JUSTICE, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs deputy minister Fortune Chasi has urged Parliament to craft a code of conduct which would force Cabinet ministers to attend question-and-answer sessions.
Chasi said such a code of conduct would also deal with those ministers who have failed to respond to committee reports and motions tabled in the House.
He was responding to a question on Wednesday by MDC-T proportional representation legislator Bhudha Masara who wanted the ministry to clarify whether there were any sanctions in place to deal with truant ministers.
“In Zimbabwe, there is no specific law that sanctions ministers who fail to honour their Parliamentary obligations and I believe that it is high time we have one,” Chasi said.
“The Constitution does not state the sanctions to be imposed on those who fail to do so because it is the duty of the legislature to come up with such a law or to provide a Ministerial Code of Conduct which will be binding on all ministers and encourage them to conform to some standards,” he said.
Chasi said countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand had such legislation.
“In Zambia, they have what is called the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act, Chapter 16. In South Africa, they also have a ministerial code of conduct. Their codes of conduct clearly state that ministers must comply with codes of conduct for their respective Houses and they may be subjected to sanctions and penalties for failure to do so.”
He said one could be reprimanded, made to pay a fine not exceeding one month’s salary or priviledges of being an MP may be suspended for a period not exceeding 15 days.
Last week, Bulawayo South MP Edward Cross complained that the Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi and his deputy Ziyambi Ziyambi had taken long to answer his question regarding whether the ministry had since engaged the South African government to establish how the rights of millions of Zimbabwean residents in South Africa can be protected.