President lashes out at ‘lazy’ ministers

BY VENERANDA LANGA

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has railed against ministers who should be bringing Bills before Parliament for crafting, but have not been industrious enough.

This was after only nine Bills out of the 29 that he announced will be crafted during the First Session of the Ninth Parliament were enacted.

“The law must be a universal instrument of development and, as such, the slow pace in this august House, which has resulted in a low number of Bills passing through Parliament, cannot be allowed to continue,” Mnangagwa said in his State of the Nation Address on Tuesday.

“I thus challenge MPs in their individual and collective capacities to play their part in speeding up our parliamentary processes. Equally, reports of mismanagement of public finances as exposed by the office of the Auditor-General (AG) and brought before this Parliament, must never be condoned.”

While MPs, during the First Session of the Ninth Parliament, failed to impress in terms of introducing motions that clocked several months on the Order Paper without being debated, their conduct at Parliamentary Portfolio Committees was very impressive and robust.

For example, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was very industrious in terms of exposing graft as detailed by the AG Mildred Chiri’s audit reports of 2016 to 2018.

Different committees of Parliament have also made recommendations that have seen alleged corrupt individuals now facing the music, or leaving their posts.

For instance, the PAC, led by Tendai Biti, recommended that Accountant-General in the Finance ministry Daniel Muchemwa be fired for doing transactions that were outside the Public Finance Management Act, which included unauthorised allocations to the Command Agriculture programme of US$3,2 billion during 2017 to 2018.

Recent reports show that Muchemwa ended up leaving his post. Several Zinara officials are also before the courts on graft allegations after Parliament used the AG’s audit reports to expose them. Recommendations by the Mines Committee also saw former Mines ministry secretary Francis Gudyanga being removed from his post and arraigned before the courts on graft charges.

On issues of truancy by ministers during Parliament’s question and answer sessions, Speaker of the

National Assembly Jacob Mudenda last month disclosed that he had written to Mnangagwa twice, asking him to take action on his ministers.

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