Zimbabwe Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda yesterday said government ministers who give more than three apologies for failing to attend question time on Wednesdays will be summoned to explain why.
He said this after several ministers gave apologies yesterday.
Opposition legislator Prosper Mutseyami said ministers and their deputies should not be allowed to get away with this because some did not even respond to written questions.
“I do not know what it takes for Hon. Mhona and Hon. Ziyambi to be here at all times on Wednesdays whilst we have ministers who hardly come to Parliament and they do not even attend to any question – even written questions, they do not attend to them regardless of them having deputy ministers,” Mutseyami said.
“I think we will keep a proper record of these apologies and then if we see that there are more than three apologies, then the Hon. ministers will have to account why they continually send out messages and then we take it from there,” Mudenda said.
“We will now keep a register and ensure that those that continue to give apologies in spite of the fact that this is within their rights in terms of Standing Orders, are made to come but I think an endeavour should be made so that they come and answer questions accordingly.”
Last week, Mudenda told Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, who is leader of government business in Parliament, to make sure that ministers or their deputies attend question time as this was a constitutional obligation.
“May I address myself to the Hon. Leader of Government Business. There are ministers who are perennially now giving apologies and although it is their right to give apologies, that right should not be abused. They have a responsibility to be in the House to answer questions from the Hon. Members,” he said.
“..Where a full cabinet minister is absent and there is a deputy minister, the deputy minister must be available at all times in terms of Section 107 (2) of the Constitution.”