Source: Parly to bring errant ministers to book | The Herald December 16, 2016
Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Parliament has prepared a comprehensive report aimed at bringing to book errant Cabinet Ministers who fail to attend the August House to respond to issues raised, Speaker of National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda has said. Adv Mudenda said this in the National Assembly last week when he was warning Members of Parliament for crippling Parliament business by creating a quorum crisis through early adjournments as lawmakers would walk out during deliberations.
At that time backbenchers shouted that some Cabinet Ministers were equally culprits as they did not attend sessions to respond to question time or motions raised by parliamentary portfolio committees.
“I know there was some little heckling saying Ministers! On that issue I have discussed the matter with the Hon. Leader of Government business and I have come up with a dossier that will see certain action being taken,” said Adv Mudenda.
Turning to backbenchers, Adv Mudenda said he had observed a trend where legislators would briefly attend sittings before leaving. He said in terms of the Constitution, Members of Parliament had a representative, oversight and legislative role derived from the people.
“Indeed it has become a chorus in the august House for Hon. Members to clamour for Vice Presidents, for Ministers and Deputy Ministers to attend Parliament in order to answer questions as provided for in Section 107 subsection (ii) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. It therefore follows that as Hon. Members, we should lead by example through religiously attending sittings of Parliament and Committees,” said Adv Mudenda.
Quoting a biblical scripture, Adv Mudenda said legislators should not look at a speck in one’s eye ignoring a plank in their eyes.
“Flowing from the above biblical injunction, which is applicable in this case, it can be seen that we may be morally compromised if we see the specks in other people’s eyes while ignoring the planks in our own eyes. Honourable. Members must demonstrate respect and appreciation of their constitutional obligations in serving the nation through parliamentary duties, which require respect of the legislative authority that is derived from the people of Zimbabwe and the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” said Adv Mudenda.
He said backbenchers were in the habit of complaining about non attendance of Vice Presidents and Government ministers.
“However, the truancy of some Hon. Members flies in the face of all such criticism and negates the collective sincerity of members of the National Assembly as demonstrated by no quorums in the august House. This is ample evidence that Honourable. Members are not duty conscious themselves in taking the oath as a Member of Parliament,” he said.
“In view of the foregoing, I shall request our legal and procedural sub-Committee to make appropriate recommendations and proposed sanctions so that errand behaviour by some Hon. Members is nipped in the bud.”