Source: . . . absent ministers to be punished | The Herald May 30, 2019
Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Parliament will take disciplinary action against ministers who missed yesterday’s Question and Answer Session in the National Assembly without seeking leave of absence.
This was announced by Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda before commencement of business yesterday.
“I ask the clerks to take note of those ministers who are absent without leave of absence and we will charge them accordingly,” Advocate Mudenda said.
Last week, the Speaker and Deputy Senate President Mike Nyambuya criticised Cabinet ministers and their deputies for failing to attend sittings to respond to questions from backbenchers.
Advocate Mudenda even directed Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda to contact the Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda, to find out what prevented some ministers from attending Parliament.
The non-attendance of ministers and their deputies has been a cause for concern in Parliament.
Adv Mudenda has since said there is need to invoke provisions of Parliament’s Standing Orders to deal with the problem through the introduction of punitive measures.
The Speaker’s decision brings a different trajectory in the august House where there have been complaints that both Ministers and Members of Parliament have not been taking business seriously at a time when the country has a lot of Bills and issues to do with the Transitional Stabilisation Programme meant to turn the country into a middle class economy by 2030.
Question Time is one of the major tools that Parliament uses to exercise oversight over the conduct of ministers, their officials and cut out work.
During question time, Members of Parliament have time to ask ministers on the implementation of public policy programmes.