BY VENERANDA LANGA
SPEAKER of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda has revealed that he has written to President Emmerson Mnangagwa twice, advising him of Cabinet ministers bunking question and answer sessions in Parliament.
Last week, a handful of ministers attended both the Senate and National Assembly question and answer sessions. As a result, most questions that were specific
to ministries ended up being responded to by leader of government business in Parliament, Ziyambi Ziyambi.
“I want to advise MPs in this House that I have written twice to His Excellency about non-attendance of ministers and I am told that the matter has been raised
in Cabinet where all ministers were advised to attend parliamentary business in terms of Section 107 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” Mudenda said.
“When I look around, I think we are all agreed, their absence today (last Wednesday) is appalling and pathetic,” he said, adding that it was high time truant
ministers were charged with contempt of Parliament.
Section 139 (d) of the Constitution allows for the questioning of ministers and deputy ministers by senators and MPs in the Senate and the National Assembly.
Section 107 (2) also compels every Vice-President, minister and deputy ministers to attend parliamentary committees and the House to answer questions from MPs.
“I have instructed the secretariat that those who have not tendered their apologies will have to be charged accordingly,” Mudenda said, adding that ministers
must prepare for the worst.
When the ministers were appointed soon after the removal of the late former President Robert Mugabe, they promised to hit the ground running and to behave
differently from ministers of the old era who were also known for truancy.
In the Senate last Thursday, Senate deputy president Michael Nyambuya also expressed displeasure over the continued truancy of ministers.
“I am sure you will join me in expressing our disappointment to the fact that other than Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs minister Monicah Mavhunga, no
other ministers turned up to attend this very important issue of questions without notice and questions with notice.
“It is most regrettable and I can assure you that we are going to bring this to the attention of the President. We obviously have some ministers who are on
duty elsewhere, but I am sure and convinced that there are other ministers somewhere out there who did not come for question and answer session,” Nyambuya
Later, a few ministers trickled in to take questions from senators.