- "Those are the apologies; twelve of them - almost half the Cabinet is not here. I know a few are with His Excellency the President, I think about two but I am not sure about the others," Mudenda added.
By Mutsa Makuvaza
SPEAKER of the House of Assembly Jacob Mudenda yesterday could not hide his frustration and lashed out at Cabinet Ministers and their deputies who continue excusing themselves from attending Parliament’s Question and Answer sessions.
Among the serial offenders Mudenda mentioned in his opening speech yesterday are Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who is the Minister of Health and Child Care; Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri (Minister of Defence and War Veterans), Monica Mutsvangwa (Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Servises), Frederick Musiiwa Shava (Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade), Cain Mathema (Minister of Primary and Secondary Education) and Edgar Moyo (Deputy Minister, Primary and Secondary Education).
Mudenda appeared particularly incensed by the fact that in some cases, such as that of Mathema and Edgar Moyo, both the Minister and the deputy were absent making it difficult for legislators to get convincing responses to their questions.
“You cannot have the Minister away and the deputy away. Surely, if the Minister is away, the Deputy should be around,” Mudenda complained to Ziyambi Ziyambi who is the leader of Government business in Parliament.
“(Winston) Chitando, Mines and Mining Development, Hon. Polite Kambamura, also the same, why both of them away? I have received so many apologies from Honourable Ministers.
“Hon. Leader of Government Business, while apologies are accepted, they are now becoming a habit. That habit is unacceptable. There are some Ministers who are perpetually sending apologies. That is not good for the country and Parliament at large,” said Mudenda.
“Those are the apologies; twelve of them – almost half the Cabinet is not here. I know a few are with His Excellency the President, I think about two but I am not sure about the others,” Mudenda added.
Part of the functions and duties of legislators is to hold the Executive accountable and this often comed by way of Question and Answer sessions which Parliament holds mostly on Wednesdays.
Also absent from yesterday’s sitting were Professor Amon Murwira (Minister of Higher Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development), Prof Mavima (Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare), July Moyo (Local Government and Public Works), and Vangelis Haritatos (Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries, and Rural Resettlement).
Legislators have previously complained that most of their questions end up being answered by Ziyambi who may not give detailed responses which could be obtaines from the specific line Minister. – Zimbabwe Voice ■