Parliamentarians demand disciplinary action against absconding ministers

Legislators want the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda to take disciplinary action against ministers who abscond parliamentary sessions.

This followed an announcement by Mudenda, Wednesday, that several ministers who were supposed to attend a question and answer session in the August House had sent their apologies.

“I received apologies from the following Honourable Ministers;  Hon. Muchinguri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs; Hon. J. G. Moyo, Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. K. D. C. Mohadi, Vice President and Hon. B. Matiza, Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development,” Mudenda had announced.

The legislators registered their disapproval of the ministers’ conduct, saying ting they were disrespectful and were not taking serious issues of national interest.

Norton MP Temba Mliswa said the issue has been raised several times but no action has been taken to address it effectively.

“The Ministers who are not here disrespect the Chair, they disrespect this House. For a very long time, we have spoken about this issue but Parliament is proving to be a toothless bulldog in all aspects. We are here to carry out our mandate according to the Constitution. We just came from a workshop where we were reminded by the Speaker of Section 119 of the Constitution that Parliament has power,” said Mliswa.

“So what power do we have when we are totally disrespected like this?  They do not come to respond to issues of national interest which we would have put aside and consulted our constituents. Chair, it is about time, we are only two years before the next election.  We seem to be on the wrong road in this Parliament.  May we make the right turn now so that we are able to hold these people accountable?”

Mliswa said the authority which the Parliament is supposed to have is only written in black and white but is not being exercised.

“When we are with people we get questions from them and have to ask the Ministers. They are not here. The power that you always tell us we have – I have realised we do not have.  I will move a motion to Thursday where I am inviting the President to this House to respond to his incompetent Ministers.  Where does he find them, why are they here?” Mliswa said. 

Mutare Central MP Innocent Gonese and Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya also supported that the absconding ministers be charged with contempt of Parliament.

“I am a Member of Parliament and an issue which affects all of us has been raised in my presence, that Ministers have not been coming to Parliament.  Last week I raised the same issue and the Speaker indicated that the time had come for a line to be drawn in the sand that this cannot continue in perpetuity,” said Gonese.

“Can I be apprised of what has become of the motion that a Privileges Committee be set up so that all those errand Ministers who have not been seeking leave of absence, who have not been coming to Parliament  be dealt with once and for all.” 

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