My question to you is that when you wrote to His Excellency the President, did he respond to the letter that you wrote to him pertaining to the performance of his Ministers in Parliament?
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. E. D. MNANGAGWA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, the broken record which Hon. Gonese plays every Wednesday with regards to Ministers, it is not the first time that this issue has been raised. I can assure you that Hon. Ministers are fully aware that on Wednesday like today, they should be here. This is why I am wearing this, I have just been released to come to Parliament and the rest of my colleagues are at this function of the Executive. I have been released to come and attend Parliament.
If they are free and whenever they are free, they will do their best to come to Parliament. In most cases you at least have four to six Hon. Ministers who will come to Parliament and they are adequate to deal with issues of policy covering the spectrum of Government. 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. 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.
With regard to the two names that have been mentioned that is the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs. Generally I would suggest to Hon. Gonese that with respect, the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs is generally not in the country. When he is in the country and if it is a Wednesday, he might be in the country and just comes in for Cabinet but he is usually outside the country. So that one, I would plead with Hon. Members of Parliament that they should be more lenient with him.
With regard to the Hon. Minister of Health and Child Care, Hon. Parirenyatwa who is a Senator. He also has business in the Senate so he doubles both in the National Assembly as well as in the Senate, but if there is duty in the Senate, his first port of call is the Senate. I thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order I appreciate the response by the Hon. Vice President but we still will proceed to find out about the absence of those other Ministers who may not be at the function where the Hon. Vice President was.
Secondly, I would like to inform the Hon. Vice President that every Ministry has a Liaison Officer who liaises with Parliament. Where Hon. Ministers are engaged, the Constitution and Standing Orders are very clear, they are absolved from attending. It is those Liaison officers under the charge of the Permanent Secretary who should advise and simply to advise that I am engaged or I am not available and we record through the Papers Office that the Ministers not present have given their due notice of absence.
I thought the Hon. Vice President was going to assist me to explain the response of His Excellency, the President as far as the communication that I did. I thought the matter was discussed in Cabinet.
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