwe MP (Zanu PF)
We want to get answers on our questions from ministers and we plead with them to attend Parliament on Wednesdays so that our constituents get responses on many questions they send us (MPs) to ask on their behalf.
At one time during the liaison committee meeting, the leader of the House, Morgan Tsvangirai, promised to force ministers to attend and we are still waiting to see that happening.
Siyabonga Ncube — Insiza MP (MDC-N)
Ministers do not really take Parliament seriously. The fact that they double up as members of the Executive as well as legislators should be looked into.
I think ministers should be appointed from outside sitting MPs and that would ensure their being accountable to the electorate.
I have a question that has been on the Parliament Order Paper for over four months and it has remained unanswered.
Since it is evident that they are not serious, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Lovemore Moyo, and the leader of the House, Morgan Tsvangirai, should write a letter to Cabinet and ask that they should reprimand ministers that do not attend question-and-answer sessions.
As MPs we are sent to ask questions in Parliament by the electorate and we have to go back to give them feedback and we strongly feel that ministers are letting us down. We have now become fools in the eyes of the electorate.
Margaret Matienga — Sunningdale MP (MDC-T)
There should be a system or policy put in place to ensure ministers who bunk Parliament are punished.
We are elected by people into Parliament and when it is question-and-answer time, ministers know well that they should leave whatever they are doing and attend Parliament to answer questions from the electorate.
If a minister dodges answering questions for three consecutive times in Parliament, they should be punished. Why should we work with people who do not want to answer questions? I am personally unhappy about the issue and it is letting us down as a country. We need answers to our questions as early as possible.
Edward Musumbu — Norton MP (MDC-T)
I am not impressed by the behaviour of ministers because the questions that MPs pose to them are given in advance and it is unfair for our questions to go unanswered for months.
The leader of the House, PM Morgan Tsvangirai, must put mechanisms in place to ensure ministers attend question-and-answer sessions without failure.
This issue is derailing a lot of activities and if ministers cannot attend, at least they should ensure their deputies attend to facilitate response to questions.