NEW Cabinet ministers went through a baptism of fire in Parliament yesterday as MPs demanded them to respond to questions pertaining to their ministries.
BY Veneranda Langa
Binga North MP Prince Dubeko Sibanda (MDC-T) nearly disrupted Parliament business when he spoke in Tonga as he addressed new Justice minister Happy ton Bonyongwe referring to him as director-general of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
This immediately raised the ire of Zanu PF legislators who accused Sibanda of being disrespectful, but the Binga legislator refused to withdraw his statement.
Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa later intervened and quelled the tempers.
“The composition of this House does not have a director of CIO, and therefore we cannot ask questions on individual officers of the State who are not members of this House,” Mnangagwa said.
“If there is a particular question then the MP can put it in writing and it will be referred to the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC),” he said.
Norton MP Temba Mliswa then asked Bonyongwe to explain what his ministry would do about the recommendations by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission that the Zimbabwe Republic Police officers must undergo training before the 2018 elections.
Bonyongwe ordered that the question be directed to Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu who declined to respond saying he was still undergoing induction.
This angered Mliswa who retorted: “He has come here to respond to questions and Cabinet can be reshuffled again before he completes the induction.”
In an unrelated matter, Buhera West MP Joseph Chinotimba gave Industry minister Mike Bimha a torrid time demanding clarity on price hikes on basic commodities.
“Minister, we need a comprehensive answer, otherwise people will say the Zanu PF government has destroyed the country,” Chinotimba said as he received an applause from opposition MPs.
Bimha said an inter-ministerial taskforce had been set up to look into the issue of price hikes.