Nyanga South MP Willard Chimbetete has urged government to consider cutting salaries and allowances for Cabinet ministers who bunk Parliament’s weekly question-and-answer sessions as a way of forcing them to attend.
Chimbembete made the call on Wednesday during the House of Assembly’s question-and-answer session which was attended by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
“This Parliament is in trouble because ministers do not attend question-and-answer sessions on Wednesdays,” said Chimbetete. “I plead with the PM to take drastic measures against those ministers and we need a register of their attendance every Wednesday, and if they continue to bunk Parliament, their allowances and salaries should be deducted,” he said.
Tsvangirai said even Cabinet was worried about the failure of ministers to attend Parliament, but said of late there had been a marked improvement in their attendance.
“In fact, at every Cabinet meeting on Tuesdays we table all questions on the Parliament Order Paper and question why they had not been accounted for to ensure various ministers are accountable. I will also ensure I attend Parliament every Wednesday to make sure that MPs get answers to their questions,” Tsvangirai said.
Tsvangirai said he was going to do his best to encourage ministers to answer questions and focus on issues to do with Parliament.
MPs have of late complained of the absence of ministers during question-and-answer sessions, resulting in most questions in the House of Assembly Order Paper going unanswered for periods stretching to four months.