Cabinet ministers who had gained notoriety for absconding Parliament have started trooping back to the House after Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda read the riot act and threatened to seek the intervention of President Robert Mugabe.
Source: Bunking ministers troop back to Parly – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 8, 2017
By VENERANDA LANGA
Mudenda’s threats followed protests by MPs that the continued bunking of Parliament business by ministers was a sign of disrespect to the House.
But following Mudenda’s threat to write to Mugabe complaining about the truancy, some ministers who had not attended the House for months last week showed up.
These included Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Women Affairs minister Nyasha Chikwinya and Youth minister Patrick Zhuwao.
“I must say when I walked into Parliament I nearly fainted when I saw the Minister of Foreign Affairs [Mumbengegwi]. True to your (Mudenda) word, he is here and we would like to welcome him to Parliament, especially today when the xenophobia debate is being discussed,” Norton MP Temba Mliswa (Independent) said when Mumbengegwi turned up.
MPs welcomed Mumbengegwi’s presence as there were four important motions on Foreign Affairs issues that have been on the National Assembly Order Paper since 2016. The motions have been awaiting the minister’s response before they are concluded.
One of the motions by the Kindness Paradza-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs was discussed in November 2015 and to date Mumbengegwi has not yet responded to the issue.
The motion discussed the decay of foreign missions abroad, and Paradza had to reinstate the motion back into the National Assembly Order Paper so that Mumbengegwi responds to it.
Another motion on Foreign Affairs that had to be reinstated in the Order Paper was on a report of the delegation to the bilateral visit to the Parliament of Kuwait, which was debated in April 2016 and discussed the topical issue of young Zimbabwean women being enslaved in Kuwait.
A motion on the Foreign Affairs committee report on the exchange visit to the Palestine Legislative Council, which discussed Zimbabwe’s position in relation to the disturbances in Israel that was debated last year, had to be reinstated again in the Order Paper to allow Mumbengegwi to respond it.
Several motions that MPs gave notice to move in the National Assembly have clocked several months in the Order Paper without legislators debating them.
Mudenda told MPs that any motion that remained undebated for 21 sitting days would automatically fall off the Order Paper in terms of provisions of Standing Rules and Orders number 103.
Most Cabinet ministers have been absconding Wednesday’s Question and Answer Session where they are expected to respond to the legislators’ questions on government policy. The MPs also blasted the ministers for lacking seriousness in attending to government policy work at a time the economy continues to plummet.
Some ministers had gone for months without attending Parliament, resulting in some questions regarding their respective ministries going unanswered.