via Mudenda warns Cabinet ministers – DailyNews Live 27 July 2014 by Lloyd Mbiba
HARARE – Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda has read the riot act to Cabinet ministers and their deputies who are in the habit of absenting themselves from Parliament.
He said all members of the executive were fully accountable to Parliament and must fulfil their constitutionally-mandated roles in this respect.
He said the executive was demonstrating a disdain for parliamentary oversight over the executive in a bid to avoid responsibility for their departments.
“The chair would, therefore, like to serve notice to all honourable ministers and deputy ministers that the House will not allow this situation where some of them neglect their parliamentary duties to continue unabated,” Mudenda told legislators on Thursday afternoon.
“The house will reprimand ministers and deputy ministers who persistently prioritise other duties above their Parliament duties.”
Ministers have in recent weeks been failing to attend plenaries, missing oral question sessions or simply making themselves unavailable to meet with portfolio committees.
Mudenda warned that if ministers fail to heed the warning, he will be left with no choice but to punish them.
“The chair wishes to further give notice that, should this not produce the desired effect, the House will be left with no option but to invoke other constitutional powers at its disposal, including contempt of Parliament,” he said.
In the same vein, Mudenda cautioned legislators who bunk Parliament and portfolio meetings.
“The chair has also been observing that some honourable members either constantly miss sittings of the House or attend for just a few minutes. Other honourable members are not attending portfolio committee meetings regularly, thus undermining the work of portfolio committees,” he said.
The Speaker took exception to some legislators abandoning their questions.
“The chair has also observed equally worrying tendency by some honourable members, who are guilty of neglecting to take charge of their motions and questions in the House,” he said.
“Some honourable members are in the habit of abandoning or failing to move motions or absenting themselves from the house during question time after their notices of motions or questions for oral answers appear on the order paper.”
Mudenda said he would name and shame the Members of Parliament (MPs) who bunk Parliament.
“The chair accordingly, hereby informs honourable members that he will name and shame members concerned as well as ask the Business of the House Committee to resolve to remove motions and questions from the order paper after a specified period of time has elapsed,” he said.