National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda (ZANU PF), has criticised ministers and their deputies for their failure to come to parliament saying this has greatly affected proceedings in the august house.
Mudenda said that the absence of the members of the Executive arm of government from Parliament has denied legislators the opportunity to raise issues of national interest with the government officials.
The Speaker said in parliament this week that ministers have developed a habit of writing to parliament making excuses about their absence.
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This has left Ziyambi Ziyambi, who is the leader of government business to answer questions on ministers’ behalf.
Mudenda named the Minister of Health and Child Care Vice President Constantino Chiwenga and Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri among the chief culprits. Said Mudenda:
I have received so many apologies from honourable ministers. Honourable 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.
The ministers are honourable Vice President, Dr Chiwenga and Minister of Health and Child Care; honourable Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans; honourable Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services; honourable Dr Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; honourable Mathema, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; honourable Edgar Moyo, Deputy Minister, Primary and Secondary Education.
Like this one honourable, leader of government business, you cannot have the minister away and the deputy away.
Norton MP Temba Mliswa (Independent) recently suggested that President Emmerson Mnangagwa should come and respond to questions if his cabinet ministers are not available.
Last week, Mliswa also called on parliament to suspend question and answers sessions as per tradition every Wednesday if the cabinet ministers could not commit to the obligation.