Zimbabweans demand change in way ministers are hired

Some Zimbabweans have called for a change in the criteria for hiring government ministers, citing concerns about their ‘general’ performance and attendance in Parliament.

This call for reform comes in response to complaints over ministers’ absences from parliamentary question and answer sessions. 

Members of Parliament have also constantly raised the issue of ministers who abscond Parliament.

During a discussion on This Morning on Asakhe, a show hosted by CITE on X on Tuesday, a participant named Munya emphasised that ministers should provide explanations for their absence from parliamentary sessions.

He stressed that ministers serve the citizens and should adhere to approved work plans. 

“These ministers are appointed to be our servants. They are not our bosses and in my view, they are supposed to come up with a work plan that we approve of. What does the constitution say about a Minister’s attendance to Parliament when they are required to answer questions? If a minister is not going to be available what is the recourse to us the people, do we have the power to recall?” Munya asked.

In Zimbabwe, ministers are appointed by the President and are responsible for managing their respective ministries and executing government policies.

The ministers are accountable to both the President and the Parliament of Zimbabwe. 

Section 104 of the Zimbabwean constitution grants the President the authority to appoint ministers, subject to approval by parliament.

The President also assigns portfolios to the ministers.

Another participant, Sinyoro, criticised ministers’ non-attendance in Parliament as a breach of conduct and ethics. 

“We should not sugarcoat or mince our words, we need to do it orderly, it’s not criminal, it’s not barbaric, it’s objective, we have to act because if we don’t no one will do that,” Sinyoro said.

“We have a constitutional crisis, there is nothing that speaks to ethics. It’s not coming from their conduct. The criteria for appointing these people should change.”

Sinyoro further emphasised the importance of adherence to guidelines and suggested that ministers failing to attend Parliament are neglecting their responsibilities. 

 Echoing similar sentiments, Tsepang Nare proposed the enactment of legislation to regulate ministers’ conduct, citing Section 106 of the constitution.

Nare called for proactive measures, including communication with chief whips, to address the issue effectively. 

 “The challenge is that when we discuss some of these issues in these spaces, we get to learn a lot, but if we don’t take adequate steps and follow up to make sure that what we want is implemented or put into effect, we will continue to be short changed as a people,” he said.

“We must never shy away from speaking truth to power, from reminding these politicians that they are where they are because of us the electorate. It doesn’t matter whether I voted for that MP candidate who later on became a minister or not but the effect is that the person is where he or she is because of the people.”

Other participants also emphasised the importance of holding ministers accountable and advocating for meaningful reforms to make sure there is effective governance and representation in Parliament.


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