The Research and Advocacy Unit (Rau) findings that some Zanu PF ministers, notorious for bunking parliamentary business continue to be appointed into Cabinet makes sad reading.
This is because Parliament is a key arm of government that links the country’s political leadership, precisely the people’s representatives with the citizenry.
The local think tank fingered Zanu PF “bigwigs” like Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Obert Mpofu, Local Government Ignatius Chombo, Economic Empowerment minister and Public Service minister Nicholas Goche among others.
Sadly, some of them have held Cabinet positions since 1980 or have been ministers for more than three consecutive terms now, having been recycled over and over again to the same or different government portfolios.
We are baffled by President Robert Mugabe’s stance towards the people by continuing to appoint non-performers to Cabinet or those people that continue to show contempt of the people they represent. This clearly shows that Mugabe rewards loyalty at the expense of performance.
It is also sad to note that the ministers despite holding key portfolios did not take Parliament business seriously and either dodged or did not turn up during question and answer sessions in both Houses of Parliament.
Given the challenges this country is facing, it is imperative that ministers and Members of Parliament alike take parliamentary business seriously after all it is the third arm of the State after the judiciary and the executive.
The voters that elected them into office expect much better from them given that Parliament is the defined avenue through which they can have their concerns addressed.
Hence the failure to attend these sessions deprive the electorate of their representation and the Cabinet ministers themselves would be failing to discharge their duties as demanded by the constitution.
As the Zanu PF government begins its five-year term following its July 31 polls victory, ordinary citizens expect full participation by those tasked with taking the country forward.
Five years is a longtime for ministers to waste by playing mindless and childish games in the August House.
We urge Mugabe to take decisive action against those found wanting as failure to do so will soil his legacy as a leader who never had the interests of people at heart, but that of his cronies.
These ministers should know better given their long stay in Parliament that the question and answer sessions are an important part as a process through which it holds the Executive accountable for its actions.
In fact, we believe as part of the rules of Parliament ministers who fail to attend sessions without reasonable grounds to do so should be found in contempt of Parliament and punished.
This is simple disrespect of the nation as the MPs would be asking questions on behalf of people in their constituencies.