Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Parliament will take disciplinary measures against Cabinet ministers and their deputies that missed last Wednesday’s Question and Answer session in the National Assembly without seeking leave of absence.
The ruling was made by Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda after several ministers and their deputies absented themselves without notice, despite being directed by Cabinet to attend parliamentary sessions as required by law.
Adv Mudenda said he had decided to take action against absentee ministers and their deputies after informing President Mnangagwa on two occasions about the practice by the officials.
“I want to advise the honourable members that I have written twice to His Excellency about non-attendance of honourable members and I am told the matter was discussed in Cabinet and ministers were told to attend Parliament in terms of Section 107 (2) of the Constitution,” he said.
“I am sure that we all agree that today’s (Wednesday last week) attendance is appalling and pathetic and I have instructed Secretariat that those who have not tendered apologies be charged accordingly.”
The ministers that sought leave of absence included Professor Mthuli Ncube (Finance and Economic Development), Dr Sibusiso Moyo (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) and Perrance Shiri (Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement).
Ministers that were present include the leader of Government business in Parliament and Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, Monica Mutsvangwa (Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services), Kazembe Kazembe (Information and Communications Technology and Courier Services), Dr Joram Gumbo (Implementation and Monitoring), Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu (Industry and Commerce) and Fortune Chasi (Energy and Power Development).
Deputy ministers that were present include Polite Kambamura (Mines and Mining Development), Energy Mutodi (Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services), Yeukai Simbanegavi (Sports, Arts and Culture), Magna Mudyiwa (Energy and Power Development), Mike Madiro (Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage) and Health and Child Care Deputy Minister, Dr John Mangwiro.
Backbenchers have on numerous occasions complained against ministers and their deputies’ absence from Parliament, especially during the Wednesday Question and Answer Session, where they are supposed to respond to queries on policy issues and other specific matters they raise.