FAILURE by President Robert Mugabe to appear before Parliament to give a state of the nation address for several years now was yesterday questioned by Harare West MP Jessie Majome (MDC-T) in the National Assembly.
by VENERANDA LANGA
Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa was asked to explain to the House reasons why Mugabe had not for several years adhered to the constitutional provision (Section 140) which stipulated that the president must address a joint sitting of the Houses to give a state of the nation address.
“We have not had such processes for several years now,” Majome said.
Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda quickly interjected in Mugabe’s defence, saying the Constitution did not say the president “must”, but said “may” attend.
Mnangagwa said he was already in discussions with Mugabe over the issue.
“In actual fact, as Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs responsible for Parliament, I am in discussion with His Excellency to find a particular time when he would come to Parliament to make an address,” he said.
Mnangagwa added: “Section 140 reads the President may at any time address either Houses of Parliament or joint sittings of both Houses at least once a year. The president must address Parliament at the state of the nation, and the Speaker or president of the Senate must make necessary arrangements.”
The VP said he had already taken measures to look for a suitable date which both Mudenda and Senate president Edna Madzongwe would concur to.
During yesterday’s question-and-answer session, MPs who have little competence in the English language sent the House in stitches as they were forced to ask their questions in the Queen’s language (broken English) due to breakdown of translation equipment.
MPs like Kwekwe Central MP Masango Matambanadzo and Buhera South MP Joseph Chinotimba, who despite being subject of a butt of jokes because of their perceived poor English, went on to ask their questions confidently.
MDC-T legislators Nelson Chamisa and Glen View North MP Fani Munengami both raised points of order with Mudenda over the broken down equipment
They said it was unfair that the equipment had not been repaired for long, forcing some MPs to remain mum during debates.
Mudenda said spare parts for the machines were not available in the country.