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Opposition Parties Urge Parly to Punish Ministers Skipping Sessions to Attend Grace Mugabe Rallies

  • Irwin  Chifera

Speaker of Parliament of Zimbabwe, Jacob Mugabe.

Speaker of Parliament of Zimbabwe, Jacob Mugabe.

Opposition lawmakers on Wednesday said government ministers, who bunked parliament business to attend First lady Grace Mugabe's rally in Mashonaland Central province, must be charged for contempt of parliament as they absconded without applying for leave of absence from Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda.

Wednesday is traditionally set aside for lawmakers to question government ministers on issues concerning the country but when parliament business started only four deputy ministers were present. This prompted opposition lawmakers Prosper Mutseyami and Nelson Chamisa to call for tough action against the absent cabinet ministers.
It was only after the house had agreed to move forward question time in anticipation of the ministers trickling in later in the day that Vice President Emerson Mnangagwa walked in and Mudenda alerted him of the lawmaker's concerns.
But Mnangagwa said he was not aware of the ministers’ whereabouts, noting that they must personally account to parliament.

The vice president objected to the moving of question time to a later time and they proceeded with only two cabinet and four deputy ministers in attendance.
Political commentator, Fortune Gwaze, said it's sad that cabinet ministers were relegating parliament business to concentrate on private party issues.
Former student leader, Pride Mukono, condemned the cabinet ministers for failing to attend parliament saying they are becoming a law unto themselves.

He said parliament should be tough with such ministers, adding that bunking house sittings for the first lady's rally was unacceptable.
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation did not screen parliament's question time live as usual. It did not give any reasons as to why it did not broadcast the session but the national broadcaster beamed the first lady's rally live from Rushinga.
Mukono said ZBC was clearly offside. Media Institute of Southern Africa Zimbabwe chapter board member, Columbus Mavhunga, told Studio 7 that government and ZBC were not taking the people of Zimbabwe seriously.
The ZBC usually broadcasts the Wednesday question time session live from parliament. Studio 7 could not obtain comment from the ZBC.