OPPOSITION MPs yesterday challenged President Emmerson Mnangagwa to prove that he was different from his predecessor, Robert Mugabe, who allowed his Cabinet ministers to bunk parliamentary sessions with impunity.
by VENERANDA LANGA
The legislators raised the issue after all ministers failed to make it on time for the National Assembly’s question-and-answer session.
Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda told MPs that the ministers had excused themselves saying they were attending a Cabinet briefing following Mnangagwa’s return from a two-day State visit to Botswana.
MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese demanded that Mnangagwa should release his ministers early to ensure they attended Parliament as required by section 107 of the Constitution.
Sections 26 and 63 of the Parliament Standing Rules and Orders also stipulates that if ministers bunk Parliament, they can be charged with contempt.
”It was imperative for President Mnangagwa to plan his diary to ensure Cabinet ends on time so that ministers attend Parliament because the people of Zimbabwe expect that on Wednesdays their matters of concern are raised in Parliament,“ Gonese said.
“It appears it is the same like what used to happen under the old dispensation of Mugabe, and it looks like old habits die hard.”
Minister later trickled in to take questions from MPs.
In an unrelated matter, MPs demanded that Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa must issue a ministerial statement on cash shortages. MPs said they wanted an explanation as to why Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya had not yet resigned after promising to do so if bond notes failed to address the liquidity crunch being experienced in the market.
Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said the question should be put in writing and referred to Chinamasa.
Buhera West MP Oliver Mandipaka (Zanu PF) also asked Ziyambi to explain if the new Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga had introduced a new policy to rebrand the force and remove the negative perception associated with it.
Ziyambi said it was part of Matanga’s mandate to ensure the force has integrity.