TWENTY-ONE questions on the Parliament’s Order Paper had to be deferred yesterday after several Cabinet ministers failed to turn up for the Question and Answer Session in the House of Assembly.
The move sparked an outcry from MDC-T MP’s who accused their Zanu PF counterparts of not taking Parliament business seriously.
When the session opened, only Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa was in attendance, prompting Glen View MP Fani Munengami to raise a point of order with the Speaker Jacob Mudenda expressing concern over the absence of ministers.
“Is it government policy that when MPs want to ask questions, there are no ministers to answer them in the House?” Munengami asked.
“Since I do not see any minister, then it means I have no option except to direct my questions to you Mr Speaker,” he said.
Chinamasa responded: “Frankly speaking, it is not a policy issue, but I will undertake to convey to my colleagues the imperative to attend Parliament.”
Chinamasa was later joined by Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, Agriculture minister Joseph Made and a few deputy ministers.
Before Mnangagwa, who is leader of government business in the House, had even settled down, Kuwadzana MP Nelson Chamisa took him to task to explain why his ministers were not turning up to take questions from MPs.
Chamisa said their absence was a sign that Zanu PF ministers were underperforming in Parliament.
But Mnangagwa said it was not the duty of MDC-T MPs to rate ministers.
“There are two levels at which ministers or MPs are assessed. The first is that he who appoints them determines their performance and the second is that the public is fully aware of their performance.
About how they rate us, when it comes to election time, people cast their votes in such a way that determines performance,” he said.