Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Correspondnet
Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda yesterday said President Mnangagwa assured him that parliamentary business will take precedence over Zanu-PF business.
Adv Mudenda was speaking in the Chamber after some members raised concerned on the attendance of Government ministers or lack of it, because of party business that clashed with parliamentary time.
“While I was putting on my gown, I followed the point of privilege raised by Honourable Innocent Gonese concerning attendances by Honourable Ministers,” he said.
“I want to put the record straight: the planned meeting of Politburo (yesterday), where some members of Cabinet are members, was planned on the understanding that Parliament was only going to sit next week.
“We were not supposed to have come this week. It is agreed after my conversation with his Excellency that because of a number of ministries don’t have Deputy Ministers, in future, amendments will be made that there is no clash (between parliamentary and party business).” MDC-T vice president Advocate Nelson Chamisa welcomed the development.
“It is not good to fail to acknowledge good things when they are done by good people,” he said. “You have done a responsible thing to make an appropriate apology. We must thank you for leaving the Politburo and preside over Parliament.
“The reason why I am doing this is that we always attack when there is an omission on our Parliamentary debates, but when it is done properly, we must also acknowledge.” Legislators have been complaining against Government ministers who were not attending sittings, especially on Wednesday when there is a question and answer session.
Most of the legislators’ questions were being deferred because of the failure by the ministers to attend the sittings. Adv Mudenda at one time threatened to refer the ministers who snubbed parliamentary business to former President Mugabe. He also indicated his desire to charge the ministers with contempt of Parliament if changes to the standing rules and orders of Parliament were adopted.
The Standing Rules and Orders Committee met in 2015 and agreed that Parliament’s standing rules and orders be amended to include penalties for ministers and their deputies who absconded sittings.