Senators rap ministers

Source: Senators rap ministers | The Herald December 2, 2016

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter—

Senate yesterday rapped Government ministers for failing to attend question time as well as responding to motions raised by Thematic committees, saying that had an adverse effect on their oversight and representative function.This happened after ministers failed to attend yesterday’s question time in Senate as only Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora was in the chamber.

Senators were, however, divided on how to proceed as legislators from Zanu-PF said while it was wrong for ministers not to come, they should direct their questions to Dr Dokora, while those from MDC-T argued that they should defer the session to the following week to allow a sizeable number.

MDC-T Senators eventually walked out after Acting Senate President Fortune Charumbira, ruled that those with questions to Dr Dokora were free to raise them.

Chief Charumbira described the non attendance by ministers as a crisis that ought to be looked into.

Yesterday’s sitting started with Senate President Cde Edna Madzongwe deferring question time to allow ministers to walk in.

After deliberations of other issues, ministers were not in sight to respond to motions, something that irked Cde Madzongwe.

“We have been waiting for ministers. They have even been contacted by the administration of Parliament. This has taken long for some motions to be disposed of,” said Cde Madzongwe.

After Senators exhausted motions on the Order Paper it was then resolved to revert to question time but only Dr Dokora was in the House.

Midlands Senator Morgan Komichi (MDC-T) then said they had watched with dismay that most ministers were keen to attend question time in the National Assembly, but were reluctant to attend to Senate business.

He suggested that while he commended Dr Dokora for coming consistently, it was not prudent to pose questions to him in the absence of his other colleagues.

Senators from MDC-T took turns to support him while those from Zanu-PF said it was not proper not to pose questions to Dr Dokora following his effort to attend Senate.

After a protracted debate, stand-in Senate President Chief Charumbira acknowledged that there was indeed a problem with Government ministers.

“The Clerk of Parliament (Mr Kennedy Chokuda) is here and it falls with the administration of Parliament’s shoulders and presiding officers. We are sitting for no value, wasting taxpayers’ money. We have a crisis which our administration of Parliament and presiding officers should look into. I want to agree with Sen Komichi. This is not expected by Zimbabweans. We do not come here for no purpose. They must be reprimanded in terms of the rules. I think a committee should be set up to establish why ministers are not coming,” said Chief Charumbira.