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Mnangagwa tells opposition “don’t worry about absence of ministers in Parliament, I can answer all questions to do with government policy”

THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. E.D. MNANGAGWA):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I had assumed it was a privileged communication but now that you mentioned it, I can share it with Members of the House.  It is true that the President felt unhappy that the absence of Ministers in the House prompted the Speaker to write to the President which rarely happens.  So, he was appealing to Members of Cabinet that they should attend Parliament.  Where they do not do so, most of our colleagues have Deputy Ministers, they should have Deputy Ministers coming to attend on their behalf.

Also as you mentioned, there are liaison officers who should be able to inform the House if the Minister is engaged.  So, the President did actually appeal and informed us that we have a duty first to our representatives as we represent constituencies to Parliament and we have a duty in Parliament, a constitutional duty to be present and to explain the mandates which they perform as Ministers.  I thought I would share with you Mr. Speaker Sir, that the President indeed probed us to attend Parliament.

HON. ZWIZWAI:  I have a point of clarification Mr. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have not recognised you.  You just stand; you do not say anything.  Please sit down.  I was about to thank the Vice President for his explanation.  I think communication has been given and responded to by His Excellency, the President.  Do you want to have your point of clarification?

Hon. Mliswa having stood to make a point of order.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Sorry, I have not recognised you.  In terms of Section 110 of the Standing Orders, I shall not allow repetition on an issue.  I think the Hon. Vice President comprehensively answered your query, so I will not allow any further debate on that.  Yes, your last point of clarification.

*HON. ZWIZWAI:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I would like to get some clarification on policy from the Leader of the House, Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa.  We have been told of what was said by His Excellency on his complaints against Ministers who are not attending to their parliamentary duties.  Hon. Vice President, when you responded to the first question on a point of order raised by Hon. Gonese and Hon. Chamisa, you talked about a broken record whereby you were referring to what is happening.  It seems your response was at tangent with what was said by His Excellency.  From your response, you did not seem to support His Excellency and you seemed not to care about what is happening in Parliament yet you are the Leader of Government business – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] –  Why such a negative response?

*HON. E. D. MNANGAGWA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, we discussed these things and have different understanding and perceptions of issues.  We have some people who have just come into this House – [HON. ZWIZWAI:  Inaudible interjections] –

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.

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