Harare – Despite the renewed energy towards public service as a result of the new political aura in Zimbabwe, government minister are still undermining parliamentary sittings.
Before the change of leadership in the country which saw Emmerson Mnangagwa replacing Robert Mugabe, ministers had become errant and it seems the behaviour still lingers.
In a parliamentary sitting on Wednesday, legislators called upon cabinet members to show more seriousness towards issues of national interest.
Mutare Central legislator Innocent Gonese raised concern over this age old issue when only two ministers of the 22 who were recently sworn in were in attendance for the question and answer session.
“In terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Section 119 in respect of the role of Parliament, it is very clear that this august has got an obligation to protect this Constitution and also to ensure that the provisions of the Constitution are upheld and that all state institutions and agencies of Government at every level act constitutionally and in the national interest,” Gonese said.
Gonese was convinced that ministers had prioritised Zanu Pf business over a national engagement.
“You are also aware that in terms of Section 107, it is the obligation of all Hon. Vice Presidents, Ministers of Government and Deputy Ministers to attend Parliament. Whilst I am happy that the Leader of the House has now walked in but my concern is not new.
The challenge we have today is that Hon. Ministers and Vice Presidents are attending a meeting of an organ of a political party. In respect of the provisions which I have cited, we must act in the national interest. Acting in the national interest in my opinion means that we must put Government business and matters of the State above matters of the party,” queried Gonese.
The new dispensation was challenged to show signs of deviation from the abnormal which had normalised before Operation Restore Legacy.
“It is not a new concern and we have raised it before. One would have expected that with the new dispensation which is now turning out to be not so new, the more things appear to change, the more they remain the same. It appears that they are remaining the same. One would have thought that we were going to have a different approach; we were going to have a scenario where matters of the State are put above matters of the party,” Gonese said.
From as far back as 2004, ministers have been accused of dodging Question and Answer sessions in parliament. Indications from the most recent sessions show that the plague is yet to be exterminated.