BY MOSES MATENGA
MINISTERS this week snubbed Parliament’s crucial question-and-answer session over COVID-19 fears.
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda confirmed receiving apologies from eight ministers, including the two Vice-Presidents, Constantino Chiwenga, who doubles as the Health minister, and Kembo Mohadi.
Norton MP Temba Mliswa (Independent) was livid at the ministers’ absence, accusing them of disrespecting the Legislature.
“I have got some apologies from the following Hon Ministers, Hon Rtd General Dr Constantino D N Chiwenga, Hon Kembo C D Mohadi, Hon Oppah C Z Muchinguri-Kashiri, Hon July Moyo, Hon Ziyambi Ziyambi, Hon Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu and Hon Cain Mathema,” Mudenda said.
Mliswa said the apparent snub of Parliamentary proceedings by the ministers was unacceptable, particularly at a time ministerial directives were key in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Already, they (ministers) know there is COVID-19 and there are many issues which are affecting people. Parliament has done what it can in ensuring that social distancing is observed to accommodate the Ministers,” Mliswa said.
“As you can see, today is their day and they are not present. I do not know what other excuse they have other than disrespecting this House and yourself as chair.
“On numerous occasions, they just do not attend. What members of the Cabinet and Executive must understand is, even if you are not asked a question, you being in this House, you learn from other line ministries.”
In response, Mudenda said: “Some of those ministers who are not here are connecting virtually. I think what we need to do, Hon Mliswa, is to actually indicate that they should be here in the House and not to connect virtually, but my calculation is that, the honourable ministers are present, the Clerk is showing me. But we need to write to them that they should be here in person accordingly.”
Observers said several ministers were still fearful of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic that has killed some of their colleagues in the past month.
Cabinet lost ministers Sibusiso Moyo (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) and Joel Biggie Matiza (Transport and Infrastructural Development) this year due to COVID-19, while Perrance Shiri (Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement) died last year.
Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Ellen Gwaradzimba also succumbed to COVID-19 last month.
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