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NewsDay

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President must call his ministers to order

Editorials
Surely, Mnangagwa cannot afford to miss the opportunity to whip his appointees into line if his National Development Strategy 1 and 2 and Vision 2030 are to succeed.

REPORTS that Cabinet ministers snub Parliament are quite unsettling given the Legislature’s oversight role over the Executive.

MPs have since time immemorial complained over ministers’ seemingly negative attitude towards Parliament business, particularly the question-and-answer session.

In the past, leaders of both Houses have named and shamed some ministers for bunking Parliament, but it would appear the measure was not deterrent enough as they continued with their truancy.

In the Monday edition of NewsDay, there was a report where senators took their leadership to task over the ministers’ misconduct.

They said their questions with notice had remained on the Order Paper for a very long time, with some of their written questions from September last year not being responded to up to now.

Now here comes the problem.

In 2017, before the military coup that deposed the late Robert Mugabe and catapulted Emmerson Mnangagwa to the presidency, the latter revealed that the former was unhappy with Cabinet ministers who abscond Parliament’s question-and-answer sessions.

As then Vice-President, Mnangagwa said: “It is true that the President felt unhappy with the absence of ministers in the House that prompted the Speaker of the House to write to the President, which rarely happens.

“So, he was appealing to members of Cabinet that they attend to Parliament and where they cannot do so, most of our colleagues have deputy ministers. They should let deputy ministers attend on their behalf.”

He said this while addressing legislators in Parliament on the issue of truant ministers.

Now that Mnangagwa is the President, why can’t he repeat the same sentiments to his Cabinet ministers?

He must have learnt a thing or two about running government, first as an understudy to Mugabe and in the past six years as President.

Surely, Mnangagwa cannot afford to miss the opportunity to whip his appointees into line if his National Development Strategy 1 and 2 and Vision 2030 are to succeed.

Cabinet ministers should know that they are in Parliament after being voted for by their constituents, hence they should give feedback on developments in the country whenever required to do so.

Parliament business is no joke and should be respected.

Playing around with Parliament business equates to messing up the lives of 16 million people.

We have 24 Cabinet ministers and an almost equal number of deputies, how can they all fail to attend to Parliament business?

Where is Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga? Why is he quiet about this misdemeanour?

What is Vice-President Kembo Mohadi saying about the truant ministers?

Will Mnangagwa one of these days call his appointees to order?

We hope to see a change in attitude on the part of ministers.

Parliament must dock allowances for all the truant ministers.

In fact, we must come up with a new law allowing civil arrest of Cabinet ministers if they miss parliamentary sessions for a certain period without justifiable cause.

Mnangagwa must order his charges to shape up or ship out.

Cabinet ministers’ attendance to Parliament business must be considered when Mnangagwa reviews their performance contracts.

We cannot countenance such disrespect for the august House.

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