Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday told opposition chief whip Innocent Gonese that his complaints about the absence of ministers in Parliament on Wednesdays to answer questions from legislators had become a broken record.
Mnangagwa said ministers were quite aware that they were required in Parliament but sometimes they had to attend to other executive issues and he was there to answer any questions to do with government business.
“When I am present here, in fact, let the Hon. Members ask any question, I have the capacity and capability to deal with issues relating to the policies of government which are articulated in cabinet,” he said.
“Question Time is based on the principle that Members of Parliament would want to know government policies on various issues of concern and a policy is not a line Ministry aspect alone. It is a broad Executive issue that can be dealt with by myself in the Executive.”
Gonese had taken up the issue after his colleague, Nelson Chamisa, had complained that there were only three ministers and two deputies in the House yet on Tuesday the House was packed because they had come to vote on the Constitution Amendment Bill that sought to give the President powers to appoint the country’s top three judges.
“This is very serious business, we are using tax payers’ money to come and sit here but we are not getting answers from our ministers,” Chamisa said.
“Those ministers who are not present should be charged with contempt of Parliament. If they do not pay the fine, then it will simply prove that as Parliament we do not have powers.
“We cannot keep protecting ministers who are not serious when we were sent by people to work for them. If they cannot work, we have capable Members of Parliament who can run those ministries like Hon. Chinotimba.
“We have serious MP’s who want to see our country going forward. I think we should evoke our law if these ministers come late or they do not come at all, they should be charged with contempt of Parliament because no one is above the law.
“The law should be followed and every contravention of the law has got a charge. I think we should bring out all our weapons so that we curb the errant ministers.”
Below is what transpired in Parliament in full.
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