Mugove Tafirenyika 10 July 2017
HARARE – Cabinet ministers who have gained notoriety for absconding
Parliament will not be punished despite Speaker of the National Assembly
Jacob Mudenda’s threats.
In February Mudenda read the riot act in the National Assembly threatening
to write to President Robert Mugabe urging him to reprimand errant Cabinet
ministers who were absconding grilling by legislators on Wednesdays.
This was after MPs raised concern after only a few ministers pitched up
for question time, leaving legislators fuming at the Executive for
But MDC chief whip Innocent Gonese told the Daily News yesterday that
there was “lack of political will on the part of presiding officers, but
we will keep on applying pressure on them to take punitive measures
against members of the executive.”
However, Chitungwiza North MP, Godfrey Sithole said it was typical of
Zanu PF officials not to respect the Constitution.
“They simply do not take Parliament business seriously because they don’t
respect the Constitution since section 119 is clear on the duties of
Parliament in terms of its oversight role on the executive,” Sithole said.
He added that it would be foolhardy for Zimbabweans to expect ministers to
enjoy coming to the National Assembly because they cannot explain their
failure to change the people’s lives for the better.
“Things are not okay in the country, the economy is bleeding, people can’t
access cash, there are no jobs, corruption has reached catastrophic levels
so to expect them to come to answer all that while Zimbabweans are
watching them live on national television is a bit far-fetched because
these guys are clearly clueless about what needs to be done so they would
rather be truant.”
The last time MPs raised their disquiet over ministers’ truant tendencies,
Mudenda said: “I have asked the officials to register the ministers, who
came and when they came in.
“I shall also be writing to … Mugabe, on the issue and the violation of
the Constitution by the honourable ministers,” Mudenda said.
Before he made the decision, Mabvuku-Tafara MP, James Maridadi, had stood
up complaining over the non-availability of ministers to take questions
Mudenda said he had had enough of ministers continually showing a
contemptuous attitude towards the legislature and it was time Parliament
used its powers to whip the errant ministers.